Looking for more listeners? The answer could be in the guest list. A new analysis from the podcast database Rephonic finds that podcasts with guests reach more listeners than shows without any guests. It shows the average number of estimated weekly listeners across all podcasts is just over 5,000 compared to a 6,500 average for podcasts with guests. “Podcasts with guests seem to be a win-win for both hosts and guests given the exposure that they can provide,” it says.
For podcasts with guests, Rephonic says the average episode length was 44 minutes. That is eight minutes longer than the average across all podcasts.
“Given that episodes with guests are often free-flowing conversations around pre-arranged topics, it makes sense that they tend to be slightly longer in duration. During this time, guests have an opportunity to build a rapport with listeners that can be nurtured off-air,” it says in a blog post.
But the real advantage may be in the promotional power of guests. Rephonic says its analysis shows the average social reach of shows in guest format is 10% higher than that of shows in general.
“Episode promotion is key to getting people to listen and social media is one of the most effective ways to do this, so the size of a podcast’s social following is an important metric to consider when deciding which shows to pitch,” it says.
While guests are a good idea generally, not all podcasts are created equally. Rephonic says some categories also tend to have higher average listener numbers when the shows are in guest format. It says Daily News and Astronomy podcasts have three-times as many listeners when the shows welcome guests. And Tech News podcasts have 2.5-times as many listeners.
But where there are winners, there are also losers. “The choice of which shows to reach out to as a potential guest should be on a case-by-case basis as the number of listeners varies widely within each category,” Rephonic says. It notes accepting guests also correlates with smaller listener numbers for some podcast categories.
No genre does worse than True Crime with guests. The analysis says those shows get 80% fewer listeners. Rephonic says the True Crime category has the lowest percentage of podcasts with guest speakers, with less than one percent of shows rolling out the welcome mat.
Others that are advised to do the same include Comedy, Fiction, Language Learning, Drama and Natural Sciences podcasts. On shows in those categories, the analysis shows podcasts that feature guests attract roughly half the number of listeners as podcasts in these categories do overall.
While Rephonic says it found only five out of 12,000 True Crime podcasts feature guests, podcasts in the Film Interview category were most likely to have guests. Nearly half the shows in that genre did. Golf podcasts ranked second.
The analysis was conducted on Rephonic’s database of more than 2.5 million podcasts, of which 350,000 use the guest format.