Podcasts: How Many Listeners?

People are debating on how many people actually listen to podcasts.

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Someone claims that the Forrester Research is wrong, and that many people actually listen to podcasts.

Others counter that just because an mp3 file is downloaded, it isn't actually being listened to.

Fortunately, there is a way to test this. Perhaps podcasters can make 3 versions of each podcast episode:

1. MP3 link that appears in the RSS feed (enclosure custom field in your WordPress entry).
2. MP3 link that appears in the post, but not in the enclosure field.
3. Streaming audio flash player.

In number three, we can fairly assume that those who click on the flash player are actually listening to the podcast. You can compare the number of clicks versus the data transferred to see if, on the average, people use the flash player to listen to your entire episode, or just the first minute.

You can also check the unique IP addresses, especially if your streamed audio file is stored in another server.

The Viloria.com Pinoy Podcast, for example, has about 130 rss feed subscribers. The streamed mp3 episodes, however, have been played an average of 750 times over a three month period.

Assuming each person played the streamed version thrice, that's an average of 250 unique listeners per episode, although they all don't listen to it during the same month.

It would be great if podcasters would carefully track their downloads (via rss feed, direct download link, or via a streaming audio flash player).

[ First posted on 04/08/2006 by Manuel Viloria ]

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