How do the charts work? What does my ranking mean?

Each podcast player has its own way of determining charts, and while none have revealed their exact algorithm, we can dive into what we know about them.

Apple Podcasts:

To quote James Cridland from Podnews in a great article about podcast stats:

While Apple do not publish the way they compile the Apple Podcast charts, they are generally understood to be based on recent subscriptionsAn appearance on the Apple Podcast charts reflects a podcast’s ability to attract a larger number of new subscriptions to their podcast over recent days. It is not related to downloads.

You can appear very highly on the Apple Podcast charts by planning all activity around your podcast release on one specific day, and encouraging as many subscriptions on that one day as possible.

We'd add that while the show-level charts are based on recent subscriptions, the episode charts seem to be based on downloads and/or listens. That is, episodes that rank highly on, for example, the US podcast episode chart seem to really be the most popular episodes.

Spotify

Spotify's charts seem directly related to listens/popularity. Spotify doesn't currently offer episode-level charts.

Stitcher

Stitcher offers 3 different show-level charts, updated once per week:

  • Top shows: the most popular shows on Stitcher
  • Top movers: podcasts with recent momentum / gain in listeners
  • Most shared: podcasts that have been shared the most in the previous week
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