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Recent data from our latest show, Civilized, an improvised dark comedy sci-fi podcast

Knowing your listener numbers

Episode trajectories for Podcasters

I recently had a few people ask for us to share our episode trajectory template. This is a tool we use pretty much every day in monitoring the health of our many podcasts.

I can’t recall who we originally stole this idea from, but we definitely did not invent it.

I love the episode trajectory for a few reasons. First, it teaches us what our monthly per-episode download number is. This is a critical number if you ever want to discuss sponsorship, join a network or understand your reach.

Second, it helps us see how our show is growing. In the graph above, we can see how our newest show, Civilized, is growing and the rate of said growth on an episode by episode basis.

Finally, it can identify issues that might not otherwise be apparent from your aggregate download numbers or what most podcast hosts show in their stats.

Below you can see how one of our other shows, , hit a bit of a plateau. And yet, our overall monthly download numbers are still climbing. Without an episode trajectory view, we may not have noticed this strange aberration.

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Why would our overall downloads be climbing and not our later episodes? The episode trajectory won’t tell us the answer, but it does allow us to start asking better questions.

It could be because people are listening via the web or streaming episodes one at a time. And they are starting at the beginning.

Or we might be getting new subscribers who don’t have auto-download turned on. This makes a lot of sense due to the hour duration of most episodes and how many episodes there are to work through.

With our flagship property and show, , the episode trajectory is quite different from any of our other shows.

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We’ve learned that with Alba we can expect numbers to grow consistently during the active launch of a season, and between seasons we can expect a significant jump in listeners/subscribers/downloads.

Here’s the Template

You can use our template to create your own episode trajectory. Just create a copy of the following Google sheet and start inputting your daily download data.

We hope you find this helpful.


Sean is a brand marketer, podcaster and co-founder of Fable and Folly.

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