How do the Apple Podcasts charts work?


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How do the Apple Podcasts charts work?

Inside the dark art of the podcast charts

Getting your show into the Apple Podcasts charts is a great way to get in front of podcast listeners searching for new shows.

So how do you get your podcast in there and how do they work? 

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Do the podcast charts make a difference?

Let’s tackle this bit first because often people overestimate the impact featuring in the podcast charts will have on their downloads.

Scoring a spot in the Apple Podcasts charts is great for marketing and PR and will definitely expose your show to a new audience.  But will it translate to thousands of new listeners?  Probably not.

Podcast growth is, more often than not, incremental so ideally, you want to feature consistently in the podcast charts over time so you can build your audience.

There’s no doubt the podcast charts are a place podcast listeners go to discover new shows.  So while featuring in them might not mean a million new listeners it’s still a good thing since you want your show to be in all the places people are looking for new content.

How do you grow your podcast audience?


How do the podcast charts work?

Apple are famously cagey about how their charts work but most of the experts believe it’s based on recent subscribers rather than downloads. 

So, the more new subscribers you’ve got coming in, the more chances you have of featuring in the charts.

Rob Walch from Libsyn explained how he believes the chart algorithm works suggesting it’s about “total new subscribers in the past seven days with a weighted average for the last 24, 48 and 72 hours.”

That means new subscribers in recent days have more of an impact than how many people are actually listening to your show.

Should you tell people to ‘subscribe’ to your podcast?


How can you get your show into the podcast charts?

Your best chance of getting your show into the podcast charts is at launch because that’s when you’re going to have more new subscribers than any other time (because you’re starting from zero).

A launch also gives you a reason to shout from the rooftops which can get more people coming to check out your podcast than when you’re just releasing a regular episode.

This can be a great way to build momentum and get those new subscribers that will help push you into the charts.

A note about numbers here…the numbers you need to get into the charts are often way lower than you’d think.  I’ve seen shows go to No. 1 with a few hundred listens so don’t feel like it’s out of your grasp if you’re an independent podcaster who’s starting from scratch.

How long does it take to launch a podcast?


What if you don’t get your podcast into the main podcast charts?

While it’s great to feature in the ‘Top Shows’ charts (the top podcasts from all categories) there are also charts for each individual category.

These are often much easier to rank in and even if they don’t bring in a huge amount of listeners they can still be great for your marketing and PR.

That’s why it’s important to choose the right category when you’re setting up your show.  If there are multiple categories your show could fit into, choose the one that’s the least competitive so you can increase your chances of appearing in the charts.

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Do ratings and reviews affect the podcast charts?

The short answer is no but that doesn’t mean they’re not important.

Ratings and reviews are an endorsement that can make new listeners think “this show looks like it’s worth listening to.”

So while it doesn’t impact the podcast charts directly it could be the reason someone subscribes which means it could impact them indirectly.

Plus, it looks good when someone checks out your show and sees the people listening already think it’s worth giving five stars.

Every little bit of publicity helps!

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help?  Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

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