As podcasters, we are always looking for ways to gauge our success, which often means download numbers, but if we’re lucky, we might find our show hitting one of many podcast charts out there. So, what does it mean when your podcast charts and an even better question – how is that determined? Well, it largely depends on the platform.
Apple’s algorithm determines its podcast chart ranking based on trends and does not factor in ratings, reviews, or shares. It just measures the following:
Listening: When listeners are engaging with episodes, it’s an indicator of content popularity.
Follows: When listeners follow a show to receive new episodes, it’s an indicator of their intent to listen.
Completion Rate: When listeners complete episodes, it’s an indicator of content quality.
How they determine their charts isn’t quite as clear. However, they say it’s driven by listener data and the size of the audience. Chartable, which also collates this charting data alongside Apple Podcasts, thinks it’s directly related to downloads.
Chartable, a third-party measurement tool (now owned by Spotify) that publishers have to opt-in to, measures week-over-week changes in downloads across all of the podcasts they measure. New charts are released every Wednesday. For podcasters unfamiliar with Chartable, you can also connect your Apple Podcasts Connect and Spotify for Podcasters accounts and view Chartable’s own data alongside data from those two platforms.
Another independent 3rd party tracker similar to Chartable, Podtrac, bases its charts on the unique U.S. monthly audience of each show which is helpful for advertisers who want to know which shows reached the biggest audiences.
What does it all mean?
Just like any other analytics or measurement tool, what it means to chart on any of these platforms varies, so never use it as a singular gauge of success. However, you can use it as a benchmark against other podcasts in the same category. For instance, if your podcast cracks the top 200 on Apple Podcasts in the business category, that’s HUGE. Yes, 200 is a big deal. Being in 200th place might not seem like much to brag about, but when you consider there are well over 30,000 podcasts in that category, that chart number starts to become a little more meaningful.
While you should be mindful of how those podcast charts are created, making it on any chart is still an accomplishment for podcasts of any size.
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