How Many Podcast Downloads is a Good Number (and Other Stats You Need to Know)

3,974. 

I won’t waste your time – you want to know what a ‘good’ number of podcast downloads is? The short answer is just over four thousand.

But the long answer will fill you with far more confidence, and give you the knowledge to put your podcast where it needs to be in order to hit that magical 3,974 downloads in your episode’s first week.

“What does ‘good’ actually mean?!”

What I didn’t tell you up front is that 3,974 isn’t just good… it’s the top 1% of all podcasts on Buzzsprout! That’s stellar, prolific, superlative, and any other adjective you’d use to describe the 1% of the podcast world.

Our metrics for online success have been skewed somewhat by the likes of MrBeast and Pewdiepie, whose YouTube videos hit their millions in just a few hours. So let’s say your goals are a little less stratospheric, and you want to hit the top 25%. You’d only need 87 downloads in 7 days, and to make it past the top 50% – the median podcast – it’s just 29…

If you can get an entire classroom, your whole office, or perhaps your extended family to listen to your episode in a week, then you’re already doing better than the average podcast! ‘Good’ doesn’t seem so far off now, right?

“Is my podcast too long?”

There’s no right or wrong length to a podcast, it’s like asking how long is a piece of string, but sometimes it’s handy to see how long everyone else’s string is to know if you’re at least in the right ballpark. (Please leave your crude double entendres at the door.)

Only 18% of episodes take the runtime towards feature length with a duration of over 60 minutes – again, that doesn’t make it a wrong length for a podcast, but be wary that it’s on the upper end. 

The most common episode lengths are between 20-40 mins, followed by 40 mins to an hour. It seems to be quite the sweet spot, given that the majority of podcasts fit within these two categories. 

“How often should I release?”

Consistency is key. Make your podcast part of your listeners’ routines, like the TV series that watchers would come back to before the binge watching age of Netflix. But how often should you keep people coming back to you?

An overwhelming majority of podcasts release either weekly or fortnightly – 81% of podcasts release either every 3-7 days or every 8-14 days. One could speculate as to why: could it be the perfect middle ground, walking the fine line between fatigue from an oversaturated onslaught of episodes or releases tending too far towards sparsity? Either way, whether you follow the majority or whether your format suits daily releases, the same focus on consistently showing up for your audience rings equally true.

“Where are people listening?”

It can be so hard keeping track of all the places people like to listen to podcasts, with the Top 10 podcast apps covering just 75% of downloads – the format is far from a monopoly.

Needless to say that Spotify and Apple Podcasts have been fighting for the top two spots, a battle which currently sees Spotify claiming top spot by the shyest of margins: 31.2% of listeners over Apple Podcasts’ 31.1%.

Perhaps more interestingly though, is the devices people listen on. A staggering 88% of listeners do so on mobile, and 64.1% of devices used are iPhones. Whether commuting in the car or on public transport, on a run, a bike ride, or just sitting in the park, the chances are that your listeners are on the go!

Round-Up

The measure of a ‘good’ podcast is a set of moving goalposts, and as of right now (October 2021) the goalposts are far more open than they ever have been! Thankfully you can keep your finger on the pulse with these stats, as hosting platform Buzzsprout updates its Global Stats page every month.

Knowledge is power, and now you’ve got the knowledge to aim your podcast at the right audiences, in the right places, with the right content.

Written by Dan Johnston