Survey Reveals How Listeners Want to Engage With Your Podcast

Publishing regular podcast content is enough to keep most listeners engaged. In fact, studies have even shown that tuning in to their favourite show hosts is so engaging that it’s replaced some forms of socialising for many listeners.

But it’s also true that just listening isn’t enough for everyone. Some listeners want to engage with you directly, talk about your show with friends or let the world know what they think about it by submitting reviews too. 

So, it’s worth considering: Do you have a strategy for engaging with your listeners in this way? Our listener survey data suggests you might want to start thinking about it, and think about it… strategically.

We surveyed over one hundred podcast listeners (109 to be exact) to learn more about their habits when it comes to interacting with the podcasts they listen to: how they share them, review them and interact with hosts. 

Here are some key highlights and what you, as a podcaster, can learn from these insights.

3 Key Learnings from the Podcast Listener Survey

1. Ask for podcast shares, and you’ll get them 

When we asked listeners what would convince them to share a podcast they’d listened to, the majority said they would if they enjoyed the show (48%). Hardly surprising, I know.

But what is kind of surprising from the survey is that 13% of respondents chose “because the host asked me to”. They chose this option over thinking the content was great or that they knew someone who would like it. 

This shows the power of simply asking listeners outright to share your podcast during your show. As my granny would say, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

This insight got me thinking about the podcasts I listen to and the fact that not everyone asks for shares. Maybe we worry it might sound a bit desperate or overly promotional. But ask yourself: Do you think negatively of any podcasts that ask their listeners for shares? Me neither. It’s just part of running a successful show.

And if you have a strategy for generating shares from your listeners, are you going far enough? Do you provide links and share buttons on your podcast website, for example? Do you explain briefly for the less tech-savvy how to share your show? A short explanation could go a long way.

2. Listeners need a variety of options to reach you

If you think your listeners won’t care that much about contacting you directly because your show’s not big enough yet, you might be wrong. There are so many reasons why listeners want to reach out to hosts, and it’s not just to deliver fan mail. 

And sometimes, the smaller and more niche your podcast, the more likely listeners will want to reach out. You’ll feel more accessible than the chart toppers, and you can really use this to your advantage when building a listener community.

Here are all the different reasons respondents said they’d likely reach out to a podcaster they listen to: 

So the question is, are you giving your listeners the platforms they need to reach you? 

It’s clear from our survey that variety is what they’re looking for. While email came out top as the most popular choice (30%), there was quite a wide distribution of other channels that listeners wanted to reach out to hosts on. This includes social media platforms, communities and even voicemail platforms. 

And the really interesting part? A huge 15% chose ‘other’. Our survey options weren’t even broad enough to cover the different platforms listeners were looking for.

3. There are obstacles that prevent listeners rating or reviewing your show 

If getting listeners to share podcasts is a tough gig, convincing them to rate or review them is even harder. So, it’s not so surprising that 71% of respondents told us they don’t rate or review podcasts.

But we also gave respondents the option to tell us why they didn’t rate or review podcasts. This survey question revealed that there are a number of obstacles that get in the way. 

They don’t know how to

For one thing, a few respondents said something along the lines of “I don’t know how.” As creators, we might think this isn’t a believable excuse. But I bet you know Boomers who still don’t know how to listen to podcasts, never mind review them! It’s just about giving people guidance to take the actions you want them to take.

The rating and review process can also be a bit unclear on some platforms. With this in mind, it could be worth providing some basic instructions on how to review your podcast on different platforms. 

You could create a page specifically for this on your website (with the URL There, you could provide brief instructions on how to review your podcast on each listener platform, and provide a link to take them there directly. Then, all you have to do is include that website page link in your podcast description and it will populate across all listening platforms via your RSS.

You ask for reviews on a platform they don’t use

I’ve heard some podcasters specifically ask for Apple Podcast reviews during their shows. You might think it’s useful to tot up reviews on a single platform, but this can alienate listeners who don’t use that particular listening app. 

If you’re really keen to channel reviews to one place, consider sending them to Podchaser instead, since it isn’t linked to any one platform and is becoming something of an IMDB for podcasts.

And what happens if that app you’ve been gathering reviews is killed off, taking your ratings to the grave with it?

The listening app they use doesn’t support reviews

Which takes me to the next obstacle. Some respondents said they don’t rate or review the shows they listen to because the listening app they use doesn’t allow it. Google Podcasts was mentioned a few times as an app that doesn’t support reviews (and incidentally, Google killed the app off this month).

There’s not much you can do to control the fact that apps don’t always allow ratings and reviews. However, there are a few things you can do to generate more ratings. 

Based on what we learned in the survey, you could try the following: 

Explicitly ask listeners to rate or review your show 

Don’t specify where to leave reviews – just let them do it on whichever listening platform they use

Make sure your podcast is available on as many listening platforms as possible. This will increase the likelihood that people will listen on apps that support ratings

On each listening platform, provide a short sentence that explains how to leave ratings and reviews in the show notes. 

How to Get More Podcast Reviews

There are so many more tips and tricks you can use to encourage listeners to leave more reviews or share your podcast with their network. So much so that Matthew wrote an entire guide on how to get more podcast reviews that’s full of great actionable advice. 

And if you yourself have anything to share about your strategy in how you engage with your podcast listeners, we want to know – you can tell us in the Indiepod community.

Originally posted on April 10, 2024 @ 5:24 am

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