Many podcasting tools offer the ability to automatically crosspost your audio podcast to YouTube. Here are eleven reasons I think you shouldn’t do that.

I often use the term “fake video” to describe what some podcasters make. It’s when they take the whole audio of their episode, put it into a video file, and display a simple image (static or sometimes moving). It’s essentially audio with pixel dimensions.

I think the short, animated videos commonly called “audiograms” are entirely separate and beneficial. My following thoughts address the “fake video” approach.

1. The supporting reasons are mostly misunderstood and short-term

I usually hear four reasons to publish fake video on YouTube:

  1. To make your content discoverable on Google and YouTube—Maybe true, at first, but it will soon be demoted.
  2. It’s easy and maybe even automated with publishing tools—Simply because something is easy doesn’t mean it’s good.
  3. It reaches a non-podcast audience—True, but it’s reaching them so ineffectively, you might not see any positive results.
  4. “It can’t hurt”—Actually, it can hurt, as you’ll understand from the following points.

2. It’s abusing the platform

YouTube is a video platform. It’s designed for videos. When people search or browse YouTube, they expect to watch videos. Posting fake video goes against the simple premise of video.

If someone writes a long blog post, takes a screenshot, and shares that image on Instagram, we would consider that abusing the platform.

If someone makes a blank image and uploads to Instagram only so they can write a long blog post, we would consider that abusing the platform.

If someone releases a series of silent podcast episodes only so they can put out the titles in podcast apps, we would consider that abusing the platform.

And if someone publishes only audio, but no video, on a video-based platform, we should also consider that abusing the platform.

This is not an effective technique for sharing content appropriate to the platform. This is more like a blackhat hack with a bait and switch.

3. The “view” stats are meaningless

If you publish fake video, or you see other fake videos, you may initially think it’s a success because of the view counts. But like “downloads per time,” view counts don’t tell the whole story and are a meaningless stat.

Social networks count something as a “view” after different amounts of time. YouTube seems to have a 30-second threshold. So someone could watch a video for only 30 seconds, and it would be counted as a view. But if your video is as short as a few minutes or much longer, only 30 seconds is meaningless to actual consumption.

Think of it as a local store. The way YouTube and other social networks work, they would count you as a customer every time you drive by and look at the store. But were you really a customer if you didn’t at least go inside?

Contrast that with the nature of podcast downloads and consumption. This is more like counting everyone who entered the store. True, maybe not everyone stays in for long or even buys anything at all, but they were still a customer by entering and behaving like a customer.

I’ve seen data on some fake videos that seemed highly successful: as many as nearly 23,000 views on one video! But the real truth is in the retention stats.

Only a 3.4% average view duration. 90% of the initially 23,000 viewers were gone within 90 seconds!

Only a 3.4% average view duration. 90% of the initially 23,000 viewers were gone within 90 seconds!

All data I’ve seen, from multiple sources, show that most fake videos lose 90–95% of the audience within only 90 seconds! Interestingly, this does seem to differ among countries. But that makes sense, considering that podcast consumption is not as popular or possible in some other countries.

You might think that later videos, which averaged about 200 views, had filtered down to loyal fake-video consumers. Retention rates were, indeed, better. This time, it took only about 4 minutes for 85–90% of the “loyal” audience to abandon the videos!

Even with a seemingly "loyal" audience, the retention rates plummet, leaving fewer than 10% of the "loyal" audience watching.

Retention stats on a later video with 175 views.

The resulting audience who did stay to consume the majority of the video ended up being only 6–8% of the view count. Thus, only about 16 people benefitted from the video. That’s 16 out of an initial audience of nearly 23,000!

4. Engagement rates are horrible

If you dismiss the meaningless view counts, you must measure other forms of engagement: retention, likes, comments, subscriptions, clickthroughs, and shares are common metrics on YouTube.

A video with nearly 23,000 views received only 35 likes, 24 comments, 2 shares, 18 subscribers, and 19 dislikes.

Fake videos show horrible engagement in all these metrics. I’ve seen videos with more than 20,000 “views” receive only a few likes, subscriptions, and no comments. This shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that almost all the audience is gone within a few minutes. But even of the small number of remaining viewers, they still don’t engage with the fake video.

Comment, like, and dislike engagement rates are almost nonexistent compared to the supposed view counts.

Comment, like, and dislike engagement rates are almost nonexistent compared to the supposed view counts.

5. Your channel’s and videos’ rankings will be demoted

The top reason I hear people advocate for fake videos is that they make the content show up in search rankings. That may be true at first, but it doesn’t last. Furthermore, the consequences can prevent future videos from ever ranking.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, uses several factors to measure a video’s popularity and thus rank it in search results. They use all those same engagement metrics:

  • Retention—if most people quickly abandon the video, it’s probably not worth ranking
  • Likes and comments—if no one is interacting with the video comments, it’s probably not worth ranking
  • Subscriptions—if no one is subscribing to the channel as a result of the video, it’s probably not worth ranking
  • Clickthroughs—if no one is clicking through to other videos and staying engaged on YouTube, the video is probably not worth ranking

Fake videos perform notoriously low on all these metrics. Consequently, Google’s algorithms will consider the video a waste and demote it in the rankings. After all, if almost everyone else doesn’t like it, why would they recommend it to others?

Could you imagine my recommending a doctor by saying, “No one ever sees him, and he’s not a very good doctor anyway”?

6. YouTube doesn’t like your making people leave

Google wants people to stay on YouTube. It’s easy to waste hours and hours on YouTube because it was designed with exactly the scientifically proven tactics to get you to stay! Even when I was preparing this episode, I got sucked into watching video after video (real videos!).

YouTube won’t like it when you make people leave YouTube, either by closing the browser tab or by following a link that takes them away from YouTube. Such links might be to your website or your podcast in a podcast app. They’ll either demote your video or sometimes even find other ways you might be violating their community guidelines.

7. Content ID gives content owners control over your videos

When you upload a video with any copyrighted material (regardless of your use), YouTube’s advanced bots will recognize and flag it with Content ID. The copyright-holder can then control many things about your video:

  • Keep your monetization (or share it, if they’re generous)
  • Block the video from some countries or worldwide
  • Block the video from certain platforms (such as mobile or embedded)
  • Mute the video

I’ve seen many legitimate videos get flagged by Content ID, such as a movie-review podcast that comments on and plays a portion of the movie or soundtrack.

You can dispute a Content ID claim, but failing that could lead to even bigger consequences.

8. Copyright strikes are aggressive

In extreme cases, your videos could give your channel a copyright strike. This usually means the video will be removed and you’ll carry a strike on your account, which might limit features (such as monetization or live-streaming). Further abuses will usually result in a complete closure of your account.

9. Monetization may be limited

YouTube is a monetized platform. They don’t really like it when you monetize your own content without letting them have a piece of it. Podcast sponsorships, promoting your own products, and affiliate links can be in this gray area. YouTube has already cracked down on this kind of monetization when a product or logo is displayed as a paid advertisement.

Regardless of how you monetize your own podcast, YouTube can decide to ban it from YouTube at any time if they decide it’s not in compliance with their standards.

10. YouTube may flag your fake videos as spam

Most fake videos look the same. Usually, that’s simply the cover art. Sometimes, it contains “buttons” or calls to action.

When YouTube sees multiple videos being uploaded regularly and they all look the same, their algorithms have often flagged this as spam. But I’m not surprised because it really does look like spam!

Video, channel, and comment spam

It’s not okay to post large amounts of untargeted, unwanted, or repetitive content in videos, comments, private messages, or other places on the site. If the main purpose of your content is to drive people off of YouTube and onto another site, it will likely violate our spam policies.

It’s not okay to post large amounts of repetitive and/or re-uploaded videos to your channel. If the main purpose of your channel is to monetize other channels’ content, it will likely violate our spam policies. If you believe your copyright-protected work was posted on YouTube without authorization, you may submit a copyright infringement notification.

[“Spam, deceptive practices & scams,” YouTube.com, emphasis added]

11. It makes your channel the little boy who cried, “WOLF!”

Each time you publish audio on a video platform, it’s misleading your potential audience. As more and more of your fake videos show up in search results, they’ll learn to not trust your channel. It’s like the boy who cried, “WOLF!”

I’ve seen this with some experimental channels. With each fake video released, the view counts and retention get worse and worse. Then, the ranking starts to fall because of all the other metrics.

Absolute view counts of the first 15 audio episodes published on YouTube

Absolute view counts of the first 15 audio episodes published on YouTube show significant dropoff after the initial attention

So if you ever want to do a real video on your video channel, publishing fake videos will have demoted your channel so much that your real video may never receive attention.

Conclusion: Publish fake videos if you don’t actually care

There are better ways to use YouTube with podcasting (episode 186). You can live-stream, make video promos, make specialized video content, make short snippet animations or videos, and more.

If you really don’t care about the YouTube platform and don’t care much about its users, then go ahead and publish fake videos. But keep in mind the potential consequences, costs, and extremely low return on your investment (time, skill, or money).

Thank you for the podcast reviews!

  • nabus19, from the USA and host of The Redrum Theatre, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “High Five Brother. I love podcasts, and have enjoyed them as a media for 10 years now. Recently I began my own, and I was looking for some wisdom in doing this well. Of all the How-To podcasts I listened to, this is the only one to survive. Great topics, current issues of podcasting, and real knowledge from a professional podcaster. I especially love when he used to review a podcast and give some helpful tips. Bring it back brother! My podcast is called The Redrum Theatre, … We watch movies, we love movies, we were raised by movies.”
  • Covert Nerd, from the USA and host of Covert Nerd podcast, wrote in Apple Podcasts, “… Because of you I have stepped out and started a hobby podcast. Right now it isn’t that good, but because of you I got the courage to at least start. I am sure many others have done the same thing because of your work. I would encourage other like you do to just start your podcast and you can work out the details as you go. …” Read the full review.

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

47 comments on “Why You Should NOT Publish Audio Podcasts on YouTube – TAP332

  1. yogeek says:

    My question is what about all the people that ‘listen’ on YouTube?

    My hubby is all about YouTube. If it’s not on YouTube it does not exist. He loves videos but he’s equally into ‘listening’ on YouTube. He listens to music and ‘talk’ – he has YouTube on while working on the computer or hanging out like I would listen on my iPhone to my own things.

    He also ‘listens’ to YouTube on his phone (I have stopped questioning his habits and stopped nicely suggesting that he listen in other ways)

    Also, my Mom listens to my podcast on Facebook. (I know this is about YouTube) but it’s how she listens. I have taught her how to subscribe and listen other ways, but that’s where she is and when she sees the post on the Page she listens.

    I know that my hubby and my Mom are not the only ones with this behavior.

    I’m always about the listener.

    Yes, platforms have their ideas as to what they want people to DO with their content but listeners have their own ways of doing things and often disrupt the original idea.

    For me, this is information bothers me less from the omgosh I’ll lose money and my channel’s ranking will go to crap, but more about dictating how to consume to people and the current listeners or potential listeners that we won’t get because we can get to them.

    A simple solution for FB is for them to create a lovely native player – wouldn’t that be nice – or to allow for a native audio player from other places that isn’t a pain to use or to continue to make compliant (because FB changes every other second)

    I want to bring more awareness to making our content accessible to all in the way that best works for THEM. It’s the first step to grow podcasting. Once they are in, then adjustments can be made.

    Media consumption habits are hard to break. And this sort of situation where once again as a producer we are told we need to do this *this way* and no other way (because a lot of us don’t have the mental or physical bandwidth to create an actual video) is unfortunate.

    1. I think this is a case of knowing what YouTube wants. I made my podcasts audio on YouTube for the reasons you described, but I can also relate to the dropping view count as well as thumbs down on my videos.

      I know people use YouTube for listening, but we can’t willingly go against the platform owners wishes. I wish it were different, but it sadly is not.

    2. Music consumption and listening to videos are really different from spoken-word content with a static image. I think the reason music consumption is so high on YouTube is because that’s often the only free (albeit often still copyright-violating) way to listen to some songs.

      What really surprised me in my research is Google’s own policy, which I quoted under #10. If the content seems repetitive or encourages leaving YouTube, then Google will consider it spam.

  2. Wow! The points you brought up on TAP 332 were very insightful. I am going to stop posting my audio podcasts to YouTube. It actually is going to speed up my workflow each week. As I won’t have to be concerned with getting the YouTube version ready.

  3. Steve Sleeper says:

    Daniel – Need to ask – where are you getting this information: Google and YouTube? As it relates to SEO and internet footprint, my cohorts and mastermind groups have found your objections to be not so hard and fast. I have pretty good success with interview podcasts and then turning them into written blogs and YouTube slideshow videos with graphics. Over time, 25% of my videos rank on page one of Google and stay there. (There is a way to get 50% and keep them there – but I don’t go down that expense route.) In Google, folks will call off the snippet and not watch the video – if there is a strong call to action. Views and watch time are not as important a ranking factor with Google – albeit there are ways to get that and be natural. What’s more, Google lets me do back linking with YT videos that I would never try with a website. Written blogs and videos are a good way to repurpose interview podcasts and expand my client’s internet footprint. Also, the videos are a great way to add quality website backlinks and directory citations. The key is optimizing the videos – title, tags (keywords) and description. Of course, blogs need to be optimized are a good source of new, good quality website content that Google loves. However I provide this service at a low price point and I make a living. I feed out 10 to 20 videos a week and have so for 8 years. While there is some truth to your objections, I haven’t found them to be a big issue. There are work arounds.

    I produce a weekly podcast on online video marketing. This episode on may be worth listening to: https://earn.show/video_marketing_madness/557/162-google-vs-youtube-for-ranking/

    1. It sounds like the kinds of videos you’re creating are not fully fake videos, but slideshow videos. So your results will be different.

      Primarily, I’m curious if the same search on YouTube returns the same results as on Google. (And you are trying in an incognito window, right?)

      1. Steve Sleeper says:

        The ranking factors for YouTube and Google are different and i’m paying attention to Google only. From what I’ve seen, YouTube rankings are higher. But that’s anecdotal because I don’t track the YT rankings. (Maybe I should – as far as searches – it’s #2 behind Google.) However if you’re a filmmaker like Derral Eves who makes YouTube videos for entertainment and to be found on YouTube, then you’d use different optimization strategies. Yes, when I search I use incognito…but actually I’m tracking the videos in “Pro Rank Tracker”

  4. I hear your points and they are solid. To me, it’s not so black and white. One – for podcasters who don’t have a solid video channel (like you!) getting coverage on YT is a plus – see yogeek’s comment for starters. I also don’t know that we have anything definitive from YT about whether this is “abusing” the platform. That wording seems harsh to me. If anyone has a link re: the official YT position, I’d love to hear it.

    I did a quick Google search, “does youtube care about audio-only videos.” I got tips for how to actually make audio-only! A LifeHacker post on how to turn YT into the ultimate audio streaming service. A Chrome plugin that lets you disable the video. And lots of podcasts who append the episode title with “(Audio Only) which seems like a great tip for communicating with your channel subscribers.

    In thinking about all the music that is on YT (especially older songs, before music videos) there is actually a fair amount of audio-only content. As long as it’s clearly labeled, I see it more as an adjunct to a channel than a “fake” video.

    1. Audio podcasts on YouTube and music on YouTube are significantly different types of media. So it’s not fair to connect them with each other.

      I think the big point is #10, where it seems quite clear that YouTube is saying videos that look the same or are designed to lead people offsite will be considered spam.

      1. Using the same cover art, I agree, is not a best practice idea and could be confusing. But with a custom thumbnail, the (audio only) in the title, it seems like a win for the podcaster – both in discovery and feeding their followers content that is not otherwise available.

        That section you mention, seems to me, to focus as much or more on people who are posting other people’s media and trying to monetize it.

      2. Plus, I laughed out loud at the trying to direct people away from YT. That would exclude all kinds of quality content producers!

  5. One type of podcast I’ve seen, and I even had success with, is when you upload a video with webcam views. I don’t do this anymore currently, as it’s a lot of work, and I like having a polished version of a podcast. I think if there is something visual to go along with the audio, then it is more engaging for the audience. Use the medium to its potential.

    Some of the videos I watch on YouTube ARE pretty much audio only, but there is video spliced together. If a video has a podcast version, I’ll move to that one. This is my personal viewing habit though.

  6. Steven Reich says:

    So, I’ve actually started doing the reverse-taking audio-compatible content (stuff that works even if you can’t see it) from my channel and periodically spawning off a podcast episode. A decent chunk of my content is audio-focused, so the transition usually works well.

    I’d like to have the video version be more compelling, however there are some technical obstacles:

    1. I interview musicians decently often and can’t afford to fly to NYC, LA, or wherever they happen to be, so Skype is really the only option. I did try videotaping myself while conducting an interview once, but the feedback didn’t seem to indicate it offered all that much value above audio-only. Also, I’ve recently branched into more long form discussions (sometimes over an hour), and that much video takes up a lot of space.
    2. Many of my interviews are recorded in the field (usually a tournament or convention), and thus a constrained by event schedules, lighting, and sound conditions. Setting up a video recording at an event takes considerably more time than an audio recording. As much as I would like to do a true video for every field interview, the circumstances don’t necessarily allow for it.

    With those hurdles in mind, I have tried a few things recently to improve retention on audio content. I started putting the audio through a program that creates a visualization over a background image-I don’t have enough data to see what kind of impact that makes, but I’m certainly more engaged when editing them. I’ve also made an effort to include scans, photos, trivia, and other overlays whenever possible.

  7. Andrew Wang says:

    Thanks for this excellent episode. The data speaks loudly.

    1. Well, he’d have to share a reciprocal screenshot of 15 videos so we can see the drop off rate. One batch of data is meaningless unless there is more to compare it to.

      1. Andrew Wang says:

        I have a limited sampling of my own videos but it is evident that video content has longer watch times than my audio only podcasts. While I may be too small to really matter in Youtube’s eyes, my takeaway is that I can be using Youtube more effectively. For me that means replacing full podcast episodes with audiograms, perhaps adding video of me promoting or providing behind-the-scenes for podcast episodes, and coming up with a separate Youtube video content strategy.

        1. Oh – I misunderstood your comment. I thought you were referring to the screenshot in the post. I also love audiograms. My main point is that context matters. Fewer “views” might still represent listens.

  8. Tom Madrid says:

    I really disagree with you, Daniel. First I want to make clear that I have never posted a podcast on YouTube, nor do I know anyone who has, so I’m not defending myself or anyone else. I just take exception to the premise of the episode.

    What is YouTube’s mission? “Our mission is to give everyone a voice and show them the world,” says YouTube on its website. Note that “everyone” is the ones with the voice, and “them” in “show them” refers back to “everyone”, i.e. it’s everyone who should be shown the world, not everyone should show the world (but everyone should be given a voice). So I can still post an audio file on my channel and be shown the world on someone else’s channel, and I’m not abusing the platform. YouTube further says, “We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community through our stories.” Seems to me that posting audio fits right in with that belief. This defeats the argument that YouTube is only for video (“voice” can be defined the same way as “speech” is defined by the Supreme Court and not be limited to actual speaking).

    Also, I think the term “fake video” is incorrect here. It ought to refer to a video that shows something that is not true (like a doctored video, for example), similar to how “fake news” refers to deliberate misinformation with intent to damage. If someone posted a one minute video to YouTube showing a single, static photo the whole time and VO explaining something about the photo, could that person not rightfully say “I posted a video on YouTube explaining the photo”?

    Next, and possibly my biggest beef with the episode, I really object to your focus on whether posting your podcast on YouTube helps you (with things like driving subscribers or generating impressive stats, getting engagement). The first question should be “Does this help others?” Forget the stats! Forget trying to drive someone away from YouTube to subscribe or to go to your website! Forget discovery of your podcast! Focus on delivering value, always. The rest will come if you deliver value. We live in an increasingly platform-neutral world where the same content is consumed across many different devices, and the medium is no longer the message.

    So if you don’t try to drive people away from YouTube you are not violating its TOS. If you change the cover for each episode posted you are not posting repetitive content violating and therefore not violating that part of the TOS. If you don’t use copyrighted soundbites (which most podcasts don’t), you are not getting flagged. If I never post anything besides the podcasts, I’m no crying wolf.

    YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine. Why not upload and risk making a difference to someone searching for information or entertainment? If they don’t like the audio-only format, no worries. Maybe the next person will, and you can make a difference in that person’s life.

  9. Thanks for all the work you put into this post, Daniel. As you can see below, I disagree with much of it. However! This gave me (and many others) a chance to examine the topic in depth and learn from the discussion.

  10. Have to disagree with this. I do this exact thing of putting up podcast audio with a single image and the best part is having links in the description which has got me email subscribers and clients. I’ve had people reaching out saying they only found my site and podcast because of YouTube. YouTube is just a search engine and is number 2 behind google so I’ve been finding it more likely to be found because of it.

    There are people now that put up audio commentary over only a few images that are getting into the hundreds of thousands of subscribers and a huge niche on YouTube are lyric videos which is just audio over a few changing images. A lot of the podcasts I listen to are on Youtube as long style shows can be broken down into shorter chunks on individual videos.

    Even if this is all short term it’s still a huge win for people like us as ultimately YouTube is really transforming as advertisers are starting to stray away and corporate videos are taking over. True YouTubers like Bethany Mota or Colleen Ballinger have said they find that it’s harder and harder for them to be discovered and viewed as what’s promoted are things like Jimmy Kimmel or the Tonight Show etc. These are the real content creators that have been there since the start of YouTube and are being pushed to the side and moving more into real life platforms.

  11. Rob Orr says:

    Daniel – love this post – quite informative, and from the comments already here, quite a hot topic as well.

    My question is this: What about doing a Joe Rogan style video “podcast”? It’s obviously not fake video as it shows Joe and his guests sitting around a table and discussing stuff. Not much in the way of “video” content, but it’s not just a static image. I know Cliff and other podcasters used to do a live video (don’t know if he or anyone else still does) broadcast and was just wondering your thoughts on that.

    1. Tom Madrid says:

      I wondered the same for Podcasters’ Roundtable. Not much is gained from watching the video version versus just listening to the audio track. Great podcast but not a great video.

  12. kiwimana says:

    Hmmm you bring up some good points. But I have picked up listeners to the show from YouTube.

    So after listening to the Feed, I think we are going to create a new channel on YouTube. You can have as many YouTube Channels as you like under the one Gmail account.

    So we will create an audio only Channel and get Libsyn to publish the audio movies to that feed.

    Our other videos, non audio only will get sent to our main channel.

    If the Audio Only channel doesn’t rank well, then this should affect our other channel?

    Thanks for the show…Gary
    kiwimana Buzz Beekeeping Show

    1. Rose Caplan says:

      Hello kiwimana! It looks like you are maintaining your Audio only YT channel. How is this working out for you? Do you have any suggestions or comments about starting an Audio only channel on YT? We have podcast listeners who like to use YouTube to listen to episodes and would like to accommodate them. I understand both sides of this, and think you have a good solution if it doesn’t ruffle YT feathers. Thank you.

      1. Gary Fawcett says:

        Hi Rose,

        Yes its a small Audience.

        Our biggest views was 1.5k, but that was a interview with a well known Beekeeper. But even that show had an average watch time of only 10 mins.

        I would said on average we get 50 watches per show on YouTube.

        It’s pretty much automatic with Libsyn, all I do post publish is fix up the Mini Show notes and add the tags from the wordpress blog.

        We are happy to use it as a method of gaining new listeners, but I have also found some people watch/listen only on youtube.

        We have been playing with small sections of the show to use to promote on Social Media, we use a program called FFMPG “https://www.ffmpeg.org/”

        We are hoping that these little section, may convince people to listen to the whole show. This is still a work in progress. Here is our recent one, which is a static image with a sound wave graphic…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0Yl3yKWTLg

        All in all YouTube may help get more listeners, but our RSS feed is still our number one traffic source 🙂

        Thanks…Gary
        The kiwimana Buzz

        1. Rose Caplan says:

          Thank you so much, Gary! We are pretty much doing it out of convenience for our podcast listeners. So as not to be deceitful to others we are adding (Audio only) after the title. Loved listening to your promo piece. Didn’t realize New Zealand had a problem with too many bees making honey!! 🙂 Good that you can provide information to those who make hay with it!

  13. Curtis Anderson says:

    This is a very interesting discussion. I can understand the concerns that Daniel brings up. I am a moderate consumer of YouTube videos and I find myself clicking off videos with still images. I guess I expect to see the person speaking when I am on YouTube.

    I am planning to use a different approach. My podcast is about books so my new YouTube channel will follow the model used by Book Tubers with me on camera talking about books I have read and my podcast will focus on interviews with authors and provide long form content via audio. My podcast and YouTube channel will have the same name and I will post both to my website.

  14. Bob Bain says:

    My channel has over 10,000 subscribers (growing around 500+ new subs each month) and earns a four figure income every month. As a matter of fact the YouTube channel has helped me turn podcasting into a full time job (Previously worked at Apple in an iOS AHA role). What it really comes down to is whether you are providing a good enough content that the argument of a still image vs video becomes irrelevant.

  15. trylikeafool says:

    I have to disagree with you. A lot of people are now starting to go to YouTube for audio. For instance, NASA and related channels have published days worth of raw Mission Control audio loops, so we can listen to Apollo 13’s flight as it happened from the perspective of the Flight Director and engineers in Mission Control. Those videos have a lot of views and comments. Those audio files exist elsewhere on the internet, but it’s so much easier to just look them up in YouTube. YouTube is becoming more of a centralized archive for media. I’ve listened to podcasts on YouTube before, especially when I couldn’t access the audio files in the podcast feed for some reason. It’s just so easy to find stuff on YouTube – easier than podcast apps. For Millennials – people my age – we’re very YouTube savvy and are more likely to be open to a podcast on that platform. I don’t really care, and don’t view them as fake videos. I get that it’s just audio.

    I’ll give you the point that YT is a video platform, and will always be dominated by video content. It’s not my first choice listening to a podcast – I’d rather do that in a podcast app. But I think it’s more of a viable alternative than you present. Especially if you’re just doing a podcast as a hobby and don’t care about monetization, YouTube is just another way to share your content with people who would never go find your podcast by traditional means.

    Also, if you have the production means, some podcasters shoot video of them in studio, which is better than just listening to the audio. The Jenna+Julien Podcast is a great example. Much rather watch them than just listen. But they have a high production value and are entertaining. If you’re going to post crappy video, then just don’t.

    1. Ashley says:

      I agree. Alan Watts is all over You Tube, audio lectures only and his view rates are massive. This was released 17 days ago and now has 107,000 views. It’s an hour long talk of one guy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyrPE9kTZZk

      1. Remember that view counts are meaningless. Someone could view for only 31 seconds and it would count.

        1. Ashley says:

          I get what you’re saying old bean! I’m 50/50 on this audio youtube malarky! And..of course, Alan W is a legend!

    2. If a show is available only on YouTube (and thus not subscribable with a podcast app), it’s not a podcast.

  16. Al says:

    I feel it’s important to point out that YouTube can offer something no other platform can give. Many d/Deaf people will want to listen to podcasts, but they don’t just want to sit and read it, they want something more engaging, so putting it on YouTube with subtitles gives them an opportunity to watch it, and enjoy it. I’ve spoken to a few d/Deaf people who say this is how they prefer to engage with Podcasts! Accessibility is important, the more people of different abilities you can engage with your podcast the better!!

    1. But you’re referring to an actual video, right? Otherwise, there’s nothing to “watch” if it’s only an image with subtitles. Also, that would make consumption more difficult than reading thorough show notes because the captions are often wrong, and they would be delivered very slowly.

      1. No, it’s an image with subtitles, and usually a wave pattern above to match up to the audio. If you find “Griefcast’ on twitter you can see. The subtitles I upload arrive with the words so it is exactly the same length as the podcast itself, giving the viewer something to look at. This is what I was told by an actress I follow who is deaf. Maybe that is her preference, but that’s more than just show notes, or a transcript, so as I said, it’s more engaging for her.

  17. Very interesting article. Thanks for the research, Daniel!
    Even though, since you published your article, it looks like Youtube is changing its policy now with “Background Play” and its new subscription model (Youtube Premium)… Will be interesting to see where this will go and if they’ll include podcasts as well.
    All the best,
    Francois

    1. I think the algorithm is still something big to consider as YouTube ranks videos that have great retention. But these “fake videos” usually have very bad retention and don’t encourage viewers to stay on YouTube.

  18. This is so helpful! I am working hard to establish my brand and it isn’t easy but I don’t want shortcuts. I want authentic viewers for my YouTube Channel and authentic listeners for my Podcast, but I also want to be doing something to help promote it to get the message out there… so I was considering this and am so glad you shared this. I am going to keep working on this. Thank you! I love that I found this…

    Holly Ann Kasper
    The Radical Imperfectionist

  19. Dale Denison says:

    When I started my podcast in 9 month ago I had no intention of being on youtube but my podcast stagnated and wasn’t growing whatsoever no matter what I did. I posted on all major social media and my partner joined dozens of podcasting groups. Nothing worked. So as a Hail Mary I went on youtube and posted clips of our show with funny pictures pertaining to the subject and it started slowly working..Now we livestream on youtube and upload the audio to buzzsprout. We don’t want our faces on the internet so we use slideshows and yes still pictures but we had no choice. zero growth as a strict podcast and no livestream audio options at all. If I had my choice I’d be on an live audio site but none really exist. That said self-made you tubers will be a thing of the past as their purging anyone with spicy onions or even channels that swear. Youtube is becoming network tv but you’d be a fool to not utilize it now while the oven is hot. And no I don’t have a big channel at all but I get 3 to 4 times as many listens with comparable retention as on buzzsprout.

    1. I’m glad it’s working for you! I think the live-streaming you’re doing is a key part of that because you’re building a community. Mixlr, Spreaker, Castbox, and soon Podbean offer live audio-only streaming, but there’s not as much of a “party” already on those platforms.

      1. Dale Denison says:

        Thanks for the reply…Yea I may give Mixlr a try but to be fair to real serious podcasters I’m a hobbyist so advice from be is nothing more than an opinion and I have no desire to steer anyone in any particular direction.

  20. Thanks for the informative article, Daniel, and for taking the time to respond to comments years after you wrote it!

    I wanted to get some insight into this:

    “It reaches a non-podcast audience—True, but it’s reaching them so ineffectively, you might not see any positive results.”

    Are there any statistics you’re aware of that show podcast listeners and YouTube viewers are largely separate audiences? I’d love to know if there’s any available data on this.

    1. Hi, Geoffrey!

      Edison Research has done wide studies on podcast consumption and they’ve reported that most people listen to all or most of the podcast episodes they’re subscribed to. On YouTube, it’s already highly known that long videos don’t perform well, and the data I’ve seen from my own tests (shared above) show how poorly consumption is for long-form audio-only content on YouTube.

      Plus, I’ve heard that Joe Rogan, and some others, gets 10 times as many downloads for their podcasts as they get “views” on their YouTube videos. (And those “views” could be only 30 seconds.)

      Lastly, podcast hosting providers like Blubrry and Libsyn see trending data that confirms these other findings. Some podcast apps, Apple Podcasts being the most popular, will pause a subscription and stop downloading new episodes after a lack of engagement on a show (I think it’s 5 episodes). But that the audiences are continuing to download more than 5 episodes, and the audiences are growing, confirms that people are engaging with those episodes.

      Beyond that, I’d love to see Joe Rogan’s podcast analytics from Apple, Stitcher, and anywhere else that shows retention.

      1. Yes, the Edison Research survey is very helpful. You’re right, it does seem like the viewing/listening habits are very different between YouTube and podcasts, which is a strong clue they’re different audiences.

        Thank you for the helpful insight!

  21. Hey, it’s 2019 and I was searching for the youtube podcasting and I ended up upon your article. It was great to read about your research and it helps me out for understanding youtube and its policies and the flow of youtube. thank you very much for the great information you have shared.. Keep it up.

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