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Acast Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

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Acast Podcast Host: Review & Walkthrough

Acast calls itself ‘the home of podcasting’. It’s a hosting and distribution platform that helps podcasters to not only publish their content, but to monetize and grow their podcasting business. Self-proclaimed as the world’s leading independent podcast company, Acast has a lot to live up to. This guide walks you through Acast, what it’s got to offer, and whether it’s truly worth it. We also walk you through key workflows using Acast’s platform so you can get a good feel for whether it’s the right platform for you and your podcast. 

TL:DR 

  • Acast is a podcast hosting platform that helps you publish, manage and monetize your podcast. 
  • Create revenue with dynamic ad insertion, podcast subscriptions and listener donations
  • Acast has three pricing plans all of which include unlimited hosting and uploads
  • Acast is a great all-rounder that caters to podcasters at all stages of growth

How we’re reviewing Acast 

Before we jump into the details, we want to outline how we review podcast hosting platforms. We know that comparing different services can be difficult, which is why we’ve created a review framework comprising seven key factors: 

Pricing 

A top consideration when looking at a podcast hosting platform is price. We look at what range of price points a platform caters to and whether they’re offering value for money with the features that are on offer. 

Analytics 

Podcast analytics are key to giving podcasters key insights into how their content is performing and driving the growth of their audience. We look at what kinds of data a platform gives its members as well as how easy these insights are to action. 

Media Player 

An embeddable media player may feel like an unnecessary feature, but it actually allows creators to share their podcast beyond the major listening platforms on social media and their own website. We look for media players that are customizable and easy to use. 

File Hosting 

Though this isn’t a major dealbreaker for many podcasters, we look for platforms that are compatible with lossless file formats. This is because we believe podcasters shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to the quality of their audio. In addition, we also value platforms that cater to both audio and video podcasts. 

Distribution 

A podcast hosting platform should make distribution quick and easy. We look at how streamlined a platform makes the publication process and whether they have any tools in place that help you to submit to the major directories

Monetization 

For podcasters looking to create revenue out of their content,  a podcast host that has diverse and accessible monetization features is invaluable. We look at whether a platform has certain eligibility requirements as well as what kinds of monetization they cater to. 

Useability and Additional Features 

Finally, we assess how useable a platform this is. At the very least, we hope to see a straightforward and easy-to-navigate interface. But we also value streamlined UX/UI and any other features that actively improve the user experience.  

Acast: Quick Takeaways 

Quick summary: Acast is a hosting and distribution platform that caters to podcasters of all sizes. Using the platform, you can build out your monetization strategy via advertising, subscriptions, and donations. You’re also equipped with key features such as a media player and SEO website. 

Price: Three pricing plans: Free, Influencer and Ace. 

Acast USPs:

  • Acast+ create podcast subscriptions with different tiers. 
  • Dynamic insertion ads, monetize your podcasts and connect with global brands.
  • Acast memberships accept donations from your most dedicated listeners. 

What is Acast? 

Acast was founded in 2014 in Sweden. It is a hosting, distribution and advertising platform. It works with creators and advertisers in tandem within its podcast advertising ecosystem. According to the platform, to date they’ve paid more than £150 million direct to their podcasters. Acast app is the platform’s listening platform aimed at podcast audiences.  

How much does Acast cost? 

Starter - FREE

  • Unlimited hosting and downloads of episodes
  • Distribution to every podcast app and directory
  • Listener support - including paid subscriptions and donations 
  • Podcast website
  • Custom web player 
  • Advanced podcast analytics 
  • Switch quickly and easily to Acast from another host 

Influencer - $14.99 /month 

Starter plan + 

  • Make money through ads and sponsorships 
  • Automated integrations 
  • Headliner audio-to-video tool 
  • Customizable podcast website 

Ace - $29.99 / month 

All of the above + 

  • Team and network management 
  • Transcriptions 
  • Advanced support 

Advantages of Acast 

Easy distribution 

Publish your podcast to major platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify and Youtube. 

Easy social sharing 

Easily share your content to your social media platforms and use Acast’s integration with Headliner to create social-ready short videos that are perfect for promoting. 

Media Embed Player 

Customizable embeddable player so that you can share your podcast on your website or on social media. You can play around with the size, color, fonts, as well as the number and order of the episodes. Listeners are able to toggle the playback speed and choose to share your content on their own socials if they want.  

SEO podcast website

With Acast you’ll get a customizable podcast website that itis automatically optimized for search engine discovery. 

Acast Creator Network 

More established creators, networks or podcast publishers can consider joining the Acast creator network and benefit from bespoke marketing assistance and growth support. 

Unlimited storage and uploads 

You don’t need to worry about storage quotas or file size. Acast has no limits on how much you upload or store with them. 

24/7 customer support 

Even if you run into trouble, Acast offers 24/7 customer care and support in multiple languages. 

Monetization 

Monetize your podcast with ads, sponsorships, branded content, memberships and subscriptions. You can have a diverse range of revenue  streams that capitalize on all aspects of your content output. 

Well-pitched pricing plans 

Acast has a variety of pricing tiers pitched at different budgets and types of creators. Even the FREE plan comes with a powerful range of features that are a great starting point and if you’re looking to monetize, all you need to do is upgrade to the Influencer plan for $14.99/month. 

Transcription tool 

Acast has a transcription tool that enables you to create podcast transcriptions quickly and easily. This means creators can ensure their content is as accessible as possible, whilst also repurposing their podcast and bolstering their SEO. 

Disadvantages of Acast

No video podcasts 

Unfortunately, Acast is not currently compatible with video podcasting. If you’re looking to expand into visual podcasts or have already done so, you may want to look elsewhere. 

Lossy file formats and upload limit 

Acast only supports MP3 and M4A files and has an internal limit of 150 MB per upload. 

No creation capabilities 

Podcasters who are looking for a one-stop-shop podcast creator and host will have to look elsewhere. Though Acast has a strong offering on all fronts, it does not cater to the creation section of the podcasting journey. 

Charged per show 

It is possible to manage multiple shows from one account. However, you will be charged per show. 

Key features of Acast  

Acast + 

Acast enables you to create content that is exclusive to paying subscribers. It allows you to host and manage your private, paywall content in the same location as your regular content. Acast+ works with most podcast players (Apple Podcasts, Google and more), other than Spotify which does not currently support private podcast feeds. Which means that your listeners don’t have to experience any disruption in their experience if they want to become a paying subscriber. 

You’re able to customize your subscription tiers to fit you and your listeners. Offer your audience ad-free streams, early access and bonus content, whilst setting up a predictable and steady income stream. 

Note that Acast takes a 15% share of any income earned from subscribers. Further financial transactions are processed using Stripe which charges an additional 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction. 

Acast marketplace

Acast marketplace connects advertisers with Acast’s podcasters. You always have the final say when it comes to your podcast. This means you’re able to choose exactly where ads play during your content as well as the types of brands you do and don’t want to work with. 

There are no eligibility requirements to join Acast marketplace. That means that even fledgling podcasters can venture into advertising as a way to enhance their earnings. 

Acast is an all-rounder 

As we’ve seen, Acast pitches itself well at all levels. Its basic plan caters well to podcasters looking to get a taste of what Acast has to offer before fully committing, whilst the Influencer and Ace subscriptions accommodate podcasters looking to scale up and monetize. With unlimited storage and uploads, and a host of other powerful features, Acast is a safe bet for any podcaster on the hunt for their next podcast host. 

First look at Acast

The Acast dashboard is clean and simple. When you log in, you’ll see all your shows and three tabs: shows, monetize, and insights. 

If you click onto your show, you’ll see all your published episodes and you can toggle that show’s specific settings. 

Acast podcast hosting dashboard
Podcast show on Acast

How to get started with Acast (desktop)

Acast podcast host onboarding

Step 1: When you first sign up, you’ll be met with this screen. 

Step 2:  First you need to create a new show. Select ‘Create a new show’. If you’re migrating from another podcast host, follow the instructions below. 

Step 3: . Add your show’s details including its title and category.

Adding show details on Acast

Step 4: Go to your show and click ‘+ New Episode’ .

Adding a new episode on Acast

Step 5: Upload your recording.

Step 6: Fill out your episode’s information including its title, season and episode number, and any cover art. 

Step 7: Choose whether to publish now or schedule for later.

Podcast publishing settings on Acast

Step 8: If you’re monetizing, ensure to enter your ad markers. 

How to migrate your podcast to Acast 

Acast has a ‘smart migration tool’ that helps to retrieve all of your content. This aims to make the migration process as painless as possible. When you first make your account, hit ‘I want to import my existing show’ and follow the instructions. 

You can also reach out to Acast’s customer support for additional help or refer to one of their specific guides on their Help Center. 

How to distribute your podcast using Acast 

Acast makes the submission and distribution process easy. In your dashboard, click ‘distribution’, then select the listening platform you want to submit to from the list. 

Acast's options to choose where to distribute your podcast to.

Acast has detailed instructions for each platform. 

How to monetize your podcast using Acast

Acast Marketplace 

Work with well known brands to create new segments or fully branded episodes of your show. It’s available with any paid Acast plan. The only requirement is that you don't’ use any commercial music or ‘non-brand safe content’ in your podcast. 

In order to sign on to Acast Marketplace, you need to fill out this Ads Form. 

Inserting Ad Markers into your content 

In order to ensure that dynamically inserted ads blend seamlessly into your content, it’s essential that you take the time to insert ad-markers into your audio. There are three types of ad markers: pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll. 

Note that only podcasts over 10 minutes in length are eligible for mid-roll advertisements. 

You’ll find ad markers under publishing settings in your episode dashboard. You can play through your audio manually and pause when you find a good moment for an ad, or you can use Acast’s ‘snap to silent areas’ tool that automatically locates natural pauses in your audio. 

How to publish an episode with Acast + 

As we mentioned earlier, you’ll find all your management tools for Acast+ in your regular dashboard. 

There are two ways to put episodes aside for Acast+ audiences only. Either you can add specific episodes to one of your Acast+ tier in bulk or you can when you are in the regular publication workflow, you can assign it to the right tier. 

If you want to give your Acast+ subscribers early-access but later want your episode to publish as usual, you can use the change access tool. This enables you to put a certain episode behind a paywall for a set period of time before then releasing to your ‘general audience’. 

Acast Supporter

Acast supporter allows you to collect donations from your listeners. It’s available on all Acast plans. 

Note that all transactions are subject to a 12% charge plus Stripe’s transaction fees. 

Acast podcast analytics 

Log in to your Acast dashboard, navigate to your show and navigate to Insights. Here you’ll fix different sections that break down your podcast’s performance such as Overview, Performance, Behavior, Demographic, Listeners, Podcast Players, Location, Audience.

Under Listener you can track changes in your audience and monitor your reach (meaning the number of unique devices that have listened to your content). 

Under Audience you’ll find two different sections: ‘Followers’ and ‘Your Listeners Also Listen To’. You’ll be able to deep dive into your audience, understanding key demographics of age and gender, as well as insights into the other podcasts that your listeners are tuning into. 

In Podcast Players you’ll see data about which apps, websites and devices your listeners are using to access your podcast. 

In Location, you’ll find a world map that breaks down your audience by location. You can zoom in for more granular detail to find out which cities your audience are based in. 

In Performance, you’ll find comparisons between your episodes’ performance as well as your listen through rate, a key metric for understanding how engaged your audience is. 

Acast vs other podcast hosting platforms 

Acast vs Anchor 

Acast and Anchor are relatively evenly matched. Both offer unlimited storage and uploads, as well as strong monetization features. Perhaps the biggest difference is Anchor’s creation suite. Anchor takes podcasters all the way from creation to publication, whereas Acast only caters to hosting and distribution. In addition, Anchor’s platform is entirely free for all creators. 

Acast vs Soundcloud 

Soundcloud is built for a wide cross-section of audio creators whereas Acast is built specifically for podcasters and podcasts. The difference is palpable. Acast’s features and functionality clearly understand the needs of podcasters. Soundcloud might feel clunky or inefficient by comparison. 

Acast vs Podbean 

The biggest difference between these two platforms is that Podbean offers podcasters the ability to create their podcast using their app. That being said, its creation capabilities are not that extensive and the interface might appear quite dated or clunky to some users.

Acast vs Buzzsprout 

When comparing Buzzsprout and Acast it can be difficult to ascertain the stronger of the two. The most significant difference is the upload limits that Buzzsprout has on each of its subscription tiers. From this perspective, Acast offers substantialy more value for money. 

Final thoughts on Acast 

Acast is a solid all-rounder platform that really hits the mark. Whether you’re at the beginning of your podcasting journey or already have an established presence, Acast has a subscription plan and features that will cater to your every need. Acast’s most attractive offering is definitely its three-pronged monetization capabilities that allow creators to truly leverage the value of their content. The fact that the platform is so easy to use is just a nice bonus. 

FAQs about Acast 

Does Acast cost money?

Acast has a free plan that includes most of its functionality. If you want to monetize your podcast, however, you’ll need to upgrade to the Influencer plan. 

How do you use Acast?

Create an account, upload your first episode or migrate your content across. It’s extremely easy to get started. 

Is Acast a good podcast host?

It depends what you’re looking for. Some podcasters will be more discerning in what they’re looking for or have specific requirements. Acast performs strongly in most categories, however. 

How many podcasts are there on acast?

According to Acast, the platform hosts 40,000 shows. 

How do I get podcasts on Acast?

Easy. Make an account and start publishing! Simple as that. 

Want to read more on podcast hosting platforms? Check out our other reviews:

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