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Facing Podcasting's Round Peg Square Hole Problem [S3E131]
Episode 13124th May 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
00:00:00 00:08:03

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Evo Terra:

Podcasters tend to take a monolithic view of podcast

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listening apps, as evident by "wherever you get your podcasts."

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But human behavior is more complicated than that and it's up to us to adapt.

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Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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Most podcasters, at least those of us who wish our shows to grow, we want three

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things and we want them in this order.

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First, we want someone to subscribe to our show.

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So that number two, they can download our episodes.

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And then number three, listen to what we have to say.

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We really don't care where that first part happens, the subscribing part

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begins because we know there are myriad apps out there people can and

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do choose to subscribe to podcasts on.

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We don't really care so long as it happens.

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Now, if we look at some fascinating reports, which I will have a link to

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Tom Webster's wonderful breakdown of what it means in the episode details.

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If we take a look, we will see that when we ask the public who listen to podcasts,

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what do you listen to podcasts on?

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Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

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And those numbers are fairly even between those.

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There's little pluses and minuses there, but by and large, those are the three

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apps people who listen to podcasts say they use to listen to podcasts.

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But it's already off the rails for any of you who have ever looked

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in your podcast listening stats.

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Because we know that ain't true.

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Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

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When we look into our stats, we will almost always see Apple

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Podcasts right there on top.

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So that part we agree with.

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But Spotify?

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At like, an equal level?

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That's insane!

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And YouTube?

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Come on!

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These don't work at all.

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Well, I posit to you that perhaps they do.

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First, we have a math problem.

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It's a math problem because the signals we are using to count on the

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backend us podcasters who can see what's actually coming in and hitting

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our stuff, the way that those numbers are counted, are counted differently.

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There's a different process.

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Let me tell you what I mean very briefly.

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Apple Podcasts auto-downloads - by the way, so it does Overcast - your

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episodes of your show, so a download is just simply that, it's a download.

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It's not a listen.

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Spotify, it doesn't download at all, really, it instead streams.

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Okay, fine, pedants, progressively downloads, whatever.

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And they may or may not pass back the data properly to your podcast

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hosting app if it's not been set up properly because they do cache the

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information and stream from there.

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And YouTube will never show up on your podcast stats because

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it's not hitting an audio file.

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You have to create a video file and upload it, and then you're

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stuck with YouTube's stats.

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So yeah, math is a problem, but I don't think math is the big problem here.

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The big problem here, I see it, is that we are treating all three of those listening

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apps exactly the same instead of modifying the content we push out to those apps

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to make it specific for that platform.

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Let's take YouTube.

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YouTube is a perennial topic.

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It comes up all the time.

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We see it in the numbers and none of us believe it.

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But let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and do a breakdown of YouTube.

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What works on YouTube?

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Well, we know what works on YouTube are the things we see in our

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social media feeds all the time and that is clips and highlights.

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That's what gets shared - clips and highlights.

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Not an entire movie, television show, 45-minute-long rant.

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But most of us podcasters, including myself here, when we use YouTube,

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we just dump out our entire episode.

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Try to make YouTube just one more distribution channel for

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us like we have everywhere else.

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But it's not.

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It's uniquely not and we know it's not.

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It's not a surprise to us it's not.

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It's not.

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Apple Podcasts, I just talked about how it auto-downloads and there's a huge

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disconnect for any of you who have ever looked at Apple Podcast's backend, Apple

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Podcasts Connect, if you can log in.

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If you've ever looked, you've noticed a big disconnect between

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the number of listeners it shows and the number of downloads.

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Now, some have argued, as I have argued, that that may or may not be real.

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It's possible it's a data problem.

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Or it's also maybe an echo of a once dominant platform now in decline.

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But away from Apple Podcasts, which is the only podcast-specific app that we have,

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and let's think of Spotify for a second.

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Now, Spotify, what is it mostly?

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It's a music-focused app that now has podcasts in it.

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But it's still music heavy.

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The people who will use Spotify are heavy music users.

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So maybe we podcasters should experiment with things that work

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in music like alternate cuts, radio edits, live versions, re-releases,

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remasters - the things that are endemic to the music industry.

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We could do that on that platform.

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Because if these platforms really are where our potential audience are and

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every year they tell us the same thing, people, they tell us that's where they

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really are, doesn't it make sense that we should try and meet them where they are?

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How would you change your publishing approach if instead of thinking about

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your audience, your overall audience, you thought of your Apple Podcasts

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audience different from your Spotify audience, which is distinctly different,

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once again, from your YouTube audience?

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I'll leave you with that pondering moment and say that this is the

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last week before I go on break.

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Season three will be over on Thursday.

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And then later on this week - by the way, just so you know,

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season four is coming back.

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But later on this week is a special newsletter-only announcement will

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be going out to all PPIYI, that's Podcast Pontifications In Your Inbox,

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subscribers, which is free to subscribe.

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Go to Podcast Pontifications, hit the big subscribe button, enter your email,

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and you will be on the PPIYI list.

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And you'll find out what's happening with season four, which I've been teasing and

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I'm going to continue to tease because I want you to subscribe to that newsletter.

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Yeah, you should.

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And if you loved this idea, this thought made you wonder how you're

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going to shift your approach, should you shift your approach?

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Thinking about these individual publishing destinations as just that - different

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places to publish different content, not just a place to drop the same thing.

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If that sparks an interest in you, whether you love it or hate it, please consider

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going to buymeacoffee.com/EvoTerra, and doing just that, buying me a coffee.

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That's it.

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.