Spotify's ongoing investments in the podcast-streaming side of its business helped boost podcast listening on its service by 200% last year. But today, only 16% of Spotify's monthly listeners are engaging with podcasts -- a number the company today hopes to nudge higher by redesigning the podcast side of its streaming app. The new layout now makes it easier to view information about podcasts and improves discovery of new shows.
In particular, Spotify has given podcast show trailers a more prominent position in its app.
Show trailers help podcasts find new listeners by offering a concise introduction to the podcast and its creators. A good trailer hooks listeners on the show's concept by selling its strengths, or even by offering a snippet of content that makes listeners hungry to hear more.
In the updated version of Spotify's app, these trailers are labeled "trailer" and are highlighted at the top of the episode list, separated from the content as Apple does in its own podcasts app.
The belief here is that listeners need an easier way to check out the different podcasts out there, without having to commit to full episodes. That's more important than ever as Spotify's podcast library expands. The app's catalog now has more than 700,000 podcasts across all sorts of topics -- a figure that's growing quickly. In January, Spotify was at the Consumer Electronics Show touting its "over 500,000" podcasts. By the time of this month's earnings, it was using the higher number.
Also to aid in discovery, Spotify is adding descriptive show categories underneath the show's description. These will be simple labels, like "true crime," "personal stories," "travel," "relationships" and more. This change is also focused on catching up with market leader Apple Podcasts, which already categorizes its podcasts in a similar way.
The other major change is to the landing page for podcast shows in Spotify, which are getting a revamp to be more readable at a glance.
The updated layout has moved the descriptions up to the top of the page, so you don't have to swipe on a show to read about it. Before, Spotify would display the podcast's thumbnail image at the top, and you'd swipe left to view the description. Now, the layout looks more like -- yes, you guessed it -- Apple Podcasts.
The combined changes do make Spotify's app more usable for podcast listening and discovery -- especially for people who are used to Apple Podcasts' design and layout but are now making the jump to Spotify. However, Spotify's real advantage in podcasts isn't just how it can mimic Apple's better design, but how it's catering to creators, investing in originals and exclusives, personalizing its recommendations and, now, its ads.
Spotify says the redesign is rolling out to its mobile app starting today.