The Download on Podcasts is a regular feature sponsored by PodcastOne.
One of the most interesting, revealing, and uplifting results of The Infinite Dial consumer survey revealed last week by Edison Research and Triton Digital is the podcast completion metric. To the surprise of many in the industry, 40% of listeners stick through entire podcast episodes, and another 45% listen to “most” of their shows. So, 85% of podcast listeners hear pre-roll and mid-roll advertisements (if they don’t skip through them), and nearly half of those people could hear a post-roll too.
Obviously good news for the ad-driven podcast economy. Also, it must be mentioned, good for Edison/Triton to ask the question, cutting through a bit of black-box mystery which shrouds consumption data across podcast networks.
Individual podcast platforms, hosts, and podcatch apps do collect detailed analytics of how people listen. That’s fine for network-specific storytelling to advertisers, but having network-agnostic data across the U.S. listening population brings authority to the information like nothing else.
Specific network measurement deepen the story of completion rates, resulting in a fuller picture of how podcast producers can encourage listeners to stick with the program. In this week’s edition of Hot Pod, Nick Quah’s newsletter, there are pointers to two networks which emphasize that podcast length is an important predictor of how sticky the shows are.
First, Nicholas DePrey, Analytics Manager at NPR, furnished a graphic illustrating how long length encourages drop-off:
Second, an on-demand audio app called th60db corroborated that reality from its measurements:
Stickiness and length have been tied together in Steve Goldstein’s mind since he founded Amplifi Media. IN a RAIN News guest column from 2015, Goldstein gathers other datasets: “Recent analysis of listening habits from the NPR One app reveals that a mere 18 words into a segment, people are deciding whether they will continue listening. Another recent and equally compelling set of data from one of the podcast aggregators, shows an attrition rate of 40% in the first 7 minutes. Longer podcasts should expect that 2/3rds of the audience is gone sometime between 20 and 60 minutes.”
Of course, some shows thrive in long form, with their loyal fans probably wishing they were longer. That level of success is usually hard-won. Steve Goldstein’s recommendation: “In a time-starved world, the empirical evidence is overwhelming; the longer the podcast, the less chance there is for completion.”