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Published on Apr 27, 2020 08:00 am:

Podcast Success Metrics For Tomorrow [Episode 301]

You want your show to be successful. I want my podcast to be successful. And of course, I want all of my clients’ podcasts to be successful. But how we define success metrics for podcasts is a big and sticky question.

It's fine to use the same metrics as every other podcaster… as long as you’re podcasting for the same reasons as every other podcaster. So long as the business goals and objectives of your podcast line up with the same business objectives and goals of every other podcast, you can track shared goals. 

But your goals and objectives are not the same as every other podcaster.

Tracking things like the average number of downloads per episode is tracking outputs, not outcomes. How you define a successful outcome for your own podcast is complicated enough. Crowdsourcing (or worse, outsourcing) that decision to various Facebook groups, Reddit forums, or Discord servers increases that complexity infinitely.

There’s a deeper problem with using generally accepted podcast success metrics tracking. They all point to the same assumed growth trajectory. Put more simply: Most podcast success metrics assume you want to make a really big podcast.

What matters is something much more simple, and I posit to you that it's a success metric worthy of considering for your own podcast. It’s the success metric that almost all intentionally-small businesses rely on:

“Can I stay in business?” 

It’s a simple, easy business metric disguised as a simple binary question with a simple yes or no answer. 

However, it does assume that you actually want to be in business in the first place. For a lot of podcasters, they really don’t want to be in the business of podcasting. And that’s OK. the vast majority of podcasts today are made by hobbyists because it’s fun.

But that doesn’t invalidate my simple metric. It just requires a slight modification: 

“Can I keep having fun?”

So whether your podcast is business-based or just for fun, this success metric doesn’t have to change. Can you afford -- either financially or emotionally -- to keep doing it?

But staying in business is very different from covering your costs. That’s why, for most, covering your costs is a bad podcast success metric. That’s not how you keep going. You have to stay in business. Or it's about feeling the investment required to make your show is smaller -- significantly smaller -- than the emotional return you receive.

That's really the podcast success metric that matters. 

And now, you have a choice: 

  • Option A: Right now, start a new email. No, not a Tweet. Not a Facebook update. Not a comment. I want you to send an email to one podcaster you know who may or may not be listening to this program. You’re sending them your personal recommendation that they listen to Podcast Pontifications.
  • Option B: Supporting the show by going to

You pick which option you like. I'm easy either way.


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Podcast Pontifications is published by Evo Terra four times a week and is aimed at the working podcaster. The purpose of this show is to make podcasting better, not just easier.

Follow Evo on Twitter for more podcasting insights as they come.

And if you need a professional in your podcasting corner, please visit to see how Simpler Media Productions can help your firm. Podcasting is our only business!

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