A successful podcast is not measured by the size of its podcast directory or the quality of its podcast website. No way!! A successful podcast is measured by the amount of episode downloads. This number tells you whether or not people are vibing with your content and listening all the way through. 

When these numbers are high, you’ll be more attractive to not only other new listeners, but to brand sponsors as well. And, we all want to get this thing monetized, right?! So, today we’re discussing ways to increase your podcast downloads and find new listeners. Here it is:

What Are Podcast Downloads

How To Get More Podcast Downloads

What Are Podcast Downloads?

Podcast downloads can sometimes be mistaken as the number of times a user downloads a podcast file for offline use. This is not what podcast downloads mean when you see it noted on your analytics page! 

Instead, the number of podcast downloads actually refers to the number of times your podcast episode has been accessed and listened to. So, basically, it’s the amount of full playthroughs you have on your podcast.

How to Measure Podcast Downloads

How To Measure Podcast Downloads

View your hosting platform’s analytics.

Most podcast hosting platforms like Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Apple Podcasts will have a way to view podcast downloads. You can see your downloads in real time on your insights pages! Of course, each analytics page just includes the total downloads for that platform, though. It won’t factor in other sources of downloads! 

Use third party analytics software. 

If you have your podcast uploaded to multiple hosting platforms (which you should), a third party tracker for podcast stats is a great idea! It can find your total downloads across all sites and give you a much more accurate view of your podcast’s popularity. For the best tracking program, try PodTrac

Don’t get downloads confused with unique listeners. 

When you’re looking at your podcast analytics page, you may see “unique listeners” next to downloads. Don’t get these two confused, but, instead understand how they are different. 

Unique listeners refers to the number of NEW listeners that tuned into a podcast! If that person listened to the same podcast 10 times, it still would only count as one unique listener. However, that would count as 10 downloads. Both are useful podcast statistics, but you need to know what they mean. (If you’re interested, here’s more on how to measure podcast success.)

How To Increase Podcast Downloads

How To Increase Podcast Downloads

Add transcripts of your podcasts.

One of the best ways to get more podcast listens is to make your podcast more visible. You can do this by uploading podcast transcripts to your website as blog posts. When your audio is transferred to text, your content suddenly becomes visible on search engine results pages. Meaning, when potential listeners search for content you’ve talked about, they actually find you! 

This definitely takes some time since audio-to-text programs are still not that great, but it’s worth it for the gains. You can see how The Career Contessa uploads their full transcripts for each episode HERE. However, if that’s too intimidating, try uploading partial transcripts like Him & Her does on their podcast website. It’s still super effective without taking for-e-ver to type out. 

Include informative and searchable titles. 

Though your instinct might be to title your episode something cool and catchy, that really doesn’t do much for your podcast download game. You want your podcast to be super searchable on all podcast hosting platforms, so make your episode titles descriptive, informative, and searchable. Include as many natural keywords as you can and hit every major point covered in the podcast. 

When you do this, it makes finding new organic listeners way WAY easier. So, though it’s not the most aesthetic thing in the world, the messiness is well worth it. You can see examples of this titling strategy on The Blonde Files and Life with Marianna. (And, you know it works, because these ladies are killing it.)

Share podcast soundbites on social media.

Social media is a great way to find your target audience and engage with your current followers. Tease listeners old and new with engaging clips and soundbites from your latest episode! The short videos will have them DYING to know what happens next. Payton Sartain of Note to Self does this, and so does Kamie Crawford of Relationsh*t! They each share lots of podcast soundbites on their TikTok pages that attract new listeners every fricken day. 

Ask your guests to promote your episode.

If you have a podcast like Him & Her, Good Guys, or Say Yas to the Guest that pretty much has a new guest every episode, put them to work!! (Nicely, of course.) If every one of your guests promoted you on their own channels, you’d get A LOT more podcast downloads. So, consider working this out before you even record. They’re usually happy to oblige!

Ensure every episode is high-quality. 

Your podcasts won’t get consistent downloads if your episodes vary a lot in quality and style. Try to keep everything consistent and top quality, so that all of your listeners will love EVERY episode—not just certain ones done in a certain way. Commit to a standard of quality, a given time limit, and a specific format. When your listeners KNOW they’re going to love the next episode, they’re gonna set that sh*t to automatically download, which is exactly what you want. 

Ask for reviews, ratings, and auto-downloads.

This is a bit of a long-term play, but when you ask your loyal listeners to review, rate, and set your podcast to auto-download, more listeners will naturally find your content. The high rankings and reviews will sell people on your podcast before they even know what it’s about! And, that auto-download function means your listeners won’t forget about new content. They might even listen to a podcast multiple times if it’s saved to their phone! 

Podcast download metrics are one of the best ways to see how your podcast is doing!

Podcast downloads aren’t the only stat out there that matters, but it’s a pretty big one! It not only shows that people like to listen to your podcast episodes, but it also shows that people love to binge them and listen again and again—which is HUGE. If you’re not paying attention to this metric, it’s time to start. And, if you’re not happy with those numbers, use these tips to BLOW UP! Soon, we’re going to be seeing our podcast everywhere! 

For more great podcasts, check out our Dear Media podcast directory. We have some of the best shows out there that’ll give you the inspo and wisdom you need to make your podcast great. Plus, our Dear Media blog has plenty of insider info on the podcast industry to help you get ahead of the game and STAY ahead of the game. Together let’s make your podcast the next big thing!