YouTube’s podcast portal opens, optimizing discovery, recommendation, and search

The awaited opening of YouTube Podcasts has arrived, as announced on YouTube’s Twitter account.

Podcasts have long been posted to YouTube, of course, but until now there has not been a structured presentation of them, or promotion and discovery tools specifically for them.

YouTube itemizes these features like this:

  • Podcast-specific discovery and recommendation features, making it easier for your audience to find your podcast.
  • Official search cards.
  • The option to be featured on
  • Badges on your podcasts and videos.
  • Your podcast will be available to YouTube Music users.

For the most part, we see podcasts treated like the universe of non-podcast videoos, with subscription pages offering playlists, recommendations, and subscription (follow, not paid) options in a familiar layout. 

The podcast portal looks like this in our testing:

When we look down the page at podcast recommendations, they don’t seem aligned with our general YouTube usage; we deduce from this that some amount of podcast-specific listening is required to entrain YouTube’s preference algorithm.

Traditionalists will probably note that a service which lies outside of RSS distribution, as YouTube does, disqualifies it as a podcast service. But YouTube is not the only major podcast player willing to detach from RSS — Spotify-exclusive shows like The Joe Rogan Experience (arguably the world’s most successful online audio program) are likewise riding on their own private distribution rails.

Brad Hill