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RedCircle Review & Walkthrough

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RedCircle Review & Walkthrough

RedCircle calls itself ‘the leading podcasting platform for independent creators’, offering podcasters unlimited hosting and quick distribution, alongside a high-power monetization suite. However, with limited functionality beyond distribution, monetization, and analytics, some podcasters may be left wanting more. This comprehensive review and walkthrough looks at RedCircle’s main features, how it works, and whether it really is the platform for all independent creators out there. 

TL:DR 

  • RedCircle, formerly SeedCast, is a podcast hosting platform that has a primary focus on monetization
  • RedCircle has four pricing plans ranging from the free Core plan up to Enterprise. 
  • Some of RedCircle’s unique features include RAP (its ad platform) and its cross-promotion marketplace
  • Podcasters are able to get paid quickly, monetize dynamically, and enjoy unlimited hosting on RedCircle.
  • RedCircle doesn’t support video podcasting or live streaming, takes a relatively big cut of your revenue, and doesn’t have any editing or creation functionality. 
  • RedCircle is best for podcasters whose main aim is to monetize their content. 

How we’re reviewing RedCircle 

Before we launch into the details, it’s helpful to introduce how we’re reviewing RedCircle and what factors we’re considering: 

Pricing 

Price is a major factor when it comes to podcast hosting platforms. We look closely at how much different services cost, what pricing structures and plans they offer, as well as relative value for money. 

Analytics 

Most podcasters nowadays like to get to grips with their podcast’s data, analytics, and insights. Different hosting platforms offer varying levels of analytics and stats looking at different elements of your podcast’s performance. So we consider how useful and actionable they are, as well as the quality of the information you have access to. 

File hosting (audio only, video and audio) 

We’re sticklers for quality, as most podcasters are. We look at what kinds of files different podcast hosting services can host - whether it’s audio-only or video and audio - as well as compatible file formats. 

Distribution 

Podcast hosting services aren’t just for holding your audio files, but for distributing them too. We look at how easy a service makes it to distribute your podcasts and to which platforms. 

Monetization 

For many podcasters, monetizing their podcast is a must. We consider the monetization options a service gives creators, how much of a cut they take, and how easy it is to get started. 

Useability & Additional Features

At the end of the day, your podcast host should be easy to use. We look for basic functionality that’s intuitive and user-friendly, as well as any additional and unique features that truly enhance the user experience. 

Media player 

Finally, we look at whether the hosting platform provides an easy-to-use and well-designed media player that allows creators to embed their podcast where they want, when they want. 

A quick look at RedCircle 

Quick summary: 

Formerly known as SeedCast, RedCircle was founded in 2018 by Mike Kadin and Jeremey Lermitte, both previously leaders of Uber’s Marketing Technology team. RedCircle is a hosting platform with an emphatic focus on growth and monetization for independent creators, especially known for its innovative approach to advertising and cross-promotion. It’s marketed as a one-stop shop for running your podcasting business. 

How much does RedCircle cost? 

RedCircle offers four different pricing plans with scaling features: Core, Growth, Pro, and Enterprise. 

RedCircle Core Plan - free 

  • Unlimited hosting & distribution 
  • Subscriptions & Exclusive content 
  • Listener Donations 
  • RAP programmatic/host-read ads
  • Dynamic insertion for RAP ads
  • Standard Analytics 
  • Podcast web page with “related shows” at the bottom  
  • Cannot customize ad category 
  • Customer support within 72 hours 

RedCircle Growth Plan -  $9/month

Everything in Core plan plus: 

  • Unlimited podcasts
  • Cross-promotion marketplace
  • Unlimited dynamic insertion 
  • Instant payouts 
  • Generate video for episodes
  • Ad-free podcast webpages - can remove “ad-related shows” 
  • Advanced analytics 

RedCircle Pro Plan - $30/month 

Everything in Growth plan plus: 

  • 5 customizable team seats for your production team 
  • Generate video w/one click distribution to Youtube 
  • Premium Analytics
  • Customer support within 24 hours and in-app support 

RedCircle Enterprise plan – for networks - pricing on request

Everything in pro plan plus: 

  • Unlimited customizable team seats
  • Dedicated account manager
  • The most comprehensive analytics for growth, revenue, and dynamic insertion
  • Dedicated support / in-app support 

Note: All plans have unlimited storage, bandwidth, number of episodes, and number of downloads and distribute automatically to major platforms 

RedCircle’s Unique Selling Propositions:

Here we’re looking at the additional features that make RedCircle stand out from other hosting platforms. In RedCircle’s case, it’s all about their monetization avenues and features. 

RedCircle Ad Platform 

RedCircle’s Ad Platform, known as RAP, is built to help creators monetize their work. It’s a technology-driven online marketplace that connects podcasters with advertising opportunities, and brands with podcasters. For creators, RAP completely streamlines the entire process of coordinating and securing advertising deals, making it easier than ever to sell segments of their audio. 

Brands and agencies choose to buy host-read or programmatic ads, gaining access to a whole network of independent podcasters on RedCircle’s platform. They’re able to quickly plan, launch, and monitor advertising campaigns (at scale), benefiting from the ability to optimize and A/B test ad formats, messaging, and show placement. The ability to communicate and feedback to creators directly through the marketplace means they can continually manage and enhance their campaign as they go. 

Note: host-read ads are currently only available in the US. 

Dynamic Insertion of Ads 

The dynamic insertion of ads makes podcasters’ lives easier without completely robbing them of control. RedCircle automatically creates audio blocks and insertion points where it inserts programmatic ads into your audio. However, you’re able to toggle and optimize where exactly the ads play, moving the ad, for example, to ensure it doesn’t cut you off mid-sentence. 

Cross-promotions Marketplace 

RedCircle’s cross-promotions marketplace creates a unique space for collaboration and co-sponsored growth between podcasters. You’re able to connect with like-minded creators and work together to grow your audiences. Start a partnership straight through the marketplace and launch joint campaigns. All you have to do is send over a proposal, upload your cross-promotion audio clips, and RedCircle will automatically dynamically insert your partner’s audio into your episodes and yours into theirs. 

Note: the cross-promotion marketplace is only available for the growth plan and above. 

RedCircle Studios 

RedCircle Studios offers a comprehensive podcast package comprising production support, podcasting equipment, strategic oversight, and branding assistance. Aimed at businesses, brands, or independent creators (with a budget) looking to break out into podcasting, but want a professional to help them get started. 

What’s the catch with RedCircle? 

Before choosing your podcast hosting platform, it’s good practice to investigate ‘the catch’. In terms of RedCircle, this means reading the fine print around the cut they take from any revenue you make. Here’s the breakdown: 

  • Whenever you get a listener donation, RedCircle takes 4.5% of the payout. 
  • RedCircle takes 12% of all podcast subscription payouts 
  • When you secure an advertising sponsorship through RedCircle, they take 30% of the payout 
  • RedCircle takes a 50% cut from all programmatic ads on your podcast, and a 30% cut of any host-read ads 

Also bear in mind that RedCircle uses Stripe for all payouts, meaning creators are party to their fees too: 2.9% plus $0.30 on every transaction, as well as $0.25 for transfers of your balance to your bank account. 

Advantages of Redcircle

Pricing to suit all budgets 

RedCircle’s tiered pricing system means that no podcaster is priced out of their service. Plus, as we saw, even the free plan enjoys a whole host of features. 

Get paid quickly 

Creators on every plan (other than the free one) are able to get instant payouts, getting paid within one business day through Stripe. 

Diverse Monetization Streams 

Podcasters can choose one or all of podcast subscriptions, donations, and advertising, helping them leverage their show as a revenue stream. 

Straightforward Interface 

RedCircle’s dashboard is to-the-point and very straightforward. Whilst there’s not necessarily any fancy UX/UI design, it’s extremely usable and functional, which is exactly what you need. 

Embeddable Media Player 

RedCircle offers its creators two types of embeddable media players: show-level and episode-level. The media player is easy to embed (simply copy and paste your unique code snippet), and you can choose to embed either your entire podcast where all your new episodes automatically populate or a single episode, according to your needs. 

In addition, depending on your pricing plan, you may have the ability to customize how your media player looks. 

Community and collaboration 

RedCircle’s cross-promotions marketplace and general emphasis on independent creators cultivate a real sense of community. The proactive encouragement for podcasters to work together for mutual benefit is something unique. 

Unlimited hosting  

As we mentioned earlier, regardless of which pricing plan you choose, you’ll get unlimited storage, bandwidth, and several episodes and downloads. That means even podcasters on a budget won’t be faced with frustrating upper limits or be coerced into upgrading their subscription. 

Good customer service 

RedCircle offers good customer service, especially as you move up their pricing plans. With the Pro plan enjoying a dedicated support team. 

Quick distribution 

RedCircle makes distributing your podcast to all major platforms quick, easy, and painless. 

In-depth analytics 

RedCircle offers podcasters in-depth insights into how their podcast is performing. You’ll have access to data on your downloads, revenue, and, depending on your pricing plan, dynamic insertions. More on RedCircle’s podcast analytics later. 

Team members 

Podcasters on the Pro Plan can have up to 5 team members on their account, whilst the enterprise plan has no limit. This means if you’ve got a whole production team working on your podcast, you’re able to invite them onto your account with customizable levels of access.

Disadvantages of RedCircle 

Though RedCircle performs well as a hosting platform and monetization tool, there are a couple of areas where it doesn’t quite hit the mark: 

Can’t live stream 

You cannot live stream using RedCircle. Though this might not be a dealbreaker for all podcasters, it’s a limitation that others may not be able to overlook. 

No video podcasts

RedCircle currently does not support video podcasts. Although RedCircle automatically uploads podcasts with over 1000 downloads per week to YouTube, this is only with a static image not with your own filmed footage. 

Can’t record or edit through the platform 

Although this isn’t a prerequisite for a podcast hosting platform, many other services do offer the ability to record and even edit your podcast recording in-app. For some podcasters, an ‘all-in-one’ experience means everything from recording audio all the way to publication. Using RedCircle means you’ll need additional recording and editing software. 

Big cut 

Though it depends on how you look at it, RedCircle arguably takes a relatively big cut of podcasters’ revenue. Though you get the benefit of a well-connected marketplace, with a 50% cut on programmatic ads, and a 30% cut on host-read ads, some podcasters may feel it’s more worthwhile securing deals independent of RedCircle. 

Only supports mp3 and m4a files 

For podcasters who are precious about their audio quality and file format, RedCircle’s use of lossy compression mp3 and m4a file formats may come as a disappointment. 

Maximum file size limit

RedCircle has a 200MB file size limit. If your recording exceeds this limit, you may have to lower the bitrate to be able to upload it to the platform. For some podcasters, this might be a deal-breaker. 

No mobile app 

Lastly, RedCircle does not currently have a mobile application. Again, though this isn’t a complete deal-breaker, it does mean that you don’t have the convenience of being able to access your analytics or publish your podcast from your mobile. 

Key features of RedCircle 

Let’s take a detailed look at some of RedCircle’s key features: 

RedCircle Ad Platform (RAP)

RAP is RedCircle’s one-stop shop for monetizing your show. As we briefly mentioned earlier, it’s a technology-driven marketplace that connects creators with either host-read or programmatic advertising opportunities. 

With both types of ads, podcasters are given full control over which of their episodes they want to monetize and at which points during the audio. Bear in mind that if you opt for host-read campaigns, you’ll have to juggle various deadlines to upload your audio and get it approved. 

Any podcast that has over 500 downloads a week can join RAP. 

Dynamic insertion technology

RedCircle’s Dynamic Ad Insertion technology automatically plays different ads in your episodes. This means that even episodes that you uploaded a while ago will enjoy fresh new ads every time they’re downloaded. 

Subscriptions 

Podcast subscriptions are a key revenue stream for creators in the know. With RedCircle, you’re able to put specific episodes, exclusive back catalogs, or even an entire show behind a subscription paywall that listeners have to pay to access. 

RedCircle gives you complete control over how much you charge for your subscription and exactly what you’re charging for. A subscription link will be automatically added to your show and episode notes to maximize conversions, and subscribers will be able to access their exclusive content from any major listening app. 

Donations 

Listener donations are another way for your audience to support you on either a one-off or recurring basis. You can choose to enable a donations link on your podcast’s RedCircle webpage and in your show notes. 

RedCircle is best for podcasters who want to monetize 

RedCircle is a monetization-focussed hosting platform. As we’ve seen, most of its features are geared toward streamlining the monetization process and equipping podcasters with the ability (and flexibility) to maximize their revenue streams. Without any creation and editing functionality, RedCircle is best for podcasters who want a sleek platform that helps them to make money from their show. 

How to use RedCircle: a full walkthrough 

First look at RedCircle’s dashboard

When you first sign up and log in to RedCircle, you’ll be met with two options: ‘Import a Podcast’ or ‘Start a New Podcast’. On the left-hand bar, you’ll see all your various tabs where you’ll find your analytics, the cross-promotion marketplace, ad platform, money, and more. 

RedCircle's dashboard.

How to create a new podcast using RedCircle

  1. Sign-up, log in, and verify your email. 
  2. On your dashboard, click ‘Create new podcast’.
  3. A pop-up will invite you to upload your podcast cover art, insert your podcast’s name, description, category, as well as the contact email, and show author. 
  4. If you click ‘More Options’, you can also fill out copyright info, language details, as well as a description specifically for Apple Podcasts. 
  5. When you’ve finished, click ‘Create’.

Creating a podcast on RedCircle.

How to migrate or import your podcast to RedCircle 

If your podcast is already hosted on another platform, you’ll need to migrate it to RedCircle: 

  1. On your dashboard, click ‘Import a Podcast’.  
  2. A pop-up will ask you to search for your podcast using its name. If it doesn’t show up, you can find it manually using your RSS feed URL. 
  3. Confirm that you have the rights to the podcast you’ve chosen and then click ‘import’
  4. Once you’ve imported, ensure to redirect your podcast. You’ll find podcast host-specific guides on both RedCircle and your previous host’s websites. Ensure to ‘verify’ the redirect when you’ve confirmed everything. 

Note, there are a few extra steps for Spotify: 

To ensure that RedCircle is able to access your show’s analytics from Spotify, make sure that you’ve claimed your podcast on Spotify for Podcasters. Once you’ve done so, confirm that Spotify has recognized that your hosting provider is RedCircle (it may show up as SeedCast). 

How to publish a podcast episode on RedCircle 

1. On the left-hand bar, click on the ‘Podcasts’ tab.

2. Choose the podcast that you want to upload an episode for. 

The Podcasts page on RedCircle's dashboard.

3. Once you’ve clicked through the podcast’s own page, click on ’Episodes’.

Adding an episode to a podcast on Redircle.

4. Click on ‘New episode’. Or, if this is the first episode you’ve ever uploaded, you can also click on ‘Create One’

Adding a new podcast episode on RedCircle

5. A pop-up will then invite you to upload your episode’s artwork, the audio file, and fill out its title, description, and publication date. 

Filling in the details of a podcast episode on RedCircle

6. Once you’re happy, click ‘Publish’.

Publishing a podcast on RedCircle

Distributing your podcast with RedCircle 

Once you’ve uploaded at least one episode, the ‘distribution’ option on your podcast’s individual page will become available to you. 

Note: RedCircle automatically manages your podcast’s distribution to RadioPublic and Google Podcasts. If you’ve got over 1000 downloads a week, it will also handle your show’s distribution to YouTube. 

1. Click ‘Distribution’.

The RedCircle Dashboard with different podcast features.

2. Then manually opt-in to the platforms you would like to distribute your podcast to. 

The Distribution page on RedCircle

3. Each platform has slightly different requirements, which RedCircle walks you through. Don’t forget that once you’ve listed your podcast on each platform, you’ll need to copy the URL of your show from that platform and paste it into the box highlighted by RedCircle. See below for an example of distributing to Amazon Music from RedCircle. 

Amazon requirements for distributing a podcast.

Analytics 

RedCircle’s analytics are broken down into three different tabs: Downloads, Revenue, and Dynamic Insertions. The downloads and revenue tabs are available for all users, whilst the dynamic insertion tab is only available to users who have opted into RAP programmatic ads. 

RedCircle analytics dashboard

Under Downloads, you’ll find eight different widgets that combine charts, visuals, and tabular data to give you an overview of how your podcast(s) is performing. You’re able to toggle between your podcasts, if you have more than one hosted on RedCircle, or choose to see aggregate data from all of them together. You can also select specific date ranges and episodes. 

The downloads analytics on RedCircle

RedCircle gives you specific insights into how episodes are performing, what listening apps your audience are downloading from, the type of device, and the OS. 

Note that RedCircle defines a ‘download as a user who has either downloaded or streamed at least a portion of your podcast episode. 

Under Revenue, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of your earnings, whether that’s from your host-read or programmatic ads, or your subscriptions. Again, as above, you’re able to toggle between podcasts or see aggregate data. 

Revenue Analytics on RedCircle

Under the Dynamic Insertions Tab, you’ll see an overview of the number of insertions across your podcast, as well as a breakdown of what sorts of ads these were. 

Dynamic Insertions tab on the RedCircle analytics page

How to Monetize your Podcast with RedCircle 

RedCircle podcasts are monetized in three ways: subscriptions, donations, and advertisements. 

As we mentioned, you need to have at least 500 downloads a week to join RAP. That being said, you can start accepting donations straight away. Click to the ‘money’ tab on your dashboard, and you’ll be met with a pop-up detailing how to get started. The first step is connecting your bank account using Stripe. 

Make Money from your Work popup on RedCircle

Final Review of RedCircle 

With no limits on episode uploads or bandwidth, as well as varied pricing plans, RedCircle performs relatively well as a podcast hosting platform. The in-depth analytics and the powerful monetization features are effectively designed to drive growth and help podcasters maximize their revenue. And their emphasis on independent creators and fostering co-collaboration in the form of their cross-promotion marketplace is highly commendable. That being said, with fairly basic functionality outside of monetization, as well as a lack of support for live streaming or video podcasting, it could be said that RedCircle doesn’t give a lot of podcasters the full creative freedom they’re seeking. Plus, with file size limits and exclusive compatibility with mp3 and m4a, podcasters may find themselves compromising on quality when using the platform.

Overall, RedCircle is a great and innovative platform for podcast monetization. However, if converting your podcast into a revenue stream isn’t your main purpose, this might not be the podcast host for you. 

FAQs about RedCircle 

Is RedCircle free? 

RedCircle has several different pricing plans for different budgets, including a totally free subscription. 

Does RedCircle have an app?

RedCircle does not have a mobile app currently. You can access your dashboard from your browser. 

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

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