Ep. 18 - Podcast Analytics with Podder Co-founders Christian Sorensen and Antoine Mazurier
Bringing data-driven decision making to podcasts
Analytics for podcasts is a pain in the ass. We host our podcast on Anchor (now Spotify for Podcasters) and it provides some very basic numbers for downloads, countries listeners live in, and podcast apps they use. It has a bit more details for listening on Spotify, such as ages and genders of listeners.
When we want to get more data, we go to Apple Podcasts and other platforms directly and look at details like where in an episode’s timeline listeners drop off, how many followers we have, etc. Aggregating this data across multiple platforms is a pain, so we don’t do it very often.
What we really want is Google Analytics for podcasts.
In this episode, we sat down with Christian and Antoine, co-founders of a podcast insights platform Podder, and discussed why podcast analytics is such a pain. We talked a bit about technical complexities of the distributed podcasting ecosystem and how Podder aggregates data across multiple platforms and data sources to provide podcasters with cross-platform insights.
This was quite an insightful conversation where we learned about European regulations that make it difficult for US companies to operate in Europe (Podder is based out of EU), how URL prefixes work, and what Christian got out of visiting the Podcast Movement conference in Las Vegas. We also got a glimpse into the founding story and the business side of things.
I summarized key insights in the takeaways below (or should I use “takeouts” now if we stick with UK English that’s more commonplace in Europe?)
There are very few metrics available for podcasts. The most common metric is a download but it’s not an accurate measure of engagement — you don’t know how much of the episode listeners listened to, where they dropped off, or even if they listened to anything at all after downloading!
Even the downloads metric is not unified across platforms. Platforms calculate it differently.
Apple and Spotify make up to 40% to 70% of listens. In the US, Apple tends to be #1 but in Europe Spotify tends to be first.
Advertisers need to trust your download numbers. So there is a need for a unified standard.
No one seems to like dynamically inserted ads). Host-read ads convert better but dynamically inserted ads are easier to do and easier to measure.
When hosts read ads, they have skin in the game. They vouch their reputation for the brand they advertise and listeners are more likely to act on the ad.
Read reviews out loud during your episodes to get more reviews. Anecdotally, shows that generate more reviews than others tend to read new reviews out loud in the beginning of their episodes.
Ask your guests to share your episode to their networks in any way they can.
If someone sends you feedback over email, ask them to also post it on Apple Podcasts.
Use unique links when sharing podcasts for better tracking. You can use services like Podder or Bit.ly for this.
Prefixes allow better tracking. Most (though not all) podcast hosting platforms allow “prefixes” that are added to the RSS feed and are used by podcast apps when a podcast episode is downloaded. Then, the download first hits the analytics platform that provided the prefix, so they can gather data. There can be multiple prefixes stitched together hopping from one podcast analytics platform to another.
In Europe, GDPR requires that users are in control of their data. You can’t track some things that you can in the US. You can’t store any personal information without asking users for permission first.
A small but mighty team can do a lot. Podder is an impressive service that is built by just 1.5 engineers!
Talk to people in the ecosystem. Go to conferences, reach out — you’ll always learn something new!
Where to find Christian and Antoine
This episode was produced by Mike Semashko
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Bye for now.
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