Your podcast downloads are climbing up and up every week, and you just landed a dream guest.
It feels like your podcast is growing—and that’s a wonderful feeling.
Do you know what’s really making all the difference, though?
Could you pinpoint what percent of customers converted because of your podcast? Are you aware of which promotional channels are bringing in the most listeners?
If you don’t, you aren’t alone. Making sense of how your podcast helps you grow your business doesn’t come easily for podcasters both new and experienced.
You deserve to understand how your efforts are paying off, though. That way, you know what to double down on—and what to cut loose.
With a little strategy and set up you’ll be on your way to tracking podcast success like the savvy creator you are.
The essential tools you need to monitor podcast success
If you want your podcast to be as impactful as possible for your business, you have to track what’s happening each time a person interacts with your brand. Then, you need a way to connect these insights to understand the entire picture.
#1: A clearly defined goal
Building something from nothing is a rewarding but challenging road, and it’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t stop to see how far you’ve come. Without a definition of “success,” you’ll be forever stuck chasing a moving target.
Setting goals around the impact you want your podcast to have gives you a direction to help prioritize work and measure progress. Rather than chasing a vanity metric like downloads simply because it seems like the right thing to do, it helps to decide how you want to leverage your podcast.
There are three main podcast goal categories to consider: traffic, engagement, and sales.
Goal: Attract more new listeners
Why: If you want to use sponsorships as a monetization strategy, you’ll need more downloads
How: Figure out which promotion channel brings in the most listeners and put more effort there
Goal: Turn podcast listeners into email subscribers
Why: If you want to build relationships, it helps to have a place in your audience’s inboxes
How: Increase newsletter signups and lead magnet downloads from podcast pages
Goal: Increase sales of your products and services
Why: If you want to sell products or services, it helps to leverage every content channel
How: Understand what percent of podcast listeners end up making a purchase and aim to increase it
#2: A marketing analytics tool
Understanding your marketing engagement—both before and after someone is a regular listener—gives you insight into how well your promotions work. Your email marketing software lets you track metrics like open and click rates. You’ll also need a way to monitor social media engagement.
#3: A podcast analytics tool
This post won’t focus on podcast metrics in a vacuum, but it still pays to have insight into stats like your number of downloads. Most popular podcast platforms have analytics built-in, so you may not need to work with a separate tool.
#4: A website analytics tool
The final piece of your podcast tracking puzzle is website analytics. Google Analytics lets you track what people are doing on your website, such as your sales pages. This way, you can figure out if people are visiting important pages and converting.
4 questions to help you understand the impact of your podcast
The first step in making improvements is understanding your starting place. Start with a goal in mind, pick a question below, and start investigating!
The tactics below have insight and inspiration from creators:
- Dr. Shanté Cofield, founder of The Movement Maestro and host of Maestro on the Mic
- Jeremy Enns, CEO of Counterweight Creative and creator of the Podcast Marketing Academy
- Ramli John, founder and host of the Growth Marketing Today podcast
Question #1: Which promotion channel drives the most traffic to my podcast?
If you want to boost podcast downloads, you need to optimize promotion. Chances are, you share links to your podcast across a few channels like social media, your email list, website, or podcast hosting sites. Here’s how to measure traffic from each.
Create a custom URL for each channel.
There are pieces of information called UTM parameters you can include in links that add details to your Google Analytics. For example, you can create separate links for sharing your new podcast episode on your email list versus your Facebook group.
These custom URLs track which channel a person found you through, giving you a way to see how many podcast visitors came from each place. Your Google Analytics dashboard will also show you the average time on a page by traffic source, so you can compare where your most engaged visitors come from.
Leverage what you learn: If one or two promotion channels make up the majority of traffic, then you might be able to drop the other methods. This saves you time without compromising traffic and lets you put more effort into proven winners.
Question #2: Are podcast listeners signing up for my emails?
If you want to turn one-time listeners into long-time fans, it helps to get them on your email list. When podcast listeners subscribe to your newsletter, you build relationships over time and promote new episodes or pitch products.
There are two ways to measure how often podcast listeners sign up for your email list:
Option A: Create a podcast-specific signup form.
If you want podcast listeners to sign up for your general newsletter, create a form just for them. First, set up a form at the bottom of each podcast page that prompts people to join your newsletter. Then you can track the conversion rate and the number of subscribers that come from that list.
Option B: Offer a free download for each episode.
Want to make it really worthwhile for podcast listeners to join your email list? Create a free download for each episode. For example, Ramli John creates a “cheat sheet” for each episode of his podcast, Growth Marketing Today. When someone enters their email to access the freebie, you can label them as podcast listeners in your email marketing software.
Leverage what you learn: Having podcast listeners on an email list lets you share new episodes and sell future products. If they are joining your list, congrats! Keep doing what you’re doing. If they aren’t, experiment with a different call to action or offer a free download to boost the conversion rate.
Question #3: Is my podcast driving sales?
Calling out your paid products and services on your podcast is a good way to promote your content to interested audiences. But are your efforts making an impact?
There are three ways to understand the flow of traffic between your podcast and your paid offerings:
Option A: Offer a podcast-specific discount code.
The simplest way to track conversions between your podcast and products is by offering a podcast-specific discount code. Then, you can see how the number of customers with the code compares to total buyers and total downloads. A discount could sway the number of people who would have purchased. Still, it’s a simple, low-tech option to start tracking customer movement.
Dr. Shanté Cofield uses podcast-specific codes and promotions to monitor engagement for Maestro on the Mic. She noted that:
I will either create podcast-specific discount codes or have podcast-specific calls to action. If I have a guest on and they are promoting a product/service, I will ask for a podcast specific discount code to be generated. I recently ran a giveaway on my podcasts and instructed folks to text me with their name and email address as the sole way of entering. I didn't talk about the giveaway or provide entry details on any other platform, so, any entries received became a super easy way to “track” conversions/success.
-Dr. Shanté Cofield
Option B: Create a custom URL in the show notes to your sales page.
If you want to track how many people are checking out your sales page, you can create a custom URL that connects to your Google Analytics. UTM parameters let you add details to a link that gives your Google Analytics context.
So, when someone clicks on links to related content and resources you mentioned, your Google Analytics account will register where that person is coming from. Then, you can compare traffic sources for your sales page to see which marketing channels brought visitors in.
Option C: Use Google Analytics goal tracking.
In Google Analytics, you can set up a goal that logs each sale on your website. If you use a tool like ConvertKit Commerce to embed “buy now” buttons on your website, your goal will track how many people make it to the post-purchase confirmation page. Then, you can analyze the goal flow to see which traffic source brings in the most customers.
Leverage what you learn: Your first step in increasing sales conversions for your courses, ebooks, coaching, pad newsletters, and more is to understand how many people are viewing and buying your products currently. Once you have the baseline, you can compare podcast conversions to other promotion channels and tweak your product callout or show notes to increase conversions.
Question #4: Are podcast listeners engaged customers?
Finding the overlap between podcast listeners and email subscribers lets you find your most engaged supporters. Here’s how to find those loyal fans:
Option A: Ask customers what content they’ve engaged with.
Up until now, we’ve focused on quantitative data. However, sometimes it pays to simply ask people what you want to know.
Jeremy Enns of the Podcast Marketing Academy recommends asking new customers or clients how they heard about you and what content they engaged with. He shared,
Asking these questions regularly, as well as regular conversations and surveys of both your clients, customers, and listeners should give you enough information to draw meaningful conclusions about the impact of your show.
I've worked with many clients who say that up to 80% of all their clients discovered them through the podcast. Through qualitative data alone, one of my students was actually able to determine that his average customer listened to 36 episodes before they bought.
It might not be sexy, but this type of data coming directly from your listeners' mouths is priceless.
Option B: Tag and filter customers and podcast listeners.
ConvertKit users can tag people who click on links to your podcast from an email as “podcast listeners.” Then, you can monitor how many people are podcast listeners and customers on your subscriber dashboard. Filter subscribers by add filter>subscribed to>tag> podcast listener AND filter>subscribed to>product.
Leverage what you learn: If you want to get podcast advertisers, having analytics about how engaged your listeners are could help you score higher rates. Segments of active buyers and listeners are good for gathering feedback on what they want to see or offering exclusive sneak peeks. On the flip side, knowing how engaged listeners are could help you assess a podcast you’re thinking of placing an ad in. You could also compare podcast listeners and subscriber segments—if one type of person listens to your podcast more, you could tailor topics to that audience.
Make your marketing and products work together with ConvertKit
Understanding how your podcast impacts your business helps you decide what to keep doing and leave behind. One way to make tracking podcast traffic, engagement, and conversions easier is using ConvertKit to manage your products and marketing.
With ConvertKit, podcasters can create custom landing pages and forms, build an email list, and sell products from a single account. Instead of collecting customer data and activities across apps, you can access analytics from a single dashboard.
Want to start easily managing your podcast and business growth? Try ConvertKit today.