Measuring your Podcast’s Audience Engagement: 5 Ways
Part of the reason podcasts are so popular is because of their accessibility; you can listen to them at home, on the go, and in the background. With so much content, topics and formats out there, the opinion of your audiences matter – especially since you're essentially competing for listens. If you want to create your own podcast, you must understand the importance of audience engagement, and of measuring your podcast’s audience engagement.
You need to measure your podcast’s audience engagement beyond stats and numbers. Aside from the obvious methods of checking listens or views on a particular episode, there are a few more obscure methods of measuring your podcast’s audience engagement. This blog lists a few ways you can more holistically measure your podcast’s audience engagement.
The reviews function
The reviews function is a key part of nearly all podcast hosting platforms and streaming services. It not only offers listeners the chance to gauge the opinions of their peers, but allows you to learn about what your audience does and doesn’t like best – serving both parties in an equally beneficial way.
It’s highly useful for your podcast in the long term to ask for feedback. Asking for honest reviews is the chance to hear what your listeners think of your structure, format and episode content, so you can improve it accordingly.
Ask for reviews because you really value them, and leave ego and prejudgment at the door – people will give you constructive feedback because they want you to get better.
Use a survey
One of the best and direct ways to gauge the opinions and feelings of your audience is through a podcast survey. This is because it’s the most qualitative method of data gathering, and offers your audience the chance to better describe their thoughts on your series.
An advantage of this over a reviews function is that all data is given in confidence, so any inhibitions a listener may have are mitigated by the virtue of anonymity. Surveys can elicit the most honest and useful answers – if someone’s taken the time to complete a survey, you can rest assured they’re giving their sincerest opinions.
In addition, a podcast survey can incorporate elements that reviews can’t, such as more specific (scaled) ratings, agree or disagree statements, multiple choice as well as open ended questions – all things that make for a more well-rounded picture of podcast listener preferences.
Check out the Digital Bulls 2022 report into podcast listening habits in the Bristol and Bath area – research that yielded extremely useful results.
Set up an email list
Measuring your podcast’s audience engagement through email specifically is useful because it doesn’t intrude on the listener’s attention, such as in the case of YouTube or social media ads. Your first need to create an email list – (yes, create, not acquire, or you’ll have more blocks than active recipients in your contacts).
The simplest way to do this is entice your listeners by adding calls to action in each episode, having subscription boxes on your podcast website, running competitions and giveaways requiring email subscription, and via social media posts aimed at gaining subscribers.
As you begin to see your email list growing, you’re able to assess if what you’re doing is working (and therefore measure your podcast’s engagement) – which it most likely is if you’re gaining subscribers. A low-cost marketing method, targeted emails can be shared by recipients, encouraging friends and family to check out your podcast.
Hold a live episode or audio stream
If you want to get your listeners’ attention, you could set up a live audio stream, like Digital Bulls did for the inaugural episode of the ‘The Podcast Podcast’ during a livestream free for viewers on Twitch. This can help you go into a deeper level of engagement with your audience, taking questions, listening to live feedback and using a chat function to better measure your podcast’s audience engagement.
You can also invite your listeners to participate. This approach can make them feel involved with your podcast, as they get to share their thoughts. Live content is also effective podcast subscription content because it offers viewers more variety – but you can read more about podcast subscription content and the different types in our designated blog.
Going with the theme of podcast subscriptions and monetization, the next natural indicator of podcast engagement is what your series returns in earnings. You’ll need a certain number of listeners who will listen to your podcast and click on advertisements in order to generate revenue. The more listeners, the better advertising opportunities you have.
The key thing to note here is that even if your podcast isn’t earning huge amounts (or even earning at all), that doesn’t mean that people don’t like it. Building a successful series is a process, one that takes time and can only be successful off the back of nailing the other production, marketing and promotional needs.
Think of these as the crucial structural foundations that eventually facilitate monetary gain from a series.
You should focus on delivering a high-quality podcast for your listeners first and foremost. If your series is great, people will be inclined to subscribe to your email lists, leave reviews, engage with exclusive content and even put up with the ads, all because they love your content!
Once people are happy to offer feedback, treat them with respect – listen and learn from their answers in order to provide a better podcast for you and them.
Digital Bulls is a full-service podcast agency – producing, promoting and distributing podcasts for clients world-wide. Visit our website to learn more about our service packages, the importance of podcasts as a business tool, and what we can do for the growth of your brand.