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Creators, Apple finally explained how its Podcast Charts work

Source: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

Any podcaster wanting to improve their standing in the Apple Podcasts Charts has so far been left to guess what goes into their creation and ranking. But not anymore, with Apple now sharing details that explain how those charts are populated for the first time.

A new support document outlines the ins and outs of the Podcasts Charts — Apple’s capitalization, not mine — and goes as far to explain exactly what they measure. That’s something that wasn’t entirely clear before and will no doubt be music to the ears of creators everywhere.

Apple Podcasts Charts reflect the most popular shows and episodes available in a given market and are designed to help people discover what to listen to next. They do not reflect all-time listening records and are not a measure of the largest podcasts by listenership.

Apple isn’t going to tell anyone how the charts algorithm works, but if creators want to be at the top of the Apple Podcasts Charts, these are the things that are measured:

  • Listening: When listeners are engaging with episodes, it’s an indicator of content popularity.
  • Follows: When listeners follow a show to receive new episodes, it’s an indicator of their intent to listen.
  • Completion Rate: When listeners complete episodes, it’s an indicator of content quality.

Just as important as what does get factored into the algorithm are the data points that aren’t — something else Apple has now explained.

Although ratings, reviews, and shares also help indicate a podcast’s newness, popularity, and quality, they are not factored into the algorithm that determines the rankings for Top Shows and Top Episodes. In other words, they may not help people find a podcast on their own, but they influence whether people will listen or follow, and those factors influence the charts.

All of this is great information for podcasters who want to get a better feel for what the Podcast Charts are and how they work, even if the app isn’t the best iPhone app for actually listening to podcasts!

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