Why Reviews Matter (& Why They Don’t)

Listen to any podcast and you’ll probably hear the words “make sure to leave us a review and rate us 5 stars!” It’s a tried and trusted phrase that’s trotted out by podcasters without thinking.

The belief is that by having several 5 star reviews will help other people to find and therefore listen to it.

That belief is misguided though as ratings and reviews DO NOT help people to find your podcast.

Why reviews don’t help people find new podcasts

When was the last time you, as a podcaster, opened up your podcast app and were faced with a list of the top rated episodes and podcasts? You weren’t.

Yes, apps like Apple Podcasts have a chart that can be viewed but Apple have confirmed that reviews don’t make up the algorithm for deciding whether a podcast is placed at number 1 or number 101.

In a blog post, Apple said: 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.

So why do podcast presenters still ask you to leave a review?

Why are reviews and ratings useful?

While the reasons podcast presenters give for leaving a review may not be correct, rating and reviewing a podcast is still a good thing for podcasters to ask their audience to do.

Just like when you use Amazon to buy a new product, you will look at the reviews of a podcast to see what others think of it, before pressing play.

Having a list of positive reviews could well be the thing that convinces someone that your podcast is worth listening to.

What do good reviews do?

Good reviews show potential listeners that other people enjoy listening to your show.

They make you, as a podcaster, feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Provide you with free marketing content.

What do bad reviews do?

Bad reviews warn potential listeners off pressing play on your podcast.

They make podcasters feel bad and may even make them give up on producing their show.

How should you ask for new ratings and reviews?

The key, in my opinion, is to be honest with your listener.

Explain why them leaving a review of your podcast is a good thing for you and your podcast.

Something I’ve heard a lot recently is requests for 5 star reviews whilst saying that what you write in your review doesn’t matter. It definitely does.

Would you press play on a podcast with a bunch of listener reviews which all said it was rubbish? Of course not.

The Do’s and Dont’s of asking for reviews

Do ask your listener to leave you a review if they’ve enjoyed your podcast.

Don’t tell your listener that it doesn’t matter what the review says.

Do provide a link in your show notes/episode description to make it easy for people to leave a review where you want them to.

Don’t believe that having good reviews will mean extra downloads.

Do turn good reviews into promotional material like social media posts, website testimonials and maybe even merchandise.

Podcast reviews do matter

So don’t stop asking your listener to leave you a review. They do matter.

Tell your audience that by leaving a review and rating your podcast will help others see how much your podcast is loved by those that already listen.

People are much more likely to press play on a podcast with reviews that say it’s a good listen/the best podcast in the world/better than TV.

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