It’s our final episode of Season 2 and we are wrapping this season with a follow up from EP 28, which is all about understanding your podcast’s performance (both for audio and YouTube). This is essential in order to orient yourself in the bigger world of media creation and how successful you are. But it’s also essential for you to understand the return on investment you’re getting.
In this episode Tiff and Christine break down how to accurately understand your podcast and YouTube performance based on your audience size, the age of your show, and the reality of how these channels actually grow.
“Sizes of social media followings do not reflect the success of your podcast.”Christine Baird
- (1:44) The big things to understand about your audio podcast’s performance
- (11:01) The growth scale of podcasts
- (13:30) The big things to understand about your YouTube podcast’s performance
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- Tiff Tyler
- Christine Baird
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Transcription of this episode:
(auto-generated, please forgive typos)
Welcome to Think Like a Producer podcast. I’m your co-host Christine Baird.
And I’m your co-host Tiff Tyler. Being in the podcast industry, being in the content creation industry. This is what we learned, and this is how you can get out of your own way and get started.
You name it. We’ve probably done it. This podcast is about bringing all the wisdom to you. Tune in weekly, to learn how to think like a producer.
It’s recording. Okay. Welcome to the final episode of season two of think like a producer. It is the holidays we are wrapping the end of the year, this season. If you remember, if you’ve been following along was all about how to create awesome content that attracts your dream customers through podcasting and YouTube. So we planned this season, the end of the summer, and it’s been so awesome to record it. We hope you’ve loved it. This had a very specific focus versus season one, which was just kind of like welcome to this world. Let’s give you a high level of all the things to be aware of and get you started. This season was really strategic. Like let’s help you figure out how to attract the people you most want to be in your audience through the power of your podcast in your YouTube channel and your videos.
And so this last episode of the season is going to be all about understanding your podcast performance, because after all this content that you’ve listened to the whole season, we really want you to be equipped to understand all the work you’re putting in and how to like really take it in properly, um, to understand how you’re doing. Now, if you remember in season one, we did an episode similar to this episode, 28 we’ll link in the show notes. That was kind of like an intro to understanding how to figure out what your podcast numbers are telling you today. We’re gonna do sort of an evolution and specifically within the context of this theme of this season. So if you haven’t checked episode 28, go pop over and listen to, or watch that. And then today will be a nice little companion piece to it.
So I’m gonna start off with how to understand your podcast performance, like the audio side of things, and then tips gonna get into some things to understand about YouTube. The main thing to understand about your podcast performance on the audio side is the downloads which is kind of the metric that is measured in podcasting. All that means a download of a podcast is somebody clicked play on an episode. It doesn’t mean they listen to the whole episode. It doesn’t mean that every single download represents a unique listener. It doesn’t mean that the people who listen to one of episode are an entirely different set of people than listen to the second episode. So you gotta really understand what a download is when you’re looking at your performance. If you think it’s just like downloads are people that could give you the wrong impression, right?
And if you hear some fancy glamorous stat from some podcaster, you follow on social media, who’s like we just hit 5 million downloads. You might without knowing it be like, oh my gosh, 5 million people listen to their podcast. Like, what am I doing with my life? That’s not what that means. it means 5,000 times a human clicked play on their podcast. And maybe that was only 50,000 people. Maybe it was a bunch of bots, not really bots haven’t taken over podcasting just yet, but different apps have different ways of counting downloads. So even the downloads are not a hundred percent verifiable. They’re pretty accurate. Um, and 5 million downloads might have spanned over like five years and they might have a core audience of like 10,000 people. And then they might just have like a bunch of random people who’ve listened a few times. So just understand what a download is.
And that’s the metric that we’ve measure a podcast before and understand that it’s very different than like a social media follower. Very different than like the reach you might get on your Instagram reel. It’s very different than obviously how many people are subscribed to your email list or your open rate, your clickthrough rate on your emails. Um, it is a download. So take of the grain of salt. Okay. So with all that said, before we get to jargony and into the analytics, what I want you to keep in mind is social media followings, which is how a lot of people tend to sort of measure their audience size. Social media followings are very different in nature than podcast audiences, because social media followings are built on apps that are designed to keep people just like constantly discovering and spending time with more and more people on those apps.
So there’s a, they’re kind of slated for discoverability. That’s the term, right? Like how often have you been scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or TikTok? And it’s like, oh, you might like this account, right? Like they literally help you find new people. Podcast apps are not like that. YouTube is so that’s cool, but podcast apps don’t do that yet. And so you need to understand when you’re looking at your download numbers and the way to figure out your rough audience size for your podcast is like, what’s the average number of downloads I’m getting on an episode over time, that number will be like a decent indicator of about how many subscribers or average listeners you have. It’s obviously gonna fluctuate episode to episode. There’ll be outliers, but typically over time, you’ll figure out like, you know, I see I’m getting about 500 downloads on average per episode.
After about a month, there’s probably about a, a base audience of 500 people listening to my show, right? So that download number represents a very different interaction than a social media follower who maybe just like somebody tagged your account in their story. And the person was like, that’s cool. I’ll follow them. And just never saw your stuff again, or maybe sees your stuff once every two weeks and sees it for two seconds, right? Like we know this like social media followings are not like people who are Aly engaged with your every piece of content and watch it to the full and see it a to give you a reality check, I’ve run the numbers for my own clients in kind of industry standards. A typical difference between someone’s podcast audience and their social media audience is pretty dramatic. I find for most people in my space, so independent podcasters, they don’t have, you know, big network shows they typically have about 3% of their social media audience is about the size of their podcast audience.
If they’re above average, like they’re really doing exceptional 5%. And if they’re just like a unicorn and they’ve been doing it forever and they’re like amazing, and everyone knows about them, it’s like 8%. So there you go. Like that can hopefully like take some weight off your shoulders sizes of social media followings do not reflect the success of your podcast. Like it’s just a totally different interaction podcast. Listeners are taking in your content probably on a weekly basis. They’re listening to you for 2030, for 60 minutes. Totally different interaction, totally different investment, totally different quality, a person. Right. So hopefully that will clear up some thoughts for you if you’re like, I’m only getting 70 downloads per episode and I’ve been podcasting for five months and I have, you know, 10,000 followers on social media, but like what’s going on? Okay. Well let’s like do some basic understandings and comparisons.
And if you realize only 1% of your social media audience is checking out the podcast and you’re like, okay, well let me do some work. I, I could probably get it up to 3%. Um, but I would never expect 10%, 20%, 30%. So if you’ve been beating yourself up, because people who are used to engaging with you in a very different way, aren’t coming over and listening to you for 30 minutes on a podcast, that’s on a different app that they have to look up like don’t, now this will change dramatically for different shows. Like if you have a totally different kind of show the stats be different, I’m giving these stats based on like people who have either personal brands or small businesses that they mainly online based and have like a substantial social media following as a marketing tool for their business. That’s kind of the reference point I’ve giving you for how oftentimes their podcast audience looks.
So that is, it’s always thrilling to me when a client comes to me and they have an existing show and I start working with them and it’s like a lot higher and they have no social media following. I mean, it just makes my heart sings. And like, this is the power of podcasting, literally through word of mouth, your shows and the thousands of downloads per episode. Um, but you know, that takes a lot of time and effort. And usually comes through years. Podcasting is a long game, as we’ve said many times. So I want you to just really see that and see it for what it is and appreciate it for what it is. Now. I also want to introduce this idea, uh, that I actually first brought up in our membership program, that there is a growth scale to podcasts. So year one, if you’re in the first year of podcasting, like you’ve just launched or you’re about to launch, or you’ve been going for like six months, that is a very different growth.
And you’ll typically see very different numbers than like if you’re in year 2, 3, 4, 5, there’s kind of a different thing going on every year of a podcast for the first few years of its life. So if you’re in year one and you’re comparing your podcast performance, you’re looking at your download numbers and you’re realizing that your friend or the person you follow, who has a podcast, you love they’re in year three. And they have very different numbers than you. That’s not gonna be very helpful to you because you’re inaccurately comparing your one numbers to your three numbers. And I find that typically for independent shows connected to existing brands, those shows really, they don’t usually hit their stride till about year three, oftentimes year four. Like when I say hit their stride, I mean, like there is a core audience of a thousand true fans who are like preaching the gospel of the podcast, sharing the word far and wide.
You’re getting recognized. You’re getting ranked. People are talking about your podcast is one of the best in the space. People are effortlessly for minding it like that kind of magic that people wanna have happen. Typically, typically there’s exceptions that then happen like year 3, 4, 5, cuz people need to see it for a few years to realize like, oh, this is like a legitimate thing. That’s long form going on, done professionally taken seriously high quality. Like they didn’t just start it and flame out. So if you’re in year one and you’re seeing like, well, I started out and there was like a little bit of a burst and then it kind of tapered off. And then I’ve been just like working so hard to get like one subscriber at a time you’re in good company. Like it all depends on how you started. Did you start with the sizable audience who is already still listening to you, teach or share content or interview people for 30, 60 minutes?
Maybe you might have been a coach or a professional speaker, or maybe you were an author. So people were used to being with your content for a long amount of time. So it was really easy for your existing audience to come over to your podcast. But if you haven’t had that kind of relationship with your audience, a podcast is a whole new way for them to interact with you. And that takes time. It’s like a different relationship that develops. So year one is all about literal awareness building. Like you will be surprised in the first year of podcasting when you feel like all you’ve talked about is your podcast for six months, you’ll run into somebody or someone will DM you. Someone who knows you. And they’re like, oh my gosh, I just realized you have a podcast year. One’s all about awareness. Year two is much more about like, okay, now I have a year of data to kind of go through and get an idea of what’s working.
What’s not of people like where people are coming from. So you choose about starting to tweak things like, okay, I’m, I’m starting to realize like, people are really jamming on this. So maybe I should do more of this. So year two, you’re still growing, but you kind of have some data to go off of. year three is probably when people are gonna start talking about you in your circle and in your industry. And like more organic traffic is just gonna start coming. Cause you’ve been doing it for a couple years. People have seen the work, they associate the show with you. They know about it and they’re starting to talk about it to their friends and then it just gets better and better like four or 5, 6, 7, you know, you can do all kinds of cool stuff once the audience is there. So I’m just gonna leave you with that as a pretty high overview of this thing, I call the growth scale of podcasts that, um, we go into in our membership. But I want to give you some things to think about so that you feel confident in understanding where you’re at and, and not beating yourself up for not being somewhere that most people aren’t there in your year. okay. Tiff, let’s pivot. And let’s talk about understanding your performance on YouTube.
Geez. That was gold. Like anybody listening and probably have so much, um, uh, just to understand, I think, I mean, I will totally talk about YouTube, but I think that, I don’t know, you probably feel the same. And when Christine think a lot of people, when you’re starting your podcast, it seems like the biggest issue with staying consistent or moving forward is just like, I should be further along. People should be listening to this, all this stuff. It’s just like, you know, just hearing the realistic numbers. And of course there are outliers. There are things that happen, you know, sometimes might grow really fast compared to what Christine saying. This might, might grow really slow compared to what Christina’s saying, but it’s like at the end of the day, this is sort of like the data that’s coming in. It’s good to know that this takes time.
And I would say that relates to YouTube because YouTube is another long game kind of platform, right? Like you can have all these things take off on TikTok and you know, you post six months consistently on TikTok and you might actually be doing pretty well. You YouTube, there’s way more people on there making a lot of content. I mean, the numbers are ridiculous. How many videos are posted like a minute right on YouTube. It’s insane, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s, it’s a good way for, you know, when, once you can stand out on such a huge platform, it really does make a big difference revenue coming in all that stuff. But I would say for YouTube and for podcast like Christine is saying, it’s a few years in that you’re really gonna see those numbers start to grow. But what I try to tell people to look for is within their videos, when you’re in the analytics of your YouTube channel, the first 60 seconds, how long are people watching?
Are they able to actually get through the first 60? Or does it kind of drop down after a first couple seconds of a video? And the reason why I bring that up is because when you look at, if you currently have a YouTube channel, every time you open up a video, you just see the line go down and it’s so like heart dropping because you’re thinking, oh, nobody’s watching. Nobody cares. Nobody’s listening. It’s not true. YouTube is built on averages, right? If you have an hour long piece of content, there might be somebody that watched all the way through, but there might be some people who dropped off in the first couple minutes or first couple seconds. And so it looks, it’s always giving you the average, right? Um, this is why you really wanna get to know your numbers a little bit better. Really what helps is like making the first 60 seconds really interesting.
And what I’m saying is a lot of people, uh, this is hopefully gonna help you for other future views that you do when you’re creating your YouTube videos. What you wanna think about is the first 60 seconds being really interesting. So you wanna put a preview, maybe something that was really interesting that happened within the episode, whether it’s a vlog or a podcast or whatever. Um, you just want to think about, what’s going to make people wanna watch all the way to the end. And that’s usually what people put in the first couple seconds. So it draws this interesting piece out what I tell podcasters to stop doing, cuz most people, when I come onto their YouTube channels later, they’ll have the whole intro to their audio podcast play before they get a into video of their show. And I understand that maybe they’re trying to do that because maybe they’re thinking no one’s ever seen this before or whatever, but if you’re gonna have video content at the end, have video content in the beginning, you can still throw that intro in.
Whatever’s gonna make your style feel great, but you wanna put the most interesting thing in the beginning of the videos for YouTube. And um, like I said, you’re looking at how long people are watching. You’re looking at how many views each video is getting. There’s a lot of different factors to consider, but really those first 60 seconds are the most overlooked over time. You’re gonna get better at titling your videos. You’re gonna get better at making really cool thumbnails or people to click on. And you’re gonna use a tool that a lot of people are using called two, which I break down our membership and to really help you understand an AB test and the whole thing, but overall, uh, just to wrap up this season and this episode again with just like a moment from the heart, you know, this is a long game, this is something that people are going to watch over time.
What you really wanna do is focus on the store, worry what you’re telling the interview that you’re giving, or you’re really pulling out the heart of what your guest, uh, has overcome or has done, or the, the, you know, the moments that, that, that are striking, right? The things that are gonna get people’s attention. The reason why I say that is because there are some channels that will bring me on to be their YouTube strategist after four years of content. And what they’re thinking is I’m gonna make other content better for the future. I’m like, yes, I’m gonna make your content better for the future, but I’m also gonna optimize everything you did beforehand because your video from four or five years ago could be one of the most viewed on your channel overall years and years down the road, because you just needed a couple things to tweak and to optimize.
So at the end of the day, you know, there’s so many things, social media also that can help with your show, but really concentrating on the message that you’re bringing the good that you’re bringing into the world, how your show is gonna make a difference for someone else’s life. Focus on that. Focus on the content. Christine does a really good job of teaching you how to be a host on your podcast, on our membership as well. So just focus on the content as much as you can, and the numbers will come. The growth will come the more time and energy you put into your show, the better it will do. And this will, this will happen over time. So if you haven’t learned anything else over the last 45 episodes of this podcast, please understand that long as you have good intentions, good things will happen. Just continue to move forward, learn everything you can, but just put something good out into the world. Uh, Christine, is there anything else you want to add here?
Oh, I loved that. It was a beautiful bow on the end of the season. Um, mostly just stay tuned. We are gonna take a season break and we’ll be back in the new year. We have something really exciting coming, and we’re not gonna give you all the details yet because we’re in the middle of putting the finishing touches on it. But if you’ve been wanting to work with us and you’ve just been looking for kind of a more entry level or beginner, we’ve never really offered that and we’re gonna have something for you in the new year. That’s gonna literally be able to help anyone at any level of podcasting. If they’re doing an independent podcast for their own project brand organization, and it’s been a long time in the making. So stay tuned, we’ll be back in the new year with some amazing offers and resources, but we are so thrilled. You’re here. We love creating content for you. We absolutely love it. When you share the show, it’s such a thrill for us when, um, we meet people who already know about the show or who give us feedback. So, um, thank you so much for listening and watching and we will see you in the next season.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Think Like a Producer. This has been a Worthfull Media production. Massive thanks to our team who makes the show possible. Worthfull Media for audio editing, Jorge and Veronica from Mosaico Productions for video effects and Amela Subasic for our amazing artwork and graphics.