Dan Misener: The mysterious case of the overlapping Apple Podcasts categories

Dan Misener is Head of Strategy and Audience Development at Pacific Content. This guest column was originally posted on the Pacific Content blog (on Medium)

A podcast neighbourhood graph of the top True Crime shows in Apple Podcasts (US)

  • True crime buddycasts (AKA “Wikipedia and a bottle of wine”)
  • Paranormal and supernatural true crime
  • Violent true crime
  • Non-violent true crime
  • Location-specific true crime (e.g. Canadian True Crime)

The value of assigning multiple categories

Every podcaster can assign their show one (or more) of Apple’s 100+ categories. Apple says:

Crunching the numbers

I wanted to understand the relative popularity of various combinations of categories among true crime shows in Apple Podcasts.

This works on other categories, too

Of course, this approach — breaking down a podcast category by examining secondary categories — works well outside true crime, too.

A wish 🤞

The more I dug into this data, the more I wish that secondary categories were more visible to listeners.

<itunes:category text="Science"/>
<itunes:category text="History"/>
<itunes:category text="Society &amp; Culture">
    <itunes:category text="Documentary"/>

Apple Podcasts displays a podcast’s primary category but doesn’t display secondary categories


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Dan Misener