Can Google Dominate Podcasts As YouTube Has Video?
Podcasting is becoming big business.
Pre COVID-19, Podcasting was poised to be one of the fastest-growing media channels in 2020, according to research from Deloitte, published earlier this year.
As per Deloitte's, "Technology, Media, And Telecommunications Predictions 2020" report, it had forecast that the global podcasting business could grow to more than $3.3 billion by 2025.
While Australian podcasting revenue was set to outpace the 30% growth rate predicted globally, reaching $47 million in 2020 (62% growth).
Obviously, that forecast, like most other pre-health crisis forecasts, is moot.
However, the growth in listenership would likely remain, if not accelerate.
Even before lockdown began, over 1.6 million Australians, and 320,000 Kiwis, downloaded audio or video podcasts in an average four weeks. Representing growth of 70% and 82% respectively since 2016, according to Roy Morgan.
By way of comparison a year ago, Roy Morgan reported that around 2.2 million Australians visited leading streaming music site Spotify in an average four weeks.
For all this recent growth in podcasting, no one really "owns" the space.
Google first began indexing podcasts in search engine results pages mid-2019.
With the recent upgrade of Google Podcasts for consumers and the launch of Google Podcasts Manager for marketers and creators, it appears that Google is staking a claim.
Podcasts Manager Indexation & Verification
Google Podcasts Manager, a new tool to help podcasters gain insight into the evolving habits of podcast listeners so they can better understand their audiences and reach them across Google products.
With Podcasts Manager, you can make sure your show is available to millions of Google Podcasts listeners through a simple verification process.
Google serves many podcasts that are not registered in the Podcasts Manager. However, adding a show lets you see the listening data for that podcast.
To add a show in Podcasts Manager, you must verify ownership of the podcast's RSS feed. You can follow the verification process from here.
If Google has already been serving episodes to users and there is listening data, you will see up to 30 days' worth of data as soon as you create a new show in Podcasts Manager.
Your show won't be visible on Google or accrue data in Podcasts Manager until your feed is indexed by Google. Google continuously finds, and indexes feeds on the internet, but here's how to ensure that it gets indexed soon:
- Check if your feed is indexed.
- If your feed is not indexed, get it indexed. It will take a few days after indexing for Google to start serving your podcast to users, and collecting listen data. Until that time, you won't see any data in your show's analytics report.
- After your feed is indexed the first time, Google will recheck it often for updates, so you shouldn't need to manually request indexing for that feed again.
Richer Audience Insights & Analytics
Within Podcasts Manager, you can access metrics to understand how engagement with your show evolves and see activity for recent episodes.
Including retention analytics helping you better understand where people tune in, and when they drop off, along with listening duration, minutes played and more.
Data is exportable and can be plugged into your own analysis tools if you prefer.
Podcasts Manager also provides anonymised device analytics that shows what percentage of your audience listens on phones, tablets, desktop computers and smart speakers. This data can help podcasters better understand and respond to changing listening behaviour.
For example, you might discover that the majority of your listeners access your show on a smart speaker. This might mean you add shorter form content for listening on-the-go or develop more family-friendly options for consumption in an open space.
At the moment, social channels have shown a limited appetite for podcast promotion or amplification. Hence most creators run them as rehashed social video posts, like The Economist's "The Economist Asks" podcast, which are then shared organically or run as video ads.
For podcast creators, prioritising Google's podcast solutions and SEO tactics will likely have a much more significant impact on driving success for podcasted content.