A recent question sent into Marketing Over Coffee – what metrics matter for podcasters to measure their success, a la the ADM?

Ultimately, traffic metrics are only the top of the funnel – they’re the raw number of eyeballs in, and that in itself isn’t worth much except for general trends.

No matter what statistic you use – file downloads, Feedburner numbers, etc. the main value of basic traffic statistics is trend growth – does your show have more audience this month than last month? Does your show have more audience this year than last year, and what kind of growth are you looking at – 1%? 5%? 50%?

It’s more important to use a consistent growth metric than a standardized one – if you consistently measure on Feedburner numbers, then you have a baseline to measure growth. If you consistently use files downloaded with status code 200 from Apache, you can measure based on that.

Having two statistics – Feedburner + Apache – is good for ensuring that trends are consistent. If Apache completed downloads are radically different than Feedburner numbers, you need to investigate why. Is it a spambot scraping your content? Is it people listening straight off the web site without a download? If metrics matter, your chosen benchmarks should move in tandem – 10% growth in Apache is 10% growth in Feedburner.

I think it’s vitally important for podcasters to also chart out their funnels, even for shows with nothing to sell. For example, Marketing Over Coffee right now doesn’t have a revenue model per se, at least in the sense of a widget for sale. But we do have conversion metrics we want to examine – blog comments, subscribers to the feed, etc. and rolling forward, we’re almost certainly going to put out a newsletter. We may even be able to measure our success by speaking gigs, etc., but unless you’re living in a CPM advertising world, eyeballs and ears don’t count for much.

The Student Loan Network measures the Financial Aid Podcast by both growth of the house list and loan volume – two very clear, revenue-generating sales metrics. Those count for a lot more than eyeballs and ears.

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