Late last year 2017, Apple finally launched its analytics for podcasts. But how can podcasters make the most out of it and what does it mean to the entire community? Here’s a look inside the iTunes podcast analytics.
How to Access the Analytics Dashboard
Although still in beta version, the iTunes podcast analytics is available to podcasters with shows streaming exclusively on the said platform.
Requirements for accessing the dashboard:
- iTunes Store account
- Browser supporting HTML5 and CSS3 standards (examples may include the latest versions of Safari, Firefox, and Chrome)
The first thing you have to do in order to access the dashboard is visit iTunes Connect and go to Podcast Analytics. Afterwards, log in using your iTunes Store account. Once inside, you will find all the shows you have available.
But, note this … in order for you to view the analytics of a specific show, that show or the episodes it contains should have been played on more than five unique devices. Shows with no listener data will not appear on the dashboard.
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Data for Each Show or Episode
On the dashboard, you will find two tabs: Shows and Episodes. As a rule of the thumb, you can only view data for a specific show or episode for the last 60 days.
Under each tab, you will find four main columns that you can use to analyze the performance of your podcast on iTunes. You can find there the name of the show or episode, the number of devices it was played, the total number of time that it has been listened to, and the average time spent per device.
Clicking on a specific item on the Show list will reveal:
- An overview of the total listener data, including top geographical locations per device used
- The trends of different metrics
- The performance of the show’s episodes
At present, the accumulated data only come from listeners with devices that have iOS 11 or iTunes 12.7 and later versions. Retrieval of data from each listener will only start after five seconds of playing an episode.
How to Comprehend the Information
Browse around and explore the different components of the iTunes podcast analytics dashboard. Each podcaster can have a different purpose, a different goal, from those of the other podcasters in the field.
Ways of assessing these goals could include:
- Increased listener count – The number of unique devices can be equivalent to your number of listeners. When you click on a particular show, you will find that these listeners are divided into two categories: Subscribers and Casual Listeners.
- Affiliates, Sponsors, or Ads – Are your sponsors’ airtime worth it? You can head over to the Episodes tab and click on a specific episode that features a particular sponsor. Whether listeners skipped them or not, you can check the average time spent per device. You can also look into the Trends section for the behavior patterns of your listeners.
- Target locations – As you may already know, listeners can access podcasts from almost anywhere in the world. If one of your goals is dominating listeners in a specific country, you can check that in the Overview section of each show.
It all depends on the goal you have in mind. Take it one step at a time and avoid getting overwhelmed by the iTunes podcast analytics data. It pays to have a clear vision of where you want to lead your podcast.
Weak areas are easy to spot when you know what you want. At times, it takes a combination of the available metrics to determine the areas to improve. And, these areas for improvement may include the flow of your show, the marketing strategies you use, and the way you present the stories in your podcast.
Related Blog Post: How to Run Your Podcast with Affiliates
Significance to the Podcasting Community
The iTunes podcast analytics in beta is a good start in giving added insight to each show’s performance on iTunes. It takes into account the different listener behavior patterns that can be used to determine whether listeners enjoyed listening throughout the entire episode or not.
It can also be key to understanding the different factors that make a podcast show successful and why others fail in the field.
To sponsors, this could mean an encouragement to support high-performing podcast shows. As Midroll’s data pointed out, about 90% of the podcast listeners complete an entire episode.
Thus, regardless of the following factors, listeners are willing to stay and be actively engaged in a particular show:
- Episode length
- Podcast genre
To podcasters and the production team they might have, the results of the analytics could serve as an encouragement to craft better content as well as to carry out consistency with regards to regular airtimes and format.
A call to creativity and exploration of what they can achieve — or do better at — given the tools, number of listeners, skills, and podcasting space that they have.
While this podcast analytics is helpful to podcasters with shows on iTunes, shows on other platforms can benefit from their own analytics as well. The challenge, however, is up for all platforms to improve the kind of data that they are providing to podcasters — to be more specific in the metrics that podcasters are looking for.
Target users are also another key factor to consider. Thus, leading to questions like:
- How many of your listeners access your show through iTunes?
- On which podcast platform do your target listeners actively engage?
Because if there are more non-subscribers than there are loyal followers, the results could simply be telling you to reevaluate your marketing strategies. Analytics does help in shedding light on areas that need improvement, but what you do with those data is what makes the difference. It’s a combination of many things in between.
Photo by Taylor Nicole on Unsplash