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Podcast Rankings: Why It Matters & How to Hit Podcast Charts

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Podcast Rankings: Why It Matters & How to Hit Podcast Charts

Though we may not like it, podcast charts and ratings are hugely important in boosting visibility and discoverability, ultimately helping you to broaden your audience and reach new listeners. The undeniable fact is, top-ranked podcasts enjoy invaluable exposure, gaining a way higher ROI when it comes to marketing, and boosted popularity by virtue of being at the top of the charts. 

Plus, though you know your show is top-quality, that’s not always clear to new listeners who are browsing for a new podcast. So ranking highly can help to boost your credibility and the likelihood of a newcomer tuning in to listen. In this guide to podcast rankings, we’re demystifying the top charts and rankings out there. We’ll explain what they are, why they’re important, and most importantly, how to get your podcast ranking highly in no time. 

TL;DR

  • Podcast rankings reflect your show’s current popularity and rating compared to other podcasts in your country or category 
  • A top ranking is a great way to build exposure, scale your audience, and benefit from organic marketing 
  • Improving your ranking on Apple Podcasts & Spotify isn’t an exact science but there are a few things you can do to maximize your chances

What are podcast rankings?

Podcast rankings are essentially a popularity chart that highlights and rates the best-performing podcasts in a particular period of time and category. Different charts are based on different factors, but typically metrics such as downloads, plays, and subscriptions, as well as reviews and ratings are at the core of your podcast ranking. 

From a podcaster’s perspective, podcast rankings are important metrics of popularity and, in some ways, success. They are also important for widening your reach and boosting your show’s discoverability. 

From a listener's perspective, they’re a great reflection of which podcast shows are popular right now and a great way to discover new podcasts. 

Why do podcast rankings matter for your show?

As we briefly pointed out above, podcast rankings are incredibly important for boosting your show’s popularity, scaling your podcast, and growing your audience. Here’s an outline of just a few of the reasons you should take podcast rankings seriously: 

More exposure & discoverability 

Top-ranked podcasts enjoy increased exposure and discoverability, helping them to scale their show and reach new listeners. Sitting in the top charts is an invaluable way to encourage people perusing the most popular podcasts to give yours a try. 

Stand out from the crowd 

The podcasting world can feel fairly crowded, especially since anyone can create a podcast if they want to. Placing in the top charts is a great way to stand out from the crowd and retain your competitive edge. 

Boosted credibility 

By default, high-ranking podcasts gain the passive endorsement of being in the top charts. This does wonders for your credibility and boosts the perceived value proposition for a potential listener. 

Organic marketing 

Podcast rankings are essentially great organic marketing. Though of course, this shouldn’t replace your own marketing efforts, placing highly on the charts is a great way to capitalize on some organic outreach. 

Monetization opportunities 

Though not totally necessary for securing monetization and advertising deals, top-ranking podcasts are likely to attract more interested sponsors and partners because of their popularity rating, their bigger audience, and the widened reach that being in the top charts offers you. 

Podcast ranking charts

There are actually multiple podcast ranking charts that you should be aware of: 

Apple Podcast Charts 

Apple podcasts is a listener favorite and their charts hold a lot of clout. As Apple puts it, their charts ‘present a dynamic view of the most popular content’ on the platform. 

There are a few different charts on Apple Podcasts that you should be aware of: 

  • Top Shows and Top Episodes. These charts are organized by market and are consistently updated every day throughout the day. The chart goes up to No. 200. Listeners have the ability to filter by category or look at all categories together. 
  • Top Subscriber Shows. Ranking the shows that also offer subscribers exclusive benefits. 
  • Top Subscriber Channels. Categorizing the channels that have two or more shows with subscriptions. 

Spotify Podcast Charts 

Spotify has three different podcast charts which are updated daily. 

  • Top Podcasts which displays the top 200 podcasts in a specific country (location specific).
  • Top Episodes This refers to the top 200 episodes which are the most popular in that moment (location specific).
  • Trending podcasts which tells you the latest listening trends and podcasts which are up and coming.
  • Top podcasts by category which is about the 50 top ranking podcasts within a particular category.

Chartable 

Chartable has its own Top 200 charts and Trending charts which it calls ‘the podcast industry’s first global, weekly rankings.’  Every week Chartable draws on its own collated data about global podcasts from different listening platforms to generate its own Top 200 and Trending Charts. 

Chartable’s charts are country and genre specific. 

How to get your podcast ranking on charts

Though all podcasters may aim for the top, it can be difficult to work out how to get there. Though there’s no fail-safe formula, there are a few ways that you can improve your ranking. 

General tips 

Before we dive into platform-specific advice, here are a few tips that apply across the board. 

Produce great content 

Though this is a no-brainer, a good ranking relies on the fact that your content is actually worth listening to. At the end of the day, if you produce a stellar podcast, most of the hard work is done. 

When it comes to podcasting, quality boils down to two things: your ability to interest your audience and your production caliber. If you can get these right, then you’re definitely setting yourself up for success. 

Work consistently 

A consistent content output is going to increase your chances of a higher ranking. This is because you’re more likely to build a loyal following and continue to scale and leverage growth momentum as you go. 

Improve your episode titles, notes, cover art, and description 

At the end of the day, top-ranking podcasts are simply appealing to their listeners. With this kind of thing, the devil is in the detail and it pays to do your show justice. Make sure that all the bells and whistles around your podcast are immaculately executed so that there’s nothing left to chance. For instance, make sure that your podcast episodes and descriptions give an accurate and concise explanation of what they’re about. Ensure that your cover art is eye-catching and appealing, rather than something that might get lost amongst all the other podcasts. 

Make sure you get your category right

Since many charts and rankings are category-specific, you need to make sure you tag your podcast correctly. This ensures that you show up under the most relevant heading and that you’re competing against similar shows in the charts. 

Encourage your listeners to review and rate your podcast 

It never hurts to encourage your listeners to tell you how much they enjoy your podcast. Ask them to leave a review and rank your show. You could even offer an easy incentive to try and build some momentum. 

Tips on ranking on Apple Podcast Charts

Play to the algorithm 

In order to perfect your Apple podcasts rankings, you need to understand and play to the algorithm. According to Apple, the charts measure a mix of: 

  • Listening. How many people are listening to your podcast? 
  • Follows. When listeners follow your show, this shows Apple that they like what they’re hearing and want more. 
  • Completion Rate. If a lot of audience members are dropping off mid-way through your episodes, this shows Apple that your content quality might be subpar. 

For the Top Subscriber Shows and Top Subscriber Channels, Apple also obviously looks at your number of subscribers and their overall engagement with your exclusive subscriber-only episodes. 

Be mindful that ratings, reviews & shares don’t have any (direct) impact 

Though you might think ratings, reviews and shares would help you rank highly in Apple Podcasts’ charts, according to Apple this isn’t actually the case. So there’s no direct correlation between a large number of good reviews, ratings, and shares but what Apple does say is that these factors inherently affect whether new people listen to your show, and this in turn does influence the charts. 

Don’t try and cheat the system 

Though it might be tempting (and it feels like your podcast deserves it), there’s no point trying to cheat the algorithm. Apple actively discourages altering your podcast with the sole purpose of ranking higher. 

Tips on ranking on Spotify Podcast Charts

Spotify podcast charts are all about podcast listeners and engagement. Essentially, the more popular your podcast, the better the ranking. But achieving a spot on the Spotify Podcast Charts isn’t always as smooth as we’d like it to be. 

For the Top Podcasts Chart, unique listeners and overall follower counts are important. And for the Top Episodes, Spotify looks at recent listening changes like growth and audience size.  

Focus on growing your audience 

A huge aspect of ranking highly on Spotify is increasing your audience base and aiming for a maximum number of listeners. As the platform puts it ‘the more listeners that hear your podcast on Spotify, the better chance you have of charting.’ Therefore, make sure to put a lot of investment into marketing and promotion, and sharing your podcast far and wide. 

Tips on ranking on Chartable 

If you want a chance of ranking on Chartable, you first need to opt-in from your account. Secondly, you just need to focus on growing your audience across all your listening platforms for a chance of a top ranking on Chartable’s weekly charts. 

What popular podcasts are ranking? 

It can be good to take a look at what podcasts are ranking highly right now. We’ve put together a list of the most popular podcasts, but let’s also take a look at the top 10 podcasts that were the most listened to in 2022. 

Top 10 Podcast Rankings in 2023

Since podcast charts are, by nature, constantly changing and fluctuating, here’s a look at the 10 most listened-to podcasts at the end of 2022, and going into 2023:

  1. The Joe Rogan Experience
  2. Crime Junkie
  3. The Daily 
  4. This American Life 
  5. The Ben Shapiro Show 
  6. Stuff You Should Know 
  7. My Favorite Murder 
  8. Morbid: A True Crime Podcast
  9. Dateline NBC
  10. Office Ladies  

FAQs on Podcast rankings:

What is the number 1 ranked podcast?

You may have guessed it, but the Joe Rogan Experience has been consistently ranked as the most listened to podcast in the world. 

How do you find the rating of a podcast?

You can do this manually by heading to the listening platform in question (eg. Apple Podcasts), heading to your podcast category and finding where you rank. 

You could also head to Chartable, search your podcast’s name and find out how you’re ranking.

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