PodSchool Podcast | How do the Apple Podcasts charts work?


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How do the podcast charts work?

Inside the dark art of the podcast charts

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

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

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Does featuring in the Apple Podcasts charts make a difference?

Let’s tackle this bit first because people often overestimate the impact podcast charts have on 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 charts over time so you can build your audience over the long run.

However, even if you get in there once, you’re still opening your show up to lots of new people and when discoverability is so difficult in podcasting, that’s a great thing.

Plus, it’s a great win to spruik on social media which can encourage even more people to check it out.

How do you grow your podcast audience?


How do the Apple Podcasts charts work?

Apple won’t reveal their exact algorithm but they do say the charts are based on a combination of data on podcast listens, show follows and episode completion rates.

All these factors are taken into account because they’re seen to be an indication of show quality.

If people listen and like what they hear enough to follow the show and consume most or all of the episodes that’s a good sign it’s content worth listening to.

Apple also only takes into account actual plays rather than downloads so if listeners automatically download shows they’re following, this won’t incorrectly inflate the numbers.

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How can you get your show into the Apple Podcasts charts?

If you’re keen to get your show into the charts, the best thing to do is to plan all your activity around one specific day and encourage as many people to follow on that day as possible.

Your best opportunity to do this is when you’re launching your show because a launch gives you a reason to focus on a single date and promote that date EVERYWHERE.

A note about numbers here…the listener and follower numbers you need to get into the charts are often much lower than you’d think.

I’ve seen shows hit the charts with follower/listener numbers in the tens, not the thousands, so don’t feel like it’s out of your grasp if you’re an independent podcaster starting from scratch.

How do your download numbers compare to other podcasts?


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

While it’s great to feature in ‘Top Shows’ (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 promoting your show.

That’s why it’s important to choose the right category when setting up your podcast.

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 Apple Podcasts charts?

A lot of people think ratings and reviews help a show get into the podcast charts.

This is why you’ll hear a lot of podcasters say “Leave us a rating or review as it helps other people find the show.”

That’s not entirely true but it doesn’t mean they’re not important.

Ratings and reviews are an endorsement that can make new listeners think “This show is worth listening to.”

So while it doesn’t impact the charts directly it could be the reason someone listens and/or follows your show which means it could impact the charts indirectly.

Plus, it looks good when someone checks out your show and sees that other people think it’s good enough to comment on.

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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Discover all the tools and tech you need to get your podcast started. Plus get access to my weekly podcasting tips delivered straight to your inbox!