New Google Podcasts Manager Tracks Smart Speaker Listens and Duration
Google has launched a new dashboard for podcasters measuring elements like how long people are listening and what they are using to listen to the show. Google Podcasts Manager and its insights are part of Google’s recent efforts to boost awareness and use of its podcast network in the face of better-established competitors.
The dashboard includes a mix of management and analytics tools for podcast producers. Firstly, there’s a verification system that checks and confirms that the podcast is available through Google Podcasts. Once verified, podcast producers can examine how their show is performing overall and by individual episodes. How long people listen, when they turn it on and off, and related numbers are all available. The raw data can also be pulled and used in other analytics programs if so desired.
What device people use to listen to a podcast is also tracked by the tool. The anonymized data breaks down by percentage where people are listening, whether it’s a phone, computer, tablet, or smart speaker. For example, 90% of Voicebot Podcast listeners are using their phones, 7% are using a smart speaker, and 3% are using desktop computers to listen.
“This data can help podcasters better understand and respond to changing listening behavior,” Google explained in a blog post announcing the new product. “We’ll continue to build on these features to help audio publishers grow sustainable businesses, connect with listeners and create podcasts people love.”
Google wants to build up its podcast listener base, both for its own sake and because of how podcasts fit into its larger device ecosystem. People listening to podcasts through Google are probably more likely to own Google Assistant-powered smart home devices. The company has been rolling out new features for its podcast platform over the last year or so, notably beginning to transcribe episodes last March and integrating podcast episodes into search results on its website and through Google Assistant in August. Google is also working with the publishers behind podcasts to help lead potential listeners to where they can listen.
There’s stiff competition for Google Podcasts before they’ll be a default podcast platform. Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and other services are all doing what they can to attract and keep people listening to podcasts through their products. As an example, Google Podcasts accounts for only 1.4% of listens to the Voicebot Podcast. Still, if the data in the dashboard can help producers draw and keep new listeners, Google Podcasts may be a crucial part of podcast production. The opportunity for Google is greater than ever right now, as people are listening to and creating more podcasts and audio content than ever because of the current COVID-19 health crisis.