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How do your download numbers compare to other podcasts?

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How to tell if your podcast is a success from your download numbers

It seems the two topics most people are interested in when it comes to podcasting is money and numbers.

So, I thought I’d focus on the latter to hopefully make you feel a bit better if you’ve been looking at your analytics thinking “Is that it??”

Since download numbers aren’t public, when you’re a new podcaster it can feel like the only message you hear is from other shows yelling “We’ve hit (insert gigantic number here)!”

This can be disheartening if your numbers are small but if you compare your downloads to what most podcasters are getting your little show is probably a lot more successful than you think it is.

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Is there a download number that means your podcast is a success?

Since every show is different, you can’t compare download numbers across the board because a podcast about healthy eating is obviously going to have a larger potential audience than a podcast about yurts (not that there’s anything wrong with yurts).

Numbers also don’t mean much if your audience isn’t engaged.

The power of your listeners comes from how much they buy into you and how attached they are to your show.  This passion is what means people will subscribe, listen to every episode, turn up to your live events and support your advertisers to make sure you stay on the air.

When you’re starting out, thinking about absolute numbers isn’t very helpful.  What’s more helpful is looking at how your podcast compares to the rest of the industry.

How to promote your podcast

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How many downloads do most podcasts get?

On Libsyn’s podcast, The Feed, co-host and VP of Podcast Relations, Rob Walch, often shares updated stats based on Libsyn’s analytics.

While these numbers reflect the downloads of podcasts on a single host, Libsyn is one of the biggest so when you’re looking at a sample size of tens of thousands of shows it’s fair to say it’s probably a good measure of the rest of the industry.

So, ready to hear the numbers they revealed in a recent episode?

If, after 30 days, your podcast episode has over…

123 downloads you’re in the top 50% of podcasts (I hope you’re feeling better already)

1000 downloads you’re in the top 20% of podcasts

2900 downloads you’re in the top 10% of podcasts

6600 downloads you’re in the top 5% of podcasts

17,000 downloads you’re in the top 2% of podcasts

30,000 downloads you’re in the top 1% of podcasts

How to make money from your podcast

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The best way to think about your download numbers

When you’re starting out don’t get lost comparing yourself to other shows just focus on the people turning up every week to listen to you.

If that’s 20 people then make your show the best damn thing those 20 people have ever heard.

And when you think about your audience, don’t think of them like a random crowd.

When your numbers are small it’s better to think about your audience like people you’re presenting to in a room.

100 downloads might not seem like much but if you were to put on an event where you were speaking, would you be happy if 100 people turned up?

Of course you would!

If you think of your show like this it can help you realise it’s a lot more powerful than you thought it was.

So, turn up for your listeners, no matter how many there are, and if you keep delivering and promoting content consistently your numbers will grow.

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Remember who you’re comparing yourself too

When you’re only a few episodes in, it doesn’t serve you to compare yourself to shows who’ve been pumping out content for months or years.

It takes time and hard work to build an audience and people who’ve got millions of listeners were once where you are now.

Also, avoid comparing yourself to podcasts from major networks.

Networks are content businesses with full-time staff dedicated to making, selling and promoting their podcasts.  They’ve often got big email lists, huge social media followings and budgets to push their content out into the world.

They’ve also got much bigger overheads than you do so often they need way more downloads to monetise their shows effectively.

The numbers listed above should give you some peace of mind that small download numbers aren’t a disaster and I’ve seen plenty of podcasters with smaller audiences build really powerful communities, get featured in the podcast charts and monetise their show.

It’s important to focus on the people who are turning up to listen to you every week and make sure your show is the best it possibly can be for them.

Got any other great ideas for how to promote your show?  Write them in the comments below!

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

1 Comment
  1. Megan says:

    Thanks for the info! Very helpful for newbies. It’s all about consistency over the long haul!

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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!

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