One of the things podcasters talk about online is growing podcast listeners and followers. Which is understandable – after all, if a podcast gets published in a forest and no-one listens, is it even a podcast (to paraphrase a well-known meme)?
There are lots of awesome resources about growing your podcast already, so I’m not going to focus on that today. Instead, I want to share a couple of tips to help you optimize and maximize your podcast listeners and followers.
Research Data for Podcast Listeners and Their Preferred Apps
One of the simplest things to do is look at what apps are being used most by podcast listeners – both in general, and for your own specific listeners.
After all, if the most popular podcast app is Spotify, for example, and you’re driving people to Google Podcasts, you might be missing out on a chunk of your audience.
So look at what’s being used, and adapt your marketing/promotion to that. For example, when it comes to generic podcast listeners (or the “wider audience”), this chart from Statista shows how things changed in the U.S. in the last couple of years.
Whereas Apple Podcasts led the way in 2019, Spotify overtook them in 2020 (with Apple Podcasts dropping a small percentage). Google Podcasts also made good inroads, as did TuneIn and Podcast Addict.
Granted, this is only for American podcast listeners, and the data is a couple of years old, but it gives you an idea of what to look for when deciding what app to recommend your podcast on.
Note: Neal Veglio makes a great point about Apple versus Spotify when it comes to who has the bigger audience, as does industry publication Podnews, so keep that in mind, too.
If you want to be more specific – and, honestly, you should – then go beyond the generic audience and look at your own analytics data, and what that’s telling you.
Depending on your podcast host, you should be able to see a few things about your listeners, including where they’re located, what app they used, what browser, etc.
This helps you optimize any social or newsletter sharing when it comes to your episodes/podcast.
For example, here’s my audience as reported by my podcast host, Captivate.
As you can see, Apple Podcasts leads the way as the preferred app, and the mobile app is the preferred version.
So, if I want to recommend a podcast app for potential new listeners to check out the show, then Apple Podcasts would be the one.
If I was to run any paid advertising, then I’d target iOS users, mobile-only, that are interested in podcasts (as a very basic example of building an ad audience).
However, I’d never recommend referring people to just one app, since you could be putting off potential listeners who either don’t use that app, or don’t want to use it.
So, now that you know your audience’s preferences, it’s time to optimize how they listen across any app they prefer.
Make It Simple for Listeners to Follow
Because there are so many podcast apps and platforms out there, it’s made it easier for podcast listeners to choose the one that suits their needs.
However, because of that, it’s also led to a (welcome) headache for podcasters – what podcast apps should be displayed on your website or social media bios, etc?
After all, no-one wants to visit a website that has so many options that it looks like an old GeoCities creation (yes, I’m showing my age here)!
Instead, you want to make sure these potential listeners can make a simple choice, thereby removing any extra hoops they need to jump through, resulting in a more likely new follower/listener.
There are a few ways to do this, depending on your preference (and podcast host).
Use a single promo link
As I mentioned earlier, I’m with Captivate for my podcast hosting. One of the very cool features they offer is a Single Promo Link.
This lets you add links to your podcast on the various podcast apps and platforms, and then create one single link to refer visitors to.
This then creates a fully responsive and clean landing page where the app icons will be displayed, as well as any custom links you want to include.
What I like about this is I can choose the apps I want to appear on there, and the icons/text make it super clear as to which apps you can choose to listen on. One click, and that app is opened for the visitor to my lading page.
Captivate even tracks the clicks for each app, so you know which one is driving the most listens, and you can optimize the position of that app on the link accordingly.
However, you’ll also notice that I have the option of “More apps”. So, if you don’t see your preferred app on the page, no worries – you’d simply click on more apps, which brings in the next cool option.
Use a podcast smart link
Because there are a lot of podcast apps and platforms out there, adding them all as a link to your website, social media, etc, would be messy (and a major pain).
This is where using a podcast smart link comes into play.
A smart link, as the name suggests, is a link that offers some very cool features. This includes operating system and technology-specific linking, and redirecting to a chosen destination (like your own site).
There are a few ways to do this, with two of the more popular options being Chartable and Follow the Podcast.
With Chartable, you add your RSS feed to their platform, and the create a smart link. You can then choose the automatic behaviour for when people click on your link:
- Send iOS users and Mac users to Apple Podcasts
- Send Android users to Google Podcasts
- Send either of these users to Spotify
You can also choose to have the direct episode URL for your website included, so if there isn’t an app displayed for a potential listener, hey can always listen to the episode directly on your site.
Here’s the smart link for Podcaster Stories – try it out! Chartable will also give you analytics around which apps were clicked the most, and if these lead to actual downloads – pretty cool!
With the Follow My Podcast option, it works similar to Captivate’s Single Promo Link, by creating a clean landing page for you to send potential listeners to.
It’s part of the My Podcast Reviews service from podcasting veteran Daniel J. Lewis. When you create an account and add your podcast, the platform will help you add links for your show to your settings.
You can then create your Follow The Podcast page for your show, resulting in something like this:
As you can see, much like the Captivate single promo link, it results in a clear, easy to choose page for new listeners.
Next Step – Use the Data
Now that you’ve made it simple for new listeners to follow your podcast, the next thing to do is use that data to continue to optimize how you get your podcast to them.
How you do that is up to you, but make sure you do it:
- ask on social media how people prefer to listen
- continuously check your analytics
- ask your newsletter subscribers
- install a heatmap on your site for button clicks
These are just some of the ways you can really build up a picture of your audience and their listening preferences.
Which, at the end of the day, can only help you when it comes to growing your podcast.
Now it’s your turn – how do you make it easy to listen to/follow your podcast? Hit me up on Twitter and share your tips!