How do your download numbers compare to other podcasts?


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!

How do your download numbers compare to other podcasts?

How can you 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 are 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.

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, get their friends to listen and support your advertisers if you’re monetising your show.

So, 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


How many downloads do most podcasts get?

On Libsyn’s podcast, The Feed, co-host and VP of Podcast Relations, Rob Walch, 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…

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

1200 downloads you’re in the top 20% of podcasts

3500 downloads you’re in the top 10% of podcasts

8100 downloads you’re in the top 5% of podcasts

20,000 downloads you’re in the top 2% of podcasts

34,000 downloads you’re in the top 1% of podcasts

When every second person is shouting on social media about their “million downloads” these numbers should make you feel much better about your show.

How to make money from your podcast


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 as 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.

How to get your podcast featured in New & Noteworthy


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.

It’s also important to note how many years a show has been going for and how many episodes they’ve released if you hear them shouting about a massive download milestone.

A million downloads is absolutely impressive but that person might have been releasing daily shows for 5 years to get to that point, so it’s important to have some perspective.

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 they need way more downloads to monetise their shows effectively and make them worth their while.

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 shows.

So focus on the people who are turning up to listen to you every week and make sure your podcast 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. DJ Culp Jr says:

    I love the message that I keep hearing in statistics reports like yours: don’t care about your numbers, care about your listeners. My podcast is a blast and me and my co-host brother-in-law only care about the fact that we’ve got an opportunity to share our experiences. It’s hard for me to not pay attention to the white noise. Thank you for keeping me in perspective. This is such a great article.

    1. rcorbett says:

      Pleasure! So glad you’re getting so much joy out of your show. For me, that is success! Rach

  2. Tamsin Wolfe says:

    Thanks, this is really clear and interesting information.

  3. TechyList says:

    I love podcasts and have been listening to a few different ones lately. Yours sounds really good!

  4. Megan says:

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

    1. Your Mom says:

      100 downloads is a “low” number?! Omg I might as well shoot myself in the foot right now. My most listened to episode has 34 downloads. Yes, you read that right. 34!!!! And it was published nearly a year ago.. sigh.. even online I feel like I’m talking into an abyss.. 🙁

    2. rcorbett says:

      Hey Megan! Don’t be discouraged. It’s often not useful to compare your show to others in terms of round numbers. What’s best to look at is – are your listeners engaged in your content? Are you delivering episodes consistently and therefore growing your audience over time (even if it’s one listener at a time)? Download numbers only really become important if you’re looking to monetise your show and get advertisers on board. Otherwise it’s really just about ego. I always say it’s best to think about your audience as people in a room. If you were standing in front of a room full of 34 people that’s a decent crowd! So turn up for those people who are turning up for you, no matter how many there are! Thanks, Rach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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!