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How do YouTube stats work for podcasters?

· By James Cridland · 2.8 minutes to read

Now that YouTube imports RSS feeds, you might be wondering about statistics for those plays. Here, we answer your questions.

Do my YouTube stats appear in my podcast host’s total numbers?


I’m using my RSS feed to get my podcast into YouTube. Do plays on YouTube appear in my podcast host’s total numbers?


Why are my YouTube stats not showing up in my podcast host’s total numbers?

YouTube uses your RSS feed to take one copy of the audio of each episode into YouTube’s systems.

From there, every play comes from YouTube’s systems, and your podcast hosting company doesn’t know when they’re played: only YouTube does.

This is different to other podcast platforms, where the listener will download the audio directly from your podcast host (and the podcast host can therefore keep the stats for you).

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Why can’t YouTube fix it so that the stats appear in my podcast host?

YouTube has an analytics API and a reporting API which your podcast hosting company could use to get data about the total number of plays.

That’s a fair bit of coding, and would require you to log into YouTube and associate your account; but these figures wouldn’t be measuring the same thing.

YouTube measures views, not downloads, and the way it measures audience figures is very different to the way podcasting works. You can’t simply add YouTube numbers to everything else your podcast host counts.

As a result, it’s unlikely that most podcast hosts will incorporate YouTube’s numbers.

Some have, though. Libsyn has a separate YouTube section. Note that it’s separate; and not added to your total numbers, because it measures a different thing.

How do I see my YouTube stats for my podcast?

You need to go to YouTube Studio. There are apps for iOS and Android as well.

Because YouTube is a closed platform, unlike podcasting in general, you’ll find a lot of data there. Particularly, you’ll see average durations, audience retention graphs, and a lot more data - including live listener counts.

Can you give me some examples of interesting data from YouTube?

In YouTube Studio’s content list, hover over an episode and click the analytics icon. It’ll show very detailed data for that specific episode.

In the “reach” tab, it’ll show how people found that show: including “content suggesting this video”, other YouTube videos that the algorithm thought was close enough to your content to recommend it. Those channels might be good to reach out to for more collaboration.

In the “engagement” tab, “audience retention” shows whether audiences stick with your podcast, or disappear quickly after starting to listen. You might spot a feature that your audience doesn’t like, for example: or get some sense of whether your show is too long.

In “advanced mode” there’s even more data. We like looking at the “YouTube Product” view, which shows how many views your podcast is getting on the main YouTube video app, and on the YouTube Music audio app.

Are there any caveats here?

One small caveat. Confusingly, the YouTube Music app does play podcast audio directly via RSS feeds, and those stats will be showing up in your podcast host, probably marked as an unknown player.

The UX isn’t ideal; but will help you, or your listener, enjoy your podcast via RSS in the YouTube Music app.

The YouTube Music app is preinstalled on most new Android phones.

What else can you tell me about podcast stats?

Glad you asked. We’ve a long article about podcast stats and how they work.

James CridlandJames Cridland is the Editor of Podnews, a keynote speaker and consultant. He wrote his first podcast RSS feed in January 2005; and also launched the first live radio streaming app for mobile phones in the same year. He's worked in the audio industry since 1989.

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