Addie Nascimento, IT Specialist in the Office of Digital and Design Innovation offers some more valuable advice for all those working on podcasting projects.
[Featured image: RFA’s iTunes “OMG! Meiyu” promo can be seen right away.]
What can be learned about the success of podcasts by using analytics?
“Right now our analytics is in flux. We’re restructuring. We can collect numbers in a couple of places, iTunes and our media management system, the Platform. The numbers out of the Platform allow us to monitor the podcast feed itself, independent of iTunes but inclusive of it. The numbers are not very clean but they serve as a good barometer for people to reference. We also have reporting from iTunes. This will tell us who is browsing, downloading, subscribing and streaming. This includes visitors from the iTunes desktop client, the iPhone, iPad and iPod. We’ve been using the iTunes numbers more than the Platform, because they are cleaner, and the numbers tell interesting stories. For example, Tibetan feeds have incredibly low subscription numbers compared to their download and stream numbers. This is most likely due to internet censorship and a sense of security.”
Has this helped you better target your audience?
“By looking at the visitor behavior, it helps us understand what regions have access to what outlets. Long gone are the days where people come to you and come to your website. Now we have to take our content to where they are. If they’re on Facebook, then we’re going to be on Facebook. If they’re on Twitter, then we’re going to be on Twitter. If the audience is on another foreign social media platform, then that is where we will be. Our Chinese content has been very successful in China because of Apple’s expansion there.”
What advice would you give to people trying to produce iTunes podcast content for other regions?
“The process is pretty much the same, but keep Tibet in mind. In Tibet, for example, in the iTunes store, they have a high number of downloads and streams, but very low numbers of subscriptions. This is likely due to censorship, due to a connection problem, or due to a general fear of subscribing by entering an email address to log in.
Another interesting trend is that people want to download so that they can hear [the podcast] again and practice, in the case of Learning English content. Their numbers are very high for downloads. If you see high downloads but no subscriptions, take no offense. There’s probably a reason for it. In Learning English, a high number of downloads may simply be because they want to keep the files to refer to them again for practice. So whenever you do something and want to look at analytics, you have to consider the circumstances or restrictions of your audience and how they’re connecting with those devices.
If someone would want to reach out to Somalia to do the same thing as we’re doing in China, they would first want to think about how the audience is connected and then cater content toward that. Content producers also need to have good titles and good descriptions so that will be picked up in search engines.”
Do you have advice for advertising?
“We are developing a list of recommendations podcast producers can use to increase their viewership:
1.) Advertise the podcasts on-air in the broadcast programs.
2.) Advertise the podcast in media files of the feed.
3.) Cross promote, put ads on the files of other programs.
4.) Promote your podcast on social media.
5.) Add iTunes subscription links to the VOA website, blogs, social media sites, etc.
6.) Make certain that to use the names and words the audience would look for in the titles, descriptions & keywords.
7.) Add unique descriptions to the individual files when possible.
8.) Solicit feedback from the audience – Was this easy? Useful? Are you blocked? Can you find us?
9.) Keep an eye on the comments to the podcasts listed in iTunes, this will let us know if there is a problem and if the audience is happy.
10.) Name the files consistently and be consistent with metadata!!”
“You also need to have good graphics that are well branded, because people will make an association the graphic of who you are with what the content is focusing on. For branding, you should ask yourself ‘What do people associate with me?’. Maybe it is the host. Maybe it is the programming. Maybe it is the agency name. Give prominence for how they know you because that will be how they look for you. Your titles and descriptions should be really catchy. They don’t need to be misleading, but you just need to make it interesting so that people stop what they’re doing to check it out.”
(Thank you to Addie Nascimento for her contribution to this post.)
(The foregoing commentary does not constitute endorsement by the US Government, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, VOA, MBN, OCB, RFA, or RFE/RL of the information products or services discussed.)