If you’d like to figure out how many podcast listeners you have, you can turn to your podcast hosting provider for a very accurate number. If what you are after is the number of podcast listeners another podcast has, then that information is not public and you won’t be able to get it. But there are ways to estimate how a podcast is doing relative to other podcasts.
How Can I Check Out My Own Podcast Listener Numbers?
Go to your hosting platform such as Podbean, Libsyn, Transistor etc, and find where the stats are kept. This will not be a single number, as each episode will have a different number of downloads (aka. listeners).
In order to get your average number of listeners per episode, you’ll want to take the last 5 – 10 episodes and do an average of the listeners. If you have in depth statistics, you’ll want to average the 7-day or 30-day number of listeners. These are the downloads in the first 7 or first 30 days after release of the episode. Comparing these numbers will be yield a more accurate total number of downloads as they will let you know the number of listeners downloading the episodes around your release dates.
En Example Using Libsyn
If you use Libsyn as your podcast hosting, you’ll want to access the stats by clicking on the Stats button in your main menu.
Looking at the basic stats you’ll be able to gauge the number of podcast listeners each of your episodes attracts. In this example, by looking at the Total Uniques column, we can estimate the podcast in questions brings around 2,200 listeners per episode. NOTE: In the latest Libsyn update, this column is called TOTAL as shown in the next image.
Looking at the advanced stats you can see a more specific number depending on what your comparison window is, in this case we get around 1,050 listeners on average on the first 7 days after an episode release and around 1,600 listeners per episode when considering the first 30 days.
So which one should you use?
- First 7 days: These are all your subscribers and a small group of people that caught your episode by chance.
- First 30 days: These include your subscribers plus any frequent listeners that search your podcast for updates regularly
- First 90 days: These include your subscribers, any frequent listeners and any listeners that come from other sources where they are reminded of your podcast
All of them will have a variation due to new listeners coming to your podcast for the first time from any other number of sources.
You want to look at the First 7 days to see if your subscribers are growing, the First 30 to see if your social media promotions are working and the First 90 days to see if your slower collaborations are working out. E.g. other podcasters or blogs.
How Can I Check Out Someone Else’s Podcast Listener Numbers?
Short answer: You can’t.
Long answer: You may not be able to look at specific numbers but you can to compare one podcast with another.
For example, if we look at Marketing Unplugged by Demand Spring and type the URL into Castbox (they distribute podcasts). Huge results? No! That’s because they can only give figures for subscribers via Castbox, so… two subscribers and 46 plays. No downloads listed. There have been 35 episodes so far, plus one review from 2019 giving 5 stars.
However – and this is important – if you go to Chartable (they offer analytics) and search for the same podcast, you’ll find there are five 5-star reviews and that Apple ranks it 155 in its niche. It’s a single snapshot but gives a clearer picture of how that podcast is doing.
Noticed the discrepancy? It shows up two things:
- People download or listen to podcasts on different hosts.
- No one has the complete figures for someone else’s podcast.
That’s why Techwalla calls podcasting “a decentralised form of media” – because of the wide number of places where consumers eat podcasts! And that’s why chasing listener numbers for someone else can be a time-wasting distraction.
But can we use this data? Absolutely. If you plug in two podcasts in the same platform, you can compare them and get an idea of how they are doing relative to each other. You will not have the full picture but you can definitely see if one is doing better than the other.
So you can plug in your podcast and your competitor’s podcast on Chartable and get an idea of how they are relative to each other. You can then do the same on Castbox.
Do Listener Numbers Matter?
Actually, listener numbers don’t matter in themselves. What matters is that your figures are seen to be growing month on month. That way, you know you’re providing the right kind experience for your target audience.
Listeners change platforms, do or don’t subscribe, and do or don’t listen on the day you launch an episode. It makes sense, therefore, not to get too hung up on episode listeners at any one time.
Humans will never be pinned down and counted, or behave consistently – but you can definitely get a feel for listener numbers from a combination of
- your analytics for your own listener numbers,
- various distributors and analytic services to gauge your competitors’ podcast listeners.
Just remember not to let curiosity about numbers and competitors distract you from creating your best work – which is what counts in the long run.