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How to choose a podcast platform

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This month's consultant: Dan Page

Dan is founder and CEO of Podspike and has made it his mission to give podcasters access to easy, affordable and effective marketing services.

Lena Nozizwe, host of Lena Nozizwe Reporting: Tupac’s Murder Was His Case asks:

How much does it matter which platform you promote? For example, Podbean v Apple.

Dan says:

This is a really interesting question, and comes down to a couple of key factors:

  1. Where your audience prefers to listen.
  2. Where you want to build your profile.

1. Where does your audience prefer to listen?

First up, not all listeners have iPhones and not all listeners use Apple Podcasts. In fact, according to a study from Edison Research, US ‘Super Listeners’ (those who listen to five or more hours a week) prefer Spotify and YouTube to Apple Podcasts. And it’s a similar story in the UK, with Ofcom data showing that, in general, Spotify and BBC Sounds are used more than Apple Podcasts.

Slide from Edison Research Super Listeners 2021 report

But once you consider other factors, such as age, this can change, with younger audiences preferring Spotify and YouTube and older audiences more split across platforms including Apple Podcasts. And a huge 35% of Edison’s Super Listeners prefer a platform that isn’t any of these ‘big three’. The data here is less clear, but apps such as Stitcher and Podcast Guru that offer more powerful features to podcast addicts are likely to play a role.

Finally, listeners across US, Europe, Asia and Africa who use ‘smart feature’ phones (think a cross between an old-style Nokia and a modern smartphone) are unlikely or unwilling to access the ‘normal’ podcast apps and will use services such as PodLP to listen to their favourite shows.

Hopefully it’s now clear that your podcast audience aren’t all necessarily listening in the same place – and are potentially fragmented across several different platforms.

So when it comes to reaching your audience, how much does it matter if you promote one platform over another?

  • If your audience has a defined age range or listening habits, then the answer is: quite a lot.
  • But if your audience is fairly varied, it might make sense to target a platform your current audience isn’t using in order to reach new listeners.


2. Where you want to build your profile

Although different platforms will measure the popularity of your podcast in different ways, they will all broadly give greater reward to shows with more listens and subscribers. Apple do this using a New & Noteworthy section, as well as their famous charts, and Goodpods have indie-only charts that rewards indie shows whose fans listen via the app.

And while a listener on Apple Podcasts will look the same to your podcast hosting platform as a listener on Goodpods (and are recorded centrally there), subscribes (or follows) are only recorded on the platform where the subscribe or follow takes place.

So if half your new listens and subscribes are through Podbean, and the other half are through Apple Podcasts, then while Podbean will record all the downloads, Apple are only taking into account half of your listeners when it comes to working out your Apple Podcasts chart position.

So when it comes to growing your profile, how much does it matter if you promote one platform one another? In short, a lot.

  • If you want to get into the charts for Goodpods, then send all your listeners to Goodpods. If you want to do the same with Apple, then send all your listeners to Apple Podcasts.
  • But don’t forget that while Apple Podcasts may have more kudos, it will have a lot more competition for its charts than Goodpods – meaning that if you’re an indie podcaster looking for some profile, it’s worth picking the platform that is most likely to give you the best exposure.
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