March 5, 2024

Beyond Downloads: How to Measure Success in Health Podcasting

The Three 'R's of Podcasting

As someone deeply involved in the world of podcasts, I’m in daily contact with fellow podcasters, aspiring podcasters, and organizations and brands that want to reach people through podcasts. They all want to know the best way to judge if their podcasts or ads are truly hitting the mark.

And, like them, you’ve probably heard a lot about measuring success by how many downloads an episode gets. Joe Rogan’s millions of listeners sets a high bar for what ‘success’ in podcasting looks like, but, thankfully, we’re not all Joe Rogan!

But here’s the thing: counting downloads doesn’t really tell us much about how engaged listeners are or how valuable the content is to them. In a piece I wrote on LinkedIn, I talk about a better way to evaluate success of reaching audiences with audio-first content.

I introduced what I call the ‘Three R’s of Podcasting’: Relevance, Relatability, and Resonance.

1) Relevance (aka “contextual relevance”): Ensuring the content aligns with the immediate interests, needs, or background of the audience.

2) Relatability: Creating a personal connection with the audience, especially through shared experiences, emotions, or characteristics.

3) Resonance: Making the message meaningful and memorable to the target audience, encouraging them to share and act upon it.

While these attributes may not be as clear as a graph of downloads that goes up and to the right, they are important criteria to use to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of podcasting, podcast advertising, and podcast sponsorship.

And, these three factors are key to driving the fourth R: Return on Investment (ROI).

In short, audio-first content contrasts sharply with the volume-driven tactics used in TV, print and radio content and advertising. Podcasts offer highly tailored, efficient, and effective engagement with relevant audiences.

Here are some questions to ask to evaluate whether your podcast or audio advertising is helping to achieve your objectives:


Is there alignment of content with the specific context in which the audience is engaged?

Is the message appropriate for the situation, environment, or timing in which they are experiencing the content?


Does the content create a personal connection with the relevant audience?

Does it make them feel that they can identify with it on a personal level?

Does it reach them in the places where they spend their time?

(Hint: podcasts are great for this since they don’t require active attention to their screens!)


Is the message meaningful to its target audience?

Is it memorable, and will they share it with others?

And, will it empower them to take action?


As we navigate the evolving landscape of health communication, podcasts provide a unique opportunity to engage deeply and personally, wherever and whenever our audience chooses to listen.

I invite you to read the full article on LinkedIn for a deeper dive into how we can better serve audiences and measure the true impact of work in the health podcasting space.

Interested in exploring more about crafting impactful audio content? Let’s connect on LinkedIn and continue the conversation.

~ Dan Kendall, Founder, Mission Based Media and Health Podcast Network

PS – I posted a follow-up article on the topic of the ‘Three R’s. Click here if you’d like to read it.

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