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How many podcast downloads are good?

You’ve just launched a new podcast and you want to know how you stack up against other shows. The most natural metric to turn to is how many downloads the podcast received. How do you gauge how many podcast downloads are ‘good’?

A podcast episode that has been live approximately 30 days averages 141 downloads. If you have over 3400 downloads you are in the top 10%. If you have over 9000 downloads you are in the top 5%. Lastly, if you have over 50,000 downloads per episode (again after having it live for 30 days) you are in the top 1%.”
~Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn (As quoted by SchoolOfPodcasting.com)

Downloads for a podcast episode are measured by the number of downloads it gets in the first 90 days after it has been released. That is the standard method for determining the numbers for reporting to advertisers on a show. It’s also common for different platforms to report different download numbers between them because they use different algorithms and treat downloads from bots and multiple downloads from the same IPs differently.

In a world where Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube posts get likes and views in the tens to hundreds of thousands, you may be tempted to expect the same from your podcast in terms of downloads. But the comparison isn’t one-to-one. Podcasts are an investment of time into long-form content. They’re more of a commitment than a simple click to like.

This is where you need to consider the size of your audience. The question of measuring success becomes who is listening, rather than how many of them are there. How many people out there want to hear your niche content, and how many of them are podcast listeners?

Can the success of your show be purely measured by the number of downloads alone? Our stance is that this really depends on the goals for your podcast, and how you intend it to support your business.

  • If you’re trying to build the podcast as a stand-alone business supported solely by advertising, aim for 10K downloads per episode
  • If you’re trying to build a podcast supported by patrons, aim for 1k downloads per episode
  • If you’re using the podcast to support your existing business, even 100 downloads per episode is a solid benchmark to shoot for when you are starting out

If you’re aspiring to get your show off the ground, we’re eager to help. We’re here to let you stay focused on what you’re truly great at, so you can pretty much just show up for your recording, share your gifts in front of a microphone, and focus on the relationship you’re building with your audience. Let us know how we can help!

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