How Apple Podcasts is helping spur a new era of podcast analytics
Photo: Alireza Khoddam
Podcast analytics have been more or less untouched since the format’s inception. The podcast investment boom was more about major platforms catching up with competitors by integrating traditional analytics, rather than innovating the availability of data itself. Now, platforms are beginning to focus on developing new measurements for the current consumption environment. Apple Podcasts has introduced subscription analytics, giving creators key data about their superfans. Moreover, Apple Podcasts’ exclusive partnership with Linkfire gives creators a crucial insight that has been surprisingly hard to find: whether or not someone actually listened to their show.
Understanding podcast superfans
As audiences balance their time across various platforms and formats, podcast creators are struggling to build dedicated fanbases. Moreover, algorithms that are too focused on discovery can backfire by pushing creators further away from their own audiences. It is crucial that creators can identify and cater to their most dedicated listeners. For podcasters, these are the paying subscribers.
Apple Podcasts’ new subscription analytics give creators insights, including free-to-paid conversion rates, cancellations, and renewals. Creators can view their listener base, divided by monthly and yearly subscribers. A country-level view helps creators target potential new markets. With this data, creators are better equipped to build and maintain dedicated fanbases.
Apple Podcasts is not the only streaming platform bolstering its analytics. By comparison, Spotify’s analytics dashboard for podcast subscribers lacks conversation rates, but includes emails for subscribers who have opted in to hear from the creator. Moreover, Spotify’s partnership with Patreon allows creators to publish premium content on Spotify, consolidating the listeners' experience in one platform. Now, Spotify creators can promote their subscription with a banner on their show page. However, as Spotify now hosts 5 million podcasts and 100,000 podcast videos, in addition to its music catalogue, discovery is challenging. On the other hand, Apple Podcasts only hosts podcasts, and its homepage features top subscriber shows and channels, which can reach potential new listeners more easily.
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The growth of the podcast market depends on discoverability, which is increasingly difficult as streaming platforms become oversaturated with various types of audio content. New podcast listeners may not know where to begin, and this barrier can potentially deter them from searching altogether. Apple Podcasts’s new partnership with Linkfire helps podcasters amplify their discovery and access crucial listener data.
With Linkfire, podcasters create a universal landing page that introduces their content to new listeners before they migrate to a streaming platform. Creators can publish this link on social media to reach wider audiences, including new podcast consumers. Linking listeners directly to Apple Podcasts eliminates the barrier of physically searching for the show. Moreover, and perhaps most crucially, creators can track how many of those who clicked on the link actually listened to the show on Apple Podcasts. This replaces the traditional measurement of the download, which does not measure guaranteed listens, but rather, intent to listen — an incomplete measurement of a show’s performance.This also applies to podcast subscriptions, as creators can see how many subscriptions are generated from this link.
With this data, creators can also better appeal to advertisers, because they can prove actual listenership and monitor where their listeners are coming from. Podcast discovery traditionally relies on word of mouth — which is impossible to track — but these insights give creators a centralised location to understand listener discovery.