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Measuring our podcast and blogging success Podcasts

I thought I was all set to write a post about tracking our podcast feed, the tools we use to do that and how we know it’s being effective.

It turns out that isn’t so easy.

The tool we’ve been using to track all our feeds (podcast, blog, RIT in the news placements, and RIT news releases) is our web statistics. While it does give us a look at trends over time, it doesn’t give us the specifics.

We can see how many people hit the RSS feed in a given month (or day or hour), but not how many are subscribers, how often they listen, or which stories or blog posts they’re reading from their subscription.

For the podcast, for instance, it looks like this:

  • July: 569
  • August: 1969
  • September: 5450
  • October (so far): 7044

We can also look at which episodes of the podcast are the most popular. Not surprisingly, older episodes (which have been available for a longer period of time) have higher downloads. Here’s the top 11.

  1. Dateline:RIT 8/31 – 278
  2. Bob Manning video cast – 262
  3. Dateline:RIT 9/14 – 194
  4. Ask Al – 178
  5. Dateline:RIT 9/28 – 150
  6. Dateline:RIT 10/12 – 126
  7. Coaches Corner 10/10 – 125
  8. Saunders Announcement – 119
  9. Coaches Corner (undated) – 86
  10. Coaches Corner 10/17 – 85
  11. Coaches Corner 10/24 – 43

What this still doesn’t tell us is how many people are subscribed to the podcast feed. How do we find that out?

From what I’ve been reading, you end up having to use a tool/service like FeedBurner to track that data. This means, though, that instead of just having our feed directly out there, we have to route it through them. So these would be the feeds to The Tiger Beat Blog and to the RIT University News podcast.

Or something like that. More on that another time.

  1. Andrew
    Oct 27

    Im not sure if this solves your exact problem but, you might want to check out AWStats: http://awstats.sourceforge.net/ http://www.boingboing.net/stats/ is an example of the output.
    Second, there might be a way to edit your RSS feed so it will give you some more data. I noticed that Slashdot's RSS links in my livebookmark looks like this: http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/42037141/article.pl but when I go to the link it shows up in the addressbar as http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/10/26/2149239&from=rss I suppose that could give you some data as to who visits the site from the RSS vs who found it directly/linked. Im not a RSS expert so, im not sure, but I think it could be a start.
    Third, Slashdots link to the article on the site is: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/06/10/26/2149239.shtml which is different then the above.
    So, by using the different linking methods you can tell different information about each type of visit.
    Finally, I think you should be able to use the refferal (HTTP 1.1 Referer; Section 14.36) information to let you know where people came from before visiting the page/podcast.

    I hope some of that made sense and helps.

  2. Mike Saffran
    Oct 27

    Here's a new podcast tracking service about which I recently learned: PodGarden.com's PodTractor.

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    The Tiger Beat takes you behind the scenes with the members of RIT University News—the news and public relations division of Rochester Institute of Technology. Get the “story behind the story” and an insider’s look at who we are and what we do to publicize RIT news.
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