Using Spotify’s Podcast Analytics

Note: This article originally appeared on Market Brothers Media.

It’s crazy to think how far podcasts have come. According to Baer Facts, the percentage of Americans who listen to podcasts has increased every year since 2014. Google Trends, one of the best analytics tools, shows a steady increase in the audio-listening medium since 2013:

Google Trends data for “Podcast” searches from 2004 — Present.

One big catalyst has been Spotify, who has made quite a few investments in the space. They have re-branded themselves as an “audio platform,” and even changed their description on the app store to “Spotify — Music and Podcasts.”

In March Spotify acquired the podcast studio Gimlet and distribution platform Anchor (who we use at Chit Chat Money), two of the bigger firms in the audio universe. It’s clear the company wants to be the next big listening platform after (or even ahead of) Apple, whose app has historically dominated the market.

As well, in October of 2018 Spotify for Podcasters was launched as an analytical tool to track the growth and performance of shows. And while the service is still only in beta, I already think it is better than Apple’s more popular and older analytics service.

Below I am going to go through the best ways to use Spotify for Podcasters, and what they should add to improve the offering. This is not strictly about whether this is good or bad for investors in Spotify, but anyone interested in the stock should be paying attention to how they plan on vertically integrating the audio market.

How to Use Spotify for Podcasters

I am not going to talk about how to set-up an account, as there are countless amounts of these articles already floating around the web. Instead, I am going to go through the best ways to use Spotify for Podcasters to evaluate your show.

The first and possibly most important metrics to look at are the general statistics at the top of your show’s dashboard.

The four general metrics Spotify gives about your podcast.

A “start” is how many times an episode has been started, and a “stream” is how many times someone has listened to more than 60 seconds of an episode. Generally, it is better to have a higher stream-to-start ratio because that is an indicator more people are actually finishing episodes of the show.

A “listener” is a unique Spotify user that has listened to the show, and a “follower” is someone who has decided to follow the show on the app. These are both pretty straight forward; the more listeners and followers you have the better.

Audience Section

Besides the general statistics provided, the most insightful part of Spotify for Podcasters is the audience section. You can look at how your show has trended over time, as well as a few listener demographics.

For example, they give you a historical chart of your followers, which is a helpful tool to see how fast the show is growing over time.

Chart your show’s followers over time.

They also give age and gender distributions for the show, although this cannot be tracked from a historical perspective. If you ever wondered what type of people listen to your show, this is the best way to answer that question.

Lastly, Spotify allows you to download your data as a CSV file (an Excel sheet) so you can further manipulate it. You can run a regression on listener trends, see what episodes have performed the best over time, and how your stream-to-start rate has changed during the life of the show.

What Spotify for Podcasters should Add

Although I like the service, there is no doubt improvements need to be made when Spotify launches the non-beta version.

First, I think it would be nice to get a metric for loyal listeners, which could be an account that listens to more than 80% of episodes. This would help content creators know how many dedicated audience members they have and if people have stopped listening to the show.

Second, Spotify should work with advertisers and Anchor to use listener data to match-up shows with better ad reads. This would help Spotify, hosts, and advertisers make more money while giving listeners ads they would be more interested in.

Lastly, they need to figure out how Anchor and Spotify are going to work together. From my outsider point-of-view, I see two paths they can go down:

  1. Keep Anchor completely separate from Spotify. This would allow them to develop Anchor as the “YouTube for podcasts” without making shows go through Spotify.
  2. Integrate Anchor into Spotify. This would make Spotify for Podcasters a one-stop shop for all a show’s needs, but it would likely upset competitors.

From an investing perspective, I think option one would be the best bet, but I wouldn’t be upset if they choose option two.

Spotify is betting big on podcasts, and it looks like so far it is paying off. They are growing market share vs. Apple (at 19% as of late 2018), which will give them better data to work with and negotiating leverage. Investors should look for this to continue if they are shareholders of Spotify.

Writing at Sharing my thoughts and favorite posts from the site. Mostly Investing and Business related.

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