How Many Downloads Per Episode Should Your Podcast Have?

How Many Downloads Per Episode Should Your Podcast Have?

We’re going to have possibly the most asked question ever answered today. We’re going to talk about download numbers once and for all and definitely not the last time. But we’re going to talk about download numbers. What to expect and how to measure your show’s success.

Welcome. Welcome to another lovely episode of Uncommonly More. I am, in fact, your host, Stacey Harris, and I’m stupid excited about today’s episode because this is probably one of the most common questions I get. I think that the never-ending chase around download numbers is one of the least fun parts of podcasting. So today I want to just put some facts, some reality to this conversation. I’m talking about this over on the podcast newsroom as we gear up for November. I’m talking about the importance of comparing your show to your show.

And this episode is all about not that, but that is the lesson. Because what I’m going to do is I’m going to give you some numbers and I will link to the 3 pieces that I am going to mention in this show. Because I want you to go look at them. I want you to really, really take in some averages because there is a lot of talk mostly from people trying to sell you podcasting courses. Or on how podcasting is the only way to get results and it’s your, like, Staples style commercial style easy button to just fame and fortune. I can’t even say with laughing and not, it’s definitely not. First of all, I’ve yet to find a podcast that came with an easy button and I’ve been doing this for a while. And also, it’s really, really really, really really vague what download mean. Because here’s the deal, downloads are one part of your metric system. So we’re going to talk about what other ways I want you to be measuring your show, but I’m also going to share some numbers and some stats. And add some fact to this conversation. With links back to the sources and everything. So it’s not just me going, “No, it’s fine, you’re fine. We’re fine.” Although you are fine. It is fine and we are fine. I think these numbers will help you understand that. I hope, anyways.

So know right now, you’re going to want to go back into your podcast player. Click some links, head over to the show notes if you want to get them there. On the website, that’s cool, too. Wherever you want to get these numbers, I want you to go. I want you to go look at them. Before we dig into those numbers.

I want to let you know, we are going to be taking on 3.

Count them, 1,2,3 more podcasts before we close out the year. We are currently taking applications to fill those spots. If you want to start 2022, a whole lot less stressed about your podcast and you want to have a whole lot more fun with it next year, let’s have that conversation now. Like I said, we can only bring on 3 more clients before the end of the year. And really, really like 2 of those need to be in November. So if you are looking forward to working with us and you’ve been thinking about it, and we’ve been on your wish list, now is a really good time to get in because we’re having those conversations. So head over to Learn more about our podcast production services look like and book a conversation with me. It’s absolutely a no-strings-attached call. This is for us to talk about what the process could look like for you. What the benefits could be like for you, it’s for me to get a better feel for your show to make sure that we can be helpful to your production process and be helpful to your show. And if nothing else, we’ll have a real good time chatting. So head over to If for some reason, you are not the right fit or the timing isn’t right, I am happy to point you in a direction that might be more supportive. So, head over to

Let’s jump in with my most favorite question. How many downloads should my show be getting?

Here’s the deal, I don’t know. No one does. You know, I could- “should” is a stupid word. It’s just it’s stupid, stupid word. I don’t care how many downloads your show “should” be getting. I want you to be looking at what your goals are for your show and if your show is reaching those goals. For example, my biggest metrics for this show are not downloads. It’s calls booked. It’s conversations had. It’s replies to my emails. It’s sign-ups to the podcast newsroom.

Seriously, that’s what we’re looking for. That’s what I want to see. Downloads are great. They are often an indicator early of success of an episode, a traction with a topic, things like that. I absolutely use my download numbers for that but they do not tell me if my show is doing well or not. They do not tell me if my show is supporting my goals or not. Calls booked, opt-ins to the newsroom podcast, replies to emails, Instagram DMs.

I had somebody earlier this year DM me and say “I have been bingeing your show and you said it was time. And you’re right, it’s time. Let’s do this.” That’s how I know my show works. That’s how I know. It’s not downloads. So when you talk about how many you should have, I don’t want you to worry about that. I want you to look at what your show is actually doing for your business.

Now, if you still want to know how does my show measure up against the averages, then I want you to click the links in the show notes. The first one and full disclosure is an article from September of 2020. However, there will be another link later that shows you that these numbers are still really quite valuable.

So, head over to that link, but this article is based on an episode of the feed which is Libsyn’s podcast. Libsyn being a podcast host. Rob, who was one of the co-hosts of the Libsyn podcast and also the VP of podcaster relations gave some numbers around what was happening last September for podcasts who are on the Libsyn host. Not surprising, this is one of those shows. What I love is that Rob actually gave some stats from their library of shows based on episodes from that summer, summer of 2020 and the median number of downloads for a show. It’s like a 121 episode, 121 downloads for an episode. Yeah. I was quiet for a while because I want you to really sit with that. In 30 days, if you have more than 121 downloads, you’re doing better than half the shows on Libsyn. And again, I know this was a year ago, but these numbers are still very relevant.

I know that because if you look at the second link in the show notes, which is the Buzzsprout podcast stats link, which I encourage you to save. This is Buzzsprout, which is another podcast host, Libsyn competitor. They have this page on their website, all the time, global stats. It’s fantastic. It updates monthly and it breaks down a ton, a ton of information. One of which is the episode downloads in the first 7 days for their show. And the median, so, the half point on this in the first 7 days is 29. 29 downloads. It’s a 2-digit number: two, nine. If you get more than that, you’re doing better than half the shows. So that tells you that number we saw from Libsyn last summer over 30 days, still pretty on par because these are October 2021 numbers that I’m looking at. That’s what you’re going to see when you click over from the show notes. You can see this month’s or last month’s numbers. Yeah. The top 25% of shows, this is the 25% best shows.

Top 25%, right? 7 days, 87.

Yeah, 87, eight seven. Still a 2-digit number. We don’t hit a 3-digit number and still we talked until we start talking about the top 10% of shows. And that’s 308 downloads in 7 days. That puts you in the top 10% of shows. That’s crazy.

So I want you to let go of this idea that you have to be getting thousands or tens of thousands of downloads a show. It’s simply not true. It’s just not and I say that as somebody who has a show in the top 10%. Well, right, this is not about getting hundreds and thousands people of listening. It is however being made more and more clear that it’s much, much more valuable for you to compare your show against your show.

And again, we talked about this on the podcast newsroom this month, that episode is out now. Head over if you haven’t listened to the podcast newsroom show yet. Make sure you are subscribed to it, it’s a private feed. All you got to do is sign up, go to Get yourself access to the private feed, totally free. We talked about this there because it’s so so important.

You have to be comparing your show against your own show. Look at what your show did this month last year. Look at what your show did last month, 6 months ago. If you’ve been, like me podcasting for a while, one of my favorite things to do is look at my stats compared to year 1, year 2, year 3, year 4, year 5, year 6, year 7 and as of this month, year 8. That’s right, I have had this very show for 8 years. Do you want to know what I compare this show to? This show. Don’t care how well your show is doing. Love you. Unless I produced it, not all that invested. As long as it’s getting you the results you want to get in your business, I don’t care what the number is. Because the download number not wildly make or break, because there’s not actually tens of thousands of downloads happening.

In fact, I’m going to take these Buzzsprout numbers all the way to the top. The top 1% of shows, the crème de la crème, the best of the best. This is being unnecessarily dramatic but I’m excited about it. Are you ready for this? Are you expecting, take a second, first 7 days. Are you expecting a 6-digit number here. A hundred thousand? 50 thousand?10 thousand? 5 thousand. How about 3,974. Just under 4,000 downloads in the first 7 days puts you in the top 1% of every podcast out there. Yeah, top 1%. I will be honest with you, most of our clients are in the 5 or 10%. Seriously. No joke.

It’s not as big of a number as you might think.

And that’s why it’s important to compare your show against your show. Because what everybody else’s numbers are not as big as you think they are. So fact, fact, fact, use the fact.

The third thing I want to send you to is, which is a podcast recording tool. Put out an article September of this year, breaking down a ton of podcast statistics and trends and giving some good context for why they matter. You’ve got things like, who’s listening and where they’re listening and things like that, how they’re listening, how people find it. But what I love about this is they talk about how many listeners does the average podcast get and they say, the average podcast gets about 27 listens per episode. They don’t tell us how long of a span of time that is but they’re referencing the same numbers we’re seeing in the first 2 links that I mentioned. In fact, they say the top 1% of podcast have about 3200 downloads and episodes. That number is actually a little lower than what we saw last month from Buzzsprout, right? So, this is not crazy numbers.

What I love about this though, is they then talk about and then there’s the Joe Rogan experience, which has an audience upwards of 7 million for some episodes, which is cool, absolutely. But those outlier numbers where we talked about The Joe Rogan experience, which I try to talk about as little as possible but that’s just me. We’re talking about a different category of podcast than you are. And this, this piece is why I want to bring us back to comparing your show to your show. Because when we look at just below the section in the article for RiversideFM, which again is in the show notes, they talked about what are the most popular kind of podcasts.

Those are comedy, news, true crime and sports. And if you listen to this show and you care about what I’m talking about right now, it’s because you, my friend, do not fit in 1 of those 4 categories. Because your show is not built the way these shows are built. Some of the examples here are like comedy: Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, which is a great show, by the way; Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, which is also a really fun show. The news, we’re talking about TED Talks Daily. True crime or thing about serial: My Favorite Murder, In the Dark. For sports, they’re talking about, Pardon My Take and The Bill Simmons show.

You know what all of those shows have in common, that’s different than your show, they’re looking for sponsors. The revenue, the business model is ADS. It’s like TV. It’s what it is. It’s network TV, they’re selling ad breaks. That’s not what you’re trying to do with your show. So you don’t care if Joe Rogan has 7 million listeners in an episode. You don’t because you have different business models. You don’t need and quite frankly want 7 million people knocking down your door saying, “Can I hire you right now?” That’s not, that sounds overwhelming. I mean, I’d love to work with you right now. But if there were 7 million of you, I’d be stressed out.

So, when you look at the numbers of what’s happening in general, when you look at the numbers of what’s happening for some shows, make sure you’re also comparing what your business model is versus their business model. This is why we compare our show against our show and not our show against other people’s show, which is basically the soapbox point of this episode. That’s what I want you to be doing. It’s comparing your show to you, not anyone else and paying attention to those other metrics. Those things we talked about around conversations, traction with DMs and emails and things like that. Paying attention to sales that are coming in, opt-ins to your email list. Is the call to action being answered? If it is, then stop worrying about your download numbers, all right? Or at least worry about them differently. Maybe that’s the best I can ask for, okay, worry about them differently.

I want to remind you once more that we’re talking about things like this over on the podcast newsroom. We’re having conversations like this with our production clients. If you want to get access to one or both of those things, head over to Sign up for the private feed, the podcast newsroom. And of course, submit an application. We are going to be bringing in 3 more clients. 3 more podcasts to produce before the end of the year and I’m super, super excited to see who they are. I hope one of them is you so I’ll see you soon and we’ll talk next week.

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