Podcast vs YouTube: Why Both is (Usually) Best

What's the deal with the podcasts vs YouTube debate? Should you have one, both or neither? That's the question puzzling many content creators and brands these days.

Rephonic is a podcast database providing metrics and links to all publicly available podcasts. We're fascinated by the relationship between podcasting and YouTube, so we've researched some stats in a previous post.

This article will dive in deep with information on the similarities, differences and possibilities with podcasts and YouTube and the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is the best way to go.


Pros and cons of starting a podcast

Benefits of podcasting for businesses

Podcasts can be highly engaging, generating more website traffic for your brand. Here's why:

  • Podcasts are long-form content, and listeners tend to listen to a podcast right to the end. That allows time to explore ideas in more detail or over multiple episodes.
  • Fans enjoy podcasts because they're easy to listen to while doing something else.
  • Listeners feel a personal connection with a podcast host and, by extension, with their guests.
  • Listeners can consume podcasts while driving (a definite no-no with videos).
  • You can create content to connect your brand with your target audience.
  • You can build your authority as an expert.
  • Podcasts are relatively cheap to set up and run.
  • You can turn listeners into customers.
How long should your podcast episodes be? Read our article:
Podcast Episodes Are Getting Shorter
Turn listeners to customers

Disadvantages of podcasts

Podcasting does have a few cons, too.

  • It can take a long time to create a podcast episode.
  • You must publish podcast episodes consistently, which can sap your energy over time.
  • There's a ton of work involved in scriptwriting, finding guests, recording, editing, and releasing to all the platforms.
  • Podcasting lacks comprehensive analytics software, thanks to its scattered distribution methods.
  • Discoverability is woeful at the moment.
  • There's no visual component.
  • Most podcasts don't make money. Ads and sponsorship may cover costs, but they rarely provide an income.

Pros and cons of YouTube

It's relatively easy to start a YouTube channel without much tech knowledge.

Once you're set up, uploading video content is quick and painless. Then, once you gain traction, YouTube's algorithm can work in your favor by showing your videos to appropriate audiences.

YouTube podcast interview

Benefits of YouTube for businesses

  • Many businesses still don't have a YouTube channel yet, so you could have a real search advantage over your competition, depending on your industry.
  • Videos can be around for a long time, and younger generations are used to watching YouTube now.
  • It's easy to monetize with ads on YouTube channels, and because YouTube audiences are often larger than podcast audiences, more people will see the ads (which in turn creates more revenue.)
  • Fans will share your video, too. In effect, they do your marketing for you. A great example of that happens with Air New Zealand's epic safety videos. Air NZ posts these to their YouTube channel (which currently stands at 91.9K subscribers) so fans can easily share them on social media.
  • YouTube has excellent detailed analytics so you can measure the effectiveness of every video.
YouTube analytics

Drawbacks of YouTube

Naturally, YouTube has its cons, too. They include:

  • The amount of equipment needed - camera, microphone, lighting, and even clothing (so you look your best on camera.)
  • The time it takes to create good video content.
  • The commitment needed to put out content regularly.
  • You need excellent scriptwriting, camera, and editing skills to create good videos. If you can't do all these yourself, you'll need to hire an expert.
  • YouTube is a crowded space, and it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.
  • Viewers are easily distracted. YouTube is notorious for distracting viewers away from your channel and down a rabbit hole of similar content.
  • You have to work at marketing your video just as you do with podcasts.
  • It takes a lot of time to build a large audience, and negative reviews can damage your brand.
  • YouTube faces stiff competition from social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, as each has become a video-sharing platform in the past few years.

Should you video your podcast?

According to Podnews, YouTube has plans to provide podcasters with the analytics and discoverability that they currently lack. Indeed, when Rephonic looked into the podcast vs YouTube debate, we found that the number of searches for 'podcast' on YouTube is increasing dramatically.

Rephonic graph showing searches for 'podcast' on YouTube over time

As you can see from our graph, such searches have grown steadily since 2012. However, since the Covid pandemic began, there's been a massive upswing in searches for 'podcast' on YouTube. This graph suggests that now could be an excellent time to start videoing your podcast and uploading it to YouTube.

Now, it doesn't always make sense to start a podcast and a YouTube channel simultaneously, especially if you're a beginner at both. It's not always a case of "as many platforms as possible" being the best solution.

Why? Because there's a massive learning curve to get the skills required for each form of content. It's time-consuming, too, so you may not have the time for both.

Recording audio content means you have to get comfortable with the sound of your own voice as you talk into a microphone, which is something that many beginners struggle with at first. Then, you spend time learning editing skills or fork out money to pay for podcast editing.

Next, you have to market your podcast by getting it on multiple platforms, cross-promoting with other podcasters, etc.

And you need to be creating content consistently, week after week. Having a YouTube channel requires different skills on top of all that.

It can add a layer of complexity that's too much to handle at the start of your online business journey when you're likely to be time-poor and strapped for cash.

In this case, you're better off concentrating on one and having the other as your longer-term goal.

So, should you start a podcast or a YouTube channel?

There's a whole lot to consider when trying to answer the podcast vs YouTube quandary.

  • Podcasts are good for business, but so are YouTube videos.
  • Both require commitment and consistency - it can be hard to keep up with creating so much content, including show notes and thumbnails and the actual show.
  • A good microphone is essential for podcasting and making a YouTube video, but it's best to add a visual element when you post on YouTube.
  • YouTube videos are better at generating passive income through ads and have superior analytics and discoverability.
  • Podcasts are easier to start and can generate more audience connection. They're more convenient for listening while you're on the move. That's why podcast listeners are more likely to listen right to the end.
  • YouTube watch time sometimes declines after the first few minutes as viewers may be distracted by other enticing-looking videos on the side or called away from their screens.

However, if you have the right equipment, the time and the skills, it makes sense for most businesses to build an audience around audio and visual content. That allows you to appeal to those who prefer to listen and those who'd rather watch.

Start your research with Rephonic

We hope this blog post helped you understand the podcast vs YouTube debate better. If you decide to start a podcast, check out this research we did on how long your episodes should be.

If you're not yet ready to host your own podcast or YouTube channel, use Rephonic to find shows to be a guest on.

Guest interviews can generate fantastic PR for your business or product, giving the benefits of podcasting without the hassle.

So, what are you waiting for? Start your free trial today.

Lyn McNamee

Lyn McNamee

Writer at Rephonic

Find, pitch and get featured on podcasts

Rephonic gives you listener numbers, contacts, demographics and more across 2.5m+ podcasts.

Lyn McNamee

Lyn McNamee

Writer at Rephonic

Find, pitch and get
featured on podcasts

Rephonic gives you listener numbers, contacts, demographics and more across 2.5m+ podcasts.