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How Companies Are Growing Their Video Podcast’s Audience

Learn how to grow your podcast with effective tactics and discover the most common ways companies are growing their video podcast audience.
Abel Grunfeld
Head of Marketing
Last Updated:
January 5, 2023
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

With video podcasting’s momentous rise in popularity, Riverside’s Annual Report dives deeper into this impactful medium. As the 7th of an 11-part series, this article explores how companies are promoting and growing their video podcasts.

What’s in it for me?

By the end of this section, you’ll have key insights on the following points:

  • The most common ways companies are growing podcasts
  • The highest opportunity tactics to grow your show
  • Methods to avoid

Many companies start new podcasts. A portion of those remain consistent with minimal gains. And a select few truly crack the code and grow.

Of surveyed companies, over 52% reported monthly downloads of under 2000. Only 11% reported having more than 10,000 downloads per month.

But what are the tactics and strategies that separate the companies that grow from the companies that stagnate?

In this section, we’ll dive into 4 proven tactics currently getting companies results. We’ll also uncover 3 commonly used tactics that may not be worth the time and effort.

Discoverability on YouTube

This will come as no surprise to you: YouTube is already the largest distribution channel for video podcasts on the market. In fact, YouTube commands 24% of the overall podcast listens. Spotify comes in second with a projected 23% of market share. Apple podcasts hold a 16% position of reported listeners.

Let that sink in for a minute. YouTube is already the biggest app for listening to podcasts, and video podcasting is still not at a place of maturity. The assumed opportunity is massive for brands willing to put in the time, effort, and creativity to succeed on YouTube with their podcast. These numbers only increase as video-first becomes a more popular podcast option.

In fact, over 40% of companies surveyed reported that added discoverability was the top reason they added video to their podcasting strategy.

What is the tactic?

The tactic here is extremely simple: share your full podcast episodes as videos on YouTube in addition to other directories.

Chart showing what channels podcast companies grow the most through

Getting more specific, these videos should not be an audio-only file with no visuals, nor should they be a static screen running with audio behind it for the full duration.

These videos do need to be captivating. That task may seem daunting to many (and for good reason), but this does not mean that high-production videos are required. There simply needs to be a more compelling on-screen presence throughout the video. This could mean recording video of the interview, both host and guests. This could mean a narration with animations or slides running on top of the audio.

The format of the video depends on the format of the podcast.

Start posting and figure out the right format. It is recommended that you make the video podcast as native to YouTube as possible, which typically means engaging visual content throughout the full course of the video.

It’s also beneficial to match the format of your audio show to the format of your video show. Add complementary elements that translate well to audio-only and vice versa. Podcasts should still be treated as audio-first so audiences are not alienated when brands make the switch to adding video. The best video podcasts allow you to listen and still get the full story of the show without needing the visuals, but use video to engage more visual learners.

The greatest fear companies have of not taking advantage of video in podcasting is directly linked to discoverability. 31% of companies surveyed noted this as their #1 risk of not implementing a video strategy.

Why is it working?

In one word: leverage. YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. The largest search engine is Google, which owns YouTube and therefore promotes videos on normal keyword-based searches on its platform. Brands are getting 2 benefits for the price of one by going all in on YouTube.

This tactic opens brands up to more engaging content, built-in discoverability in the platform, and the added benefits of SEO. Companies that use YouTube are improving their discoverability by a wide margin.

49% of surveyed companies believe YouTube will become their greatest drive of podcast growth within 5 years.

Promoting Short Clips

The rise of using short clips to promote full podcast episodes has been rapid and steep. In fact, 62% of company podcast showrunners promote short clips at least once per week (22% are posting clips daily).

Percentage of companies that share weekly short-form clips to promote their podcast

The ability to repurpose full-length content into some small, action-packed, and engaging is highly attractive. But let’s dive into why.

What is the tactic?

Let’s say you have a long-form podcast that also records video by default for all episodes. If your episodes are 30-minutes long, you could easily have one interesting clip for every 5 minutes of content from the episode. In this example, that would equate to 6 shareable clips that already existed, and can be repurposed.

You can also add templates and other elements to these clips to make them standalone and unique. This method of taking existing content and making it more digestible has led to many video podcasts growing on platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.

54% of the companies surveyed noted that they are using TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts to grow their podcast.

Why is it working?

By sharing sneak peeks of your content, you help your potential audience see what’s in it for them if they decide to invest their time with you.

Instead of needing new listeners or viewers to commit to a 30-minute episode, they can commit to a 30-second clip. This can tell them what they need to know to decide on whether or not they like your concept and content.

Also, the contrasting nature of short-form clips vs long-form episodes creates an interesting introduction to new podcasts.

Processes are key for this particular method of growing an audience. Assuming that a company has TikTok, Reels, and Shorts profiles already, the steps are simple, but not easy.

Look at existing content in your library of episodes. Try to identify clips that work well as standalone content. You can always add a call to action to listen to the full episode in the clip, but it is difficult to turn a clip that’s not comprehensive enough into anything meaningful.

Once you have clear clips to create, build a design template to put on top of them that includes the host names, podcast name, and where to find the show. You should also provide subtitles whenever possible to make your clips accessible.

The simple formula from this point is to have a call to action at the end of each clip to listen to the full episode, and point people to the link in your bio to access it.

Optimizing for Recommendations

If you’ve ever scrolled through a podcast app like Apple Podcasts or Spotify: you’ve seen recommendations all over the place.

In fact, 20% of companies surveyed say that Apple Podcasts is their top growth driver.

These apps are incentivized to recommend new shows to you because it helps keep you on the app and consume more content. But the best video podcasts are taking advantage of these “Recommended” spots to grow their shows.

What is the tactic?

Apple Podcasts has recommended podcasts for every category imaginable. Spotify recommends shows on your main page, mixed with your other shows and music. Even YouTube has its new “Podcasts” page that recommends new shows to watch.

The tactic focuses on optimizing your podcast to get into these recommended spots.

But how?

While there is no perfect science for securing one of these spots, a few elements are clearly impactful.

First, make sure your audio quality is extremely high. Your listeners will signal if your audio is bad fairly quickly, leading to lower metrics across the board. Fewer downloads and shorter listen times will lead to less favorable positioning in the recommendation algorithms.

Second, optimize for reviews. Reviews are one of the most impactful signals to Apple and Spotify that your content is noteworthy and engaging. You need both a high quantity of star ratings and high-quality written reviews. The more great reviews you have, the more likely your podcast can “rank” in recommendation engines.

Third, publish consistently on the same schedule. Maintaining a consistent schedule and adhering to what you promise your audience is key. If a show has scattered releases and drastically varying episode lengths, the apps will demote your ability to be recommended.

Why is it working?

These apps get high traffic, and people are looking to find new shows. This is one of the few ways that people truly discover podcasts currently.

Brands who fight to be included in the recommendations of Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and beyond are the ones who get seen. And the shows that get seen are the shows that grow.

Leveraging Email

Email is the most powerful distribution channel on the planet. Nothing can compare to the ability to send a message directly to thousands of points, all at once, with some personalization.

And brands are using this to help existing fans watch a new podcast, or enable their list to find new fans for the brand.

What is the tactic?

There are two ways that email can be used to grow a podcast: reaching an existing audience with email blasts and reaching a new audience with referrals.

Reaching an existing audience via email is one of the lowest-hanging fruits available to brands. With the click of a button, you can send thousands of emails to an existing list to notify them about a new episode. This tactic works particularly well for releasing a completely new podcast.

Reaching new audiences with email is trickier, but potentially more powerful. If your video podcast is already live and publishing consistently, then blasting your existing list every week may eventually stop paying dividends.

However, you can create a referral program for your podcast via email that allows fans to share a link to the show in exchange for incentives. These incentives could be affiliate-based, raffles, digital products, lead magnets, and more.

Why is it working?

The list already exists. And people open emails from brands they trust. If your company already has an email list and gets opens each time a new blast goes out, there is a high likelihood of gaining new subscribers to your show.

Video may be the future, but email has been a tried and true communication method for decades.

Tactics that aren’t driving growth

All tactics in this section could work wonderfully or fail. Your brand’s ability to execute and differentiate your show will determine how well each works  out for you.

That said, the tactics below have shown to be less effective (but equally time consuming) compared to those listed above for growth.

Directory Submissions

There are thousands of small directories across the web for distributing your podcast. The core issue is that traffic tends to be insignificant to these directories. When was the last time you searched on a niche podcast directory to find new shows to listen to? This tactic requires manual data entry but rarely brings concrete results.

Website Promos

Sharing your new episodes to a banner on the home page may be low effort. It’s also typically low impact. Most companies find that users on a home page are not likely to convert into listeners or watchers of a podcast, especially without considerable context. Most promotion on company websites for new episodes falls flat and produces little impact.

Read more from the 2023 Riverside Annual Report series:

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