Guesting is second most effective podcast marketing tool, report says

Social media still top growth tool, according to Podcast Marketing Academy survey

Guesting on other podcasts is the second most effective marketing tool for podcast growth, according to the Podcast Marketing Academy’s 2023 marketing trends report, next to social media promotion.

The report, presented with Podcast Movement, Transistor, and Alitu, looks at the factors that contribute to podcast growth after launching, based on a survey conducted with 521 podcasters and industry professionals in Q1 2023.

Based on the data submitted by podcasters on their month-on-month download growth, podcasts with an average of 500 monthly downloads can typically expect an increase of 10 new downloads per month. The average month-on-month growth rate for podcasts is 1.62%, according to the report, which advised that podcast creators will likely only see growth with consistency over time.

“If you’ve been frustrated with the growth of your show, it’s not just you,” the report said. “More than anything, these benchmarks reinforce the idea that many cross-platform creators and marketers have known (or at least suspected) for a while: Podcasting as a whole is a challenging medium to build an audience in.”

However, podcasts with less than 1,000 monthly downloads are nearly 8% more likely to double their listenership in the span of a year compared to mid-size shows with between 1,000 and 10,000 monthly downloads. Podcasts with over 10,000 monthly downloads are also the most likely to reduce their listenership, as it becomes harder to keep listeners interested. 

The report also looked at what high-growth podcasts do differently, and showed that creators who spent nearly four hours on marketing and over eight hours on production per week saw a higher growth rate compared to those who didn’t spend as much time on either. The report also noted that high-growth shows “invested more time into production and marketing on both an absolute and per-episode basis”.

More than half of the respondents said that they found social media to be the most effective tool for podcast growth, and 23% said they found podcast guesting had the greatest success, while other tools proved to be less popular as less than 15% picked newsletters, collaborations, YouTube, SEO or advertising as their top priority.

However, 18% also said they found social media to be the least impactful, and more than 40% of the survey respondents said their number one challenge was “understanding which specific strategies are effective”. 

The report also highlighted the importance of podcasters and brands defining their objectives and success metrics, as 80% said they currently look at podcast downloads as their primary metric. The report also noted that only 10.4% of respondents see income-related metrics as their primary measure of success, while 54% said they care about building an audience and growing their personal brand and authority. 

“There will always be trends and commonalities that seem to define the biggest and highest growth shows but there will also always be outliers,” the report said. “There’s no one way to grow a show. No one format, topic, or strategy. So don’t be afraid to buck the trend and experiment with whacky, scrappy, and unorthodox marketing strategies that no one else is doing.”

“They won’t always work but every now and then, they win big. As with all marketing, the only way to find out is to test it.”