We Asked Podcast Listeners Why They Stopped Listening (And They Didn’t Hold Back)

By Jeremy Enns

Even small shows with just a few hundred (or few dozen) downloads an episode have usually been listened to—at one point or another—by thousands of people.

A small number of those people are your regular listeners and superfans.

A larger number are casual listeners and samplers, people who don’t listen to every episode, but rather based on their interest in a specific episode topic or guest.

And then there are the people who listened to one episode or less… and never came back.

While the data is hard to measure, chances are, less than 5% of the people who are both aware of your show and interested in your topic are regular listeners.

Which begs two questions:

1. Why aren’t they listening?
2. Is there anything you can do to change that?

To get to the bottom of this frustrating phenomenon, we ran a survey to our larger audience to find out—in their own words—what kept them listening more regularly… or at all.

The good news?

They didn’t hold back.

And in this episode, we break down their feedback, which—while aimed at our show—likely applies to your show as well.

Listen in Apple | Spotify | Everywhere Else

Topics Covered

00:00 Intro
00:49 9k email subscribers… 350 downloads
02:41 How listeners choose what content to engagement
04:50 The role of ‘Jobs to Be Done’ in podcasting
11:32 An experiment to discover why our audiences are tuning us out
15:30 Understanding your Total Addressable Market
18:32 Strategies for retaining podcast listeners
21:24 Earning the right to long term listeners
26:28 Breaking down our casual listeners repsonse data
29:01 The challenges of creating career-adjacent content
30:16 Creative ideas to engage more listeners
33:36 What listeners like about our titles and descriptions
37:13 Using feedback to guide your content strategy
41:50 Why non-listeners choose not to listen
44:06 How to break through to non-listeners
49:43 How we’re incorporating this feedback


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