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YouTube May Best Serve As Podcast Welcome Mat Research Shows.

Signal Hill Insights founder Jeff Vidler says YouTube may be the elephant in the podcasting room, but his company’s research finds the streaming video platform may serve as a way for people to get into the podcast habit -- and then make the leap to traditional podcast platforms.

The data comes from the new Canadian Podcast Listener study which found that 28% of all monthly podcast listeners said they first accessed a podcast on YouTube and then later turned to apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify and iHeartRadio to listen to it. “That makes YouTube a potential gateway to new downloads and new listeners,” said Vidler in a blog post.

He says an “uncomfortable truth” for podcasters and publishers that have built their businesses on downloads is that YouTube is a growing factor. In the Fall 2021 Podcast Download Study released by Signal Hill and Cumulus Media this month it showed a third (34%) of weekly podcast listeners said they frequently use YouTube to listen to a podcast. That is a seven-point advantage on Apple Podcasts according to the survey.

In the Canadian report, more than one-in-four monthly podcast listeners (27%) name YouTube as the platform they use most often. That is more than both Spotify (25%) and Apple Podcasts (18%).

Vidler points out those numbers are despite the fact that the most listened-to podcast -- The Joe Rogan Experience -- left YouTube at the end of 2020 as part of its exclusive arrangement with Spotify. “A lot of podcast listeners go to YouTube for podcasts. As a podcaster, you can choose to ignore that reality or embrace it. Wishing it away isn’t a workable option,” said Vidler.

With YouTube here to stay, Vidler thinks podcasters look at YouTube as a “tactical tool” to attract new listeners to a podcast and then direct them to the traditional podcast apps where they can download the show. He suggests producers post teaser episodes on YouTube to lure in listeners and then direct them to podcast apps for the full episode, noting it is the approach that The Joe Rogan Experience is using.

“It’s only then that YouTube will fit squarely into your business model,” Vidler explained. “Downloads, not YouTube views, are the trading currency used to buy and sell podcasts. You get more revenue per listener from downloads than YouTube views. And you can’t add YouTube views to your podcast downloads. It’s adding apples to oranges and advertisers aren’t interested.”

The data also shows a weak spot for YouTube. Vidler said this year’s Canadian Podcast Listener shows that listeners who use both YouTube and other podcast platforms say they are more likely to skip ads on the podcasts they access on YouTube.

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