Podcasting is a growing area of media which can provide real ad revenue to the producer and value to the listener. Unfortunately, the ‘find a new podcast’ screen on the major podcast / podcatcher apps are disappointingly identical. After hitting the ‘+’ icon, there are a few standard options from which we can search:
When we search, the results are uniformly displayed by Podcast Series (as opposed to by episodes of said series), sorted with the most recent episode at the top. Solving this discover-ability problem at the podcast level will lead to solving the audio’s general problem of being tougher to share, and therefore tougher to go viral.
A few additions will really change podcast discovery.
1. Make ‘Search by Friends’ an option.
Enable users to see what podcasts their Twitter, Facebook, G+ and/or LinkedIn contacts listen to. Everyone’s got the college friend who still follows the university athletic program closely – they are already an expert, what do they listen to to stay in touch? What about those industry technical contacts who are always on top of the newest developments – what do they listen to?
There are a stunning number of listening opportunities – using the current options constrains the market’s ability to grow.
2. Make ‘Keyword’ search smarter.
Keyword search is currently pretty naïve. It is based on what the podcast creator submits. We should look to include show notes and other sources of information. In a perfect word, real time keyword results based on the audio content would be possible.
3. Increase options for looking at individual shows.
Show results are now thrown back at the Podcast level. Any sorting is shown by release date – throwing back the most recent show, even if it isn’t the most popular. Showing results based on popularity would be valuable and increase the likelihood that a new listener enjoys that first listening experience.
Combining ‘Keyword’ search with ‘Individual Show’ results would further improve the probability that a listener is able to find what they are looking for. There are many ways the podcast listening experience can be improved – improving episode discovery is valuable for all parties involved in this growing industry.