The word is out about podcasts. I recently attended the second edition of The Podcast Show in London and there was a collective feeling of awe at the speed at which the industry is growing.
We’re seeing more and more carefully thought out collaborations between brands and podcasts and the incentive is clear — being a guest on the right podcasts can help brands connect with their target audience and nudge them into their marketing funnel.
Rephonic is a database of over 2.5m podcasts with 350,000 of those using the guest format . We were curious to find out how podcasts with guests compare to podcasts in general so we took a look at some metrics.
- Podcasts with guests get more listeners on average
- They usually record longer episodes
- And tend to get more followers on social media
- Shows in certain categories perform better or worse if they take guests
⏱ Podcasts with guests tend to record longer episodes (as you might guess)
We first looked at episode duration to shed some light on the common assumption that podcasts with guests have longer episodes.
For podcasts with guests, we found the average episode length to be 44 minutes - 8 minutes longer than the average across all podcasts.
Given that episodes with guests are often free-flowing conversations around pre-arranged topics, it makes sense that they tend to be slightly longer in duration. During this time, guests have an opportunity to build a rapport with listeners that can be nurtured off-air.
👍 Podcasts with guests get slightly more followers on social media
We then looked at the average total social reach of podcasts on platforms like Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Patreon etc. and compared it to the average for podcasts in guest format .
The average social reach of shows in guest format is 10% higher than that of shows in general.
Episode promotion is key to getting people to listen and social media is one of the most effective ways to do this, so the size of a podcast’s social following is an important metric to consider when deciding which shows to pitch.
📈 Podcasts with guests get more listeners on average
We then took a look at Rephonic's estimated listener numbers and found that podcasts in guest format tend to have slightly larger audiences on average .
The average number of estimated weekly listeners across all podcasts is just over 5000, whereas for podcasts with guests its 6500. Obviously this is great news if you use podcast guesting to get the word out.
📰 Daily News and 🔭 Astronomy podcasts get more listeners if they take guests
Digging deeper, some categories tend to have higher average listener numbers when the shows are in guest format.
We looked at the average podcast listening figures for each Apple Podcasts category. We then compared them to the average listening figures for podcasts in guest format for the same category .
This chart shows the top five categories where having a guest format correlates with higher listener numbers.
Astronomy and Daily News podcasts that accept guest speakers have an audience three times larger than Astronomy and Daily News podcasts in general. Having said that, the choice of which shows to reach out to as a potential guest should be on a case-by-case basis as the number of listeners varies widely within each category.
Accepting guests also correlates with lower listener numbers for some podcast categories.
🔪 True Crime podcasts attract fewer listeners if they take guests
The five categories in the chart above tend not to do so well in guest format. Comedy Fiction, Language Learning, Drama and Natural Sciences podcasts with guests attract roughly half the number of listeners as podcasts in these categories do overall. True Crime podcasts do the worst but we found only five podcasts in guest format in this category.
Of course, some shows in guest format in these categories may attract a lot of listeners, so research is an important part of the guesting process.
Podcasts with guests are also the least common in the True Crime category
Unsurprisingly, the True Crime category has the lowest percentage of podcasts with guest speakers, at 0.04%.
We found only 5 out of 12,000 True Crime podcasts to be in the guest format so it’s probably not worth spending time reaching out to hosts to get interviewed - pitching as a sponsor may be a better idea in this case.
🎬 Podcasts with guests are most common in the Film Interviews category
On the other hand, some categories are more likely to take guests, with shows in the Film Interviews category coming out on top.
For potential guests who have identified their target customer to have an interest in one of these topics, there’s a much higher chance of finding the perfect show to appear on once other important factors such as gender skew and audience location have been taken into account.
Podcasts with guests seem to be a win-win for both hosts and guests given the exposure that they can provide, although you probably want to stay away from pitching yourself as a guest on True Crime podcasts.
When it comes to figuring out which shows to pitch, it’s crucial to work on an individual basis and research each podcast thoroughly.
Rephonic is a podcast database that helps brands, agencies, networks and hosts to discover shows in their niche and make better decisions about which ones to reach out to. If you’re looking to get featured as a guest or sponsor, get started for free and access listener numbers, contact info, gender skew and more for over 2.5 million podcasts.
 Rephonic uses automated Natural Language Processing to identify podcasts that accept guests and while it is usually very accurate, occasionally we may get it wrong.
 Rephonic finds associated podcast social accounts on various channels. Sometimes we don't find associated social accounts for a podcast, or link ones that are incorrect. Social reach is the number of subscribers and followers the podcast has across these channels.
 We scan various podcast listening apps for reviews and ratings and collate the data to find the total number of podcast reviews.
 Rephonic estimates the number of weekly listeners based on hundreds of publicly available data points that we gather about podcasts from all over the web. It is therefore not always 100% accurate.
 We looked at the average estimated number of listeners for all podcasts in each category and then the average estimated number of listeners for podcasts in the guest format in each category. We then calculated an index for each category to compare the two figures. An index of greater than 100 means there are more listeners on average in guest format than overall. An index of fewer than 100 means there are fewer listeners on average in guest format than overall.