What the apple podcast changes mean for your podcast

Even if you don’t have an Apple device, the changes that are coming in their new OS update will affect you, whether you make or listen to podcasts, and it looks like these changes will be very positive for all of us.

Already changes have begun, on your iDevice they’ve broken out of iTunes and now live in their own dedicated app – Apple podcast.  A lot of the changes that are to come are at the coding level, but these changes could inspire real changes into how podcasts are both made and consumed.

We won’t know everything until the launch, but here’s my take on what they are doing, and my hopes for what it will mean for podcasters like you and me.

Undoubtedly the two most significant changes are the trailers, and the listener stats.

At the minute if you want to know what a podcast sounds like you have no option but to download it or start streaming a whole episode at random.  Which could eat a lot of time. A trailer will give the podcast maker the opportunity to showcase the best bits about what they do, and hopefully give a new audience a reason to come find you. And it’s a format we’re all familiar with – the equivalent of listening to a preview of the song you’re buying on iTunes to make sure it’s the version you want.

Potentially you could end up with a situation just like the cinema where before you listen to your favourite show, your podcast app plays out a couple of trailers the algorithm thinks you’ll like, subscribing to the ones you give the thumbs up to. New subscribers will get the full current season added to their library – though this could backfire – remember how happy everyone was when they suddenly found the new U2 album on their iPhone? At least here you will get to choose.

Potentially the most significant change in Apple Podcasts is the opening up of the listening figures. Though we’re still to get the exact details, this potentially will offer podcasters more accurate audience figures than traditional radio. At the minute there is technically no official public source for podcast figures but other platforms will give you information, some of which to be fair makes me raise an eyebrow. And I don’t raise my eyebrows lightly.

The potential for this in terms of sponsorship and advertising is incredible. Traditional media uses a lot of guesswork in selling its audience, but this could change everything. The ability to get an accurate breakdown of data of not just the demographic that is listening, but the times, frequency and devices they use is incredibly valuable. We’re promised we’ll also be able to find out how long our audience listens and at what point they turn off.

Think about what that means for a moment. Though your ego may take a battering it will offer you a very steep learning curve. For example, if half your audience stopped listening at the same point, maybe that tells you that is a better overall length for your podcast, or maybe that section you did was not just unpopular, but boring. And it means if you do have a sponsor you can structure your prices on pre, mid and post rolls according to the percentage of audience that are there at each point.

Other changes will mostly affect how you actually submit your feeds and upload, giving you the ability to define each submission as an episode, trailer or bonus content. It could also mean a change to how you link them to your website.

Expect a week or two of head scratching and numerous youtube videos, and no doubt podcast episodes explaining how to do what you need to do without going crazy.

Are you an aspiring podcaster? Here are some more awesome blogs:

Thinking of podcasting? Check out our podcast all about podcasting, it’s a bit like inception but makes starting a podcast simple and doesn’t have Leonardo Di-Caprio in it. Listen in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Soundcloud.