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Twitter Followers vs Podcast Listeners

May 28, 2011

I am heading back from BlogWorld NY 2011 - It was a great show (sans the last keynote).  


One of the things that stuck with me from the show was a side conversation I was in about the importance of growing your twitter followers as a podcaster and needing to put more efforts into that goal.  I thought that stance was wrong.  But I did hear it repeated over and over about the importance in social media that Twitter had and I as a podcaster needed to put more efforts into growing my twitter followers.  


Luckily I am in a position where I can actually look at the numbers of lots of shows and see what the correlation is between Followers vs Listeners.  I looked specifically at a dozen key shows and compared the number of downloads they get per episode (average of last 3 episodes at least 30 days old) vs the number of Twitter followers they had.  


Here is my conclusion after looking at the data - the number of Twitter Followers has almost no relevance on the number of downloads per episode you will get.  That's right Twitter Followers do not carry over into listeners.  And one might even be able to argue if you spend too much time growing your twitter base your show will suffer and you will hurt your download numbers.


Some will say that is BS and Twitter is vital to your shows growth.  However the numbers do not bear that out.  Let me break down exactly what I found. 


For 3 shows with over 150,000 downloads per episode - One had over 400,000 followers,  One had 200,000 followers, and one had 2,971 followers.  


For 3 shows with between 100,000 and 150,000 downloads per episode - One had over 1.75 Million followers,  One had over 1.4 Million followers, and one had 48,000 followers.  


For 3 shows with between 20,000 and 80,000 downloads per episode - One had 146,000 followers, One had 3,853 followers and one did not even have a twitter account. 


For the 3 remaining shows.  One had 7,996 downloads per episode with 3,681 followers.  One had 3,421 downloads per episode vs 35,467 followers and the last one had just 585 downloads per episode vs 33,000 followers. 


No matter how you slice the numbers one thing is clear - Twitter Followers do NOT equal Listeners.  The two most popular producers on Twitter had a greater than 10 to 1 ratio of Followers vs Listeners.  Yet one of the top 3 most downloaded in this group had a 100 to 1 ratio of Listeners to Followers.  And the worst of the group had over 50 Followers for each listener.  


I am not saying to quit twitter or stop tweeting - just that as a podcaster it is all about the download and it is safe to say you can stop sweating about the number of followers you have and go back to worrying about putting out good content. 


Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or shot and email to rob AT