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How to track your show’s success for free

There are lots of tools available to help you make your podcast – from recording and editing workflow tools such as Descript and Riverside through to full on digital audio workstations such as Reaper – all of which can be purchased at affordable prices.

And when it comes to marketing your podcast, there are plenty of audiogram creators, social media planners and website creation options – many of them with free tiers available.

Measuring the success of your marketing can, however, be more challenging. Several very impressive services exist that can directly track who is clicking and when, but they often involve a technical side that can be confusing and almost always have a pricing structure geared to big businesses and advertisers.

So what can indie podcasters use to understand how well their podcast is doing without breaking their brains – or the bank?

In this month’s article we’ve compiled three open-source tools you can use today – and for free.

Chartable

An old favourite, Chartable has several useful functions but the one we keep coming back to is its tracking of a show’s position in both the Apple and Spotify charts. It’s a simple function, done really well, giving instant chart performance across both distributors by category and country. 

To add icing on the cake, Charitable also shows – on the same page as the chart positions – a summary of ratings and reviews from a number of different platforms.

Tracking chart position is a useful way of measuring your show’s short-term success as charts tend to reflect recent changes in listens, downloads and subscribers.

Listen Notes

There are not many tools that give podcasters a warm fuzzy feeling when they use them – but Listen Notes is definitely one.

Put simply, it uses publicly available data to generate a ‘Listen Score’ – a metric that shows the estimated popularity of your podcast from 0 to 100. The Listen Score isn’t as helpful as it sounds, but the real number to keep an eye on is your ‘Global Rank’. This number, expressed as a percentage, shows how well your show is performing compared to others. 

It’s this comparison that can be key because while we often tend to measure our success based upon an absolute number – eg downloads or listens – it’s our performance relative to others that is arguably more important.

Often we find Listen Notes’ Global Rank reveals that a show is doing much better than a podcaster imagined – which is always lovely to discover.

In the below example, The Pocket Astronomer has a Listen Score of 32, which places it in the top 5% of the 3.3 million shows tracked by Listen Notes.

Rephonic

Perhaps the least intuitive of our three recommendations, this is nevertheless our favourite tool when it comes to analysing podcast performance and finding shows that share the same space.

Rephonic is basically a database of podcast information, collected in clever ways. The tool pulls together information for almost 3 million shows which can be searched by title, publisher or episode name. The search functionality is limited without upgrading to a paid tier, but it’s the free audience graph function that we think is the real jewel in the crown.

Typing in the name of your show will quickly bring up a 3D map of which other shows it shares an audience with, based upon publicly available data. The result that comes back can be a little daunting at first, but the simple rule is that any line connecting two podcasts means that audiences of one also listen to the other. And if you see a blue line, that relates directly to your show.

The reason this is important is that it can help you learn more about your audience’s listening habits, as well helping you to find audiences you might want to target through cross-promotion or ads on particular shows. 

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