Good question. You will need to see a reward for your time, effort and resources.
Downloads are the most obvious metric and will give you an idea of the size of your audience.
But you need to tread carefully. A download does not necessarily equal a listen - your content could remain unheard even if it is downloaded.
Also, people could download the same podcast to multiple devices.
So, instead of looking at total downloads, opt for using unique downloads as this refines the numbers and removes multiple downloads from the same user.
Looking at downloads per episode will help you spot fluctuations and identify the content your listeners want.
Like most forms of marketing, having a strong call to action for your podcasts is a brilliant way of measuring your success.
Perhaps you can push people to download an eBook or sign up for a newsletter from your podcast? This can give you some measurable results.
Subscriptions are another handy measurement. It measures the number of people subscribing to your podcast and who get notified when a new episode is available. When people subscribe to your podcast, it tells you they want to hear more from you, and they don’t want to miss an episode.
If you are using email marketing software to promote your podcast, open and click rates and the numbers of unsubscribes will indicate the appeal of your audio content.
Similarly, keep an eye on social mentions. If people like your podcast, they will talk about it on social media. And you will be able to use your social media listening tools to see who is discussing your podcast and what they are saying about it.
Likes, shares and retweets are helpful measurements, and the comments can give you an understanding of what is resonating with your audience.
Many organisations create a dedicated landing page for their podcasts. It enables you to measure the hits and engagement on the page and the number of people who go from it and subscribe to the podcast.
But, the most salient factor with these measurements is ensuring you set realistic goals.
If your podcast is about a niche subject in your industry, it could be tricky to attract large numbers of listeners. Your unique downloads may not look that impressive.
But a small number of dedicated listeners could be a real business win and show more buying intent than a more general podcast with a bigger audience.