LAUNCHPOD MEDIA BLOG

Show Us The Numbers

Podcasting is the quintessential black box. There are so many questions about podcasting and about each platform that podcasting nerds like myself make living off of running experiments and learning to optimize content for the platforms. However, there are a number of things I wish Apple and Spotify would just… do. Nothing is holding them … Continue reading Show Us The Numbers

Podcasting is the quintessential black box. There are so many questions about podcasting and about each platform that podcasting nerds like myself make living off of running experiments and learning to optimize content for the platforms. However, there are a number of things I wish Apple and Spotify would just… do. Nothing is holding them back from making certain improvements. In fact, many changes that would make for a better podcasting culture would be if they simply instituted things that are already using on other parts of their platform. Things like showing downloads/podcast numbers publicly would be a good start.

When you open Spotify and listen to any song you can see a running total of just how many listens it has. The same thing for Youtube videos, Apps in the Apple Store, Likes on Facebook, Followers on Twitter and Instagram, and likes on any post ever. But for some silly reason that is beyond me, Apple has had a social media platform literally fall into their lap, and somehow downloads are super-secret. 

I believe hiding podcast numbers are impacting the culture in a negative way, everyone is so worried about how many people are listening and they never feel like they have enough downloads to talk about it publicly. When I first did the Manga Sensei podcast I didn’t tell anyone my downloads outside of the guests until I was toping 100k downloads per month. I would have had so many opportunities and made much more money if I had just known what I was competing against.

One reason I’m sure that Apple doesn’t want to share the download numbers publicly is that they may not want to show where they are slipping to Spotify, or what happens it the content they are producing doesn’t do as well? Who cares. The platform is not for Apple or Spotify. It is for the people on the platform; the listeners and the content creators. Let the merits of their individual content be the determining factor in prestige.

I could only imagine all of the data that could be gathered from just seeing subscriber counts and episode download numbers. Advertisers could reach out to the right shows and have actual numbers to compare things to. We could track podcast growth rates, track downloads by category, and type. Information on length, time, duration, titles, and show notes could be done at a much larger scale instead of using more roundabout testing methods. 

One thing that is worth mentioning is this change would hurt companies like mine in the short term. LaunchPod Media is a Data and Analytics company at its core. We do testing and research to help companies create podcasts. We literally have run hundreds and thousands of tests to make sure a show is targeted, optimized, and has a high chance of success. If Apple or Spotify just displayed podcast numbers tomorrow, we would take a hit. But this isn’t about LaunchPod, we would turn and focus more on number crunching and more on discoverability and growth. What matters is that this change would become a greater, wider tool for all podcaster and companies.

I’m sure some people and companies are still wary of allowing numbers of their podcasts to be shown publicly, but all I want is transparency. To show who is killing it, and who is conflating their numbers or making excuses. I want beginning podcasters to know what shows they can work with and how well they are doing. I want the scoring of the game to be open, and not a giant mystery that making asking how someone’s podcast is doing a more obvious answer. 

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