Darknet Diaries stats and analytics for 2020

Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 31, 2020

Total downloads (measured by Megaphone and verified by Podtrac)


Downloads per day


Each spike you see is because and episode was released on that day. The blue is this year the purple is last year’s daily download stats.

So the first observation is that growth from last year hasn’t been all that strong. I blame the pandemic for this. A lot of my listeners listen on their commute or even at work. Working from home means people have less listening time as they are more busy with the family or finding other ways to entertain themselves. So once the lockdown started in March you see an actual decline in my numbers. Then they slowly came back through the year.

As a podcaster I’m happy with ANY kind of growth, even if just 1%. And so when you compare year over year you can see that every day I was outperforming from last year, even if it’s by just a smudge. Which makes me happy. Growth is good.

But all that said, the total downloads for the year was 15 million which is up from last year quite a lot which was 8 million. So while it doesn’t look like tremendous growth from last year it was almost doubled.

Downloads by month


Notable 2020 Marketing Moves

3/12 - Did an episode swap with the Malicious Life Podcast

3/20 - Made cover of Luckbox Magazine

3/25 - Written up in Forbes

4/23 - Won a Shorty Award for Best Podcast

5/18 - Did an episode swap with the Jordan Harbinger Show. Played his episode on 5/23 in my feed.

5/19 - Won a Webby Award

6/02 - Won the EU Security Award for best podcast.

6/4 - Was written up in Marie Claire

6/16 - Won a Communicator Award

7/17 - Written up in Smashing Magazine who’ve also Tweeted me in December too.

7/21-8/30 - Experimented with adswizz. I made 2 different 30 second promos for my show which were played in a whole bunch of different podcasts. Spent $4,000 on this campaign which resulted in 331,503 downloads. So that’s about 1 cent per download. Which seems pretty good! However when you try to look to see if this moved my daily stats at all, I just don’t see much of an increase. So I have no idea how many subscribers I got from that campaign. Below is the daily impressions of the ad.


8/01 - Made a deal to promote Wired’s new podcast in exchange for being in their (pretty big) newsletter.

10/1 - Megaphone became IAB certified. The only real change is they stopped counting plays from the iWatch which may have impacted some numbers

10/19 - Did a cross promotion with Pushkin Industries. I promoted one of their new podcasts while Revisionists History promoted my podcast.

12/15 - Listed in Discover Pods as one of the Best Podcasts in 2020

Was a guest on over a dozen other podcasts throughout 2020.

Marketing Summary

While that’s a LOT of marketing for one year, I don’t see any of it really moving the needle much. I’m not sure why that is. The biggest ones that should have had visible impacts would be the Malicious Life promo swap, Jordan Harbinger Promo swap, Wired promo swap, Pushkin promo swap, and the $4,000 adswizz campaign. But none of these really saw a noticeable spike, more like a low swell in numbers. Now perhaps these did have significant results but they were just drowned in the noise. It’s very hard to see how much of an impact any of these made. For the record I wholy believe that doing promo swaps is a great way to promote a show and encourage other people to do this to grow, it’s just this was a weird year.

The adswizz campaign was the only paid advertising I did for 2020.

User Agent/App

Spotify 4,251,615 (+280.8%) 28%
AppleCoreMedia 2,251,700 (+7.4%) 15%
Apple Podcasts 1,855,635 (+399.3%) 12%
Google Podcasts on Android 1,188,320 (+139.9%) 8%
Pocket Casts 906,032 (+26.2%) 6%
Podcast Addict 663,168 (+63.5%) 4%
Chrome 591,625 (+79.9%) 4%
Overcast 513,012 (+41.5%) 3%
Castbox 482,119 (-12.7%) 3%


United States 6,946,099 46%
United Kingdom 1,395,507 11%
Australia 1,160,493 8%
Canada 809,226 5%
Germany 787,748 5%
Sweden 507,032 3%
Netherlands 455,205 3%
Norway 324,810 2%
India 258,175 2%

Top Episodes of 2020

59: The Courthouse410,654 Feb 18, 2020
58: OxyMonster404,536 Feb 4, 2020
57: MS08-067393,900 Jan 21, 2020
71: FDFF355,425 Aug 4, 2020
68: Triton345,283 Jun 23, 2020
65: PSYOP344,575 May 12, 2020
64: The Athens Shadow Games344,038 Apr 28, 2020
61: Samy343,305 Mar 17, 2020
60: dawgyg342,347 Mar 3, 2020
69: Human Hacker341,417 Jul 7, 2020

Top Episode of All Time

45: XBox Underground (Part 1) 452901 2 20-Aug-19
53: Shadow Brokers 434066 2 10-Dec-19
54: NotPetya 416274 2 24-Dec-19
59: The Courthouse 410806 2 18-Feb-20
47: Project Raven 404897 2 17-Sep-19
58: OxyMonster 404720 2 4-Feb-20
1: The Phreaky World of PBX Hacking 404711 2 1-Sep-17
46: XBox Underground (Part 2) 397479 2 3-Sep-19
57: MS08-067 394053 2 21-Jan-20
50: Operation Glowing Symphony 391155 2 30-Oct-19

End of year podcast app stats

Podcast Addict:


Apple Podcasts:

Apple Podcasts ranking in the Technology category (for the US).

source: chartable.com

Pocket Casts:

Pocket Casts reports that Darknet Diaries was the 39th most popular podcast of 2020 for Pocket Casts.


Spotify says the show has 340,779 listeners and 171,724 followers.

My Spotify 2020 wrapup shocked me with this:


Website Analytics

I no longer get accurate website stats. In August I took out the Google Analytics javascript code because I didn’t want any js trackers on my site. And I lost visibility to a lot of analytics from that.

Social Media end of year stats

Twitter (Jack): 51.1k followers
Twitter (Darknet Diaries): 45.2k followers
Instagram: 22.7k followers
Facebook (Darknet Diaries): 23k followers
Linked In (Jack): 3,900 connections
Subreddit members: 13.9k
Discord members: 7,247
YouTube subs: 16.1k

Previous stats from 2018.

Previous stats from 2019.

It might also be interesting to note that I did some math and estimate I’ve spent 3,000 - 4,000 hours making this podcast so far. If it takes 10,000 hours to obtain mastery I’ve got a ways to go still and can’t wait to see what comes next for me.

Plans/goals for 2021:

  • Give Patreon members more bonus episodes. 2020 was a real struggle to just maintain the main feed. It’s just really hard to make more than 2 episodes a month.
  • If I can get ahead with the podcast I’d like to write a book or start a second podcast.
  • Will experiment with trying all of the paid promotions in the various podcast apps and will make a YouTube video to compare them all and see how they performed.
  • I am trying to learn how to make ambient music now. The goal is to have a full episode scored with original music by me someday using guitar and synths.
  • Planning on making more YouTube videos about hacking stories too.
  • I feel like the show’s size is possibly pushing its potential and so I’m only expecting a little growth next year. The main way to grow the audience is always to deliver great content, which will of course be the focus in 2021. I’m convinced that this is the most effective growth strategy at my stage. Keep in mind, I (Jack) make the show because I love hearing this podcast and all the hacking stories. So I’m just really honored that I can get paid for making something I like hearing. And the gratitude people express about the show always gives me fuel to keep going. I love surprising, delighting, and teaching listeners.
  • Oh yeah, will be adding a pretty cool easter egg on the website soon!

Happy 2021, the best is yet to come.