You’ve got your studio set up. The mic and headphones you selected are of the highest quality possible for podcasting. You’ve hired a producer for the editing, organizational and administrative aspects of your show.
But one critical question remains – what is the best day to publish a podcast?
In a crowded platform, the day you choose to release each episode of your podcast is a critical part of your marketing strategy. It can make the difference between your show getting those high download and streaming numbers that attract high-paying advertisers, or falling by the wayside alongside hundreds of others.
But it’s not just the day of the week that’s important.
As your audience grows and listeners wait with bated breath for the next installment, you’ll need to think about the time of day you choose to publish your podcast too.
Finding the best day and time to publish your podcast isn’t as simple as you might think, though. Of course, once it’s out there, it will always be available for new people to discover and for your existing audience to listen to again. But getting the release day right can help your audience grow bigger, faster, and offer your podcast to people who never even knew it existed.
We’ve put together some points to consider when deciding on the perfect publishing day and time for releasing your podcast. Getting that right will attract eager-eared listeners and make your show more appealing to brands looking to use it as a valuable advertising platform.
Table of Contents
What is the topic of your podcast?
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when thinking about what day would be best for publishing your podcast is what the topic of your show is. It may not seem like something important, but it can help with your show’s discoverability.
For example, if you’re making a recap podcast based around a television show, it would make sense to release each episode shortly after the show has aired and is still fresh in your listeners’ minds.
In this instance, your audience will have their views and opinions on the storyline from the most recent episode of the show. Their interest in your views and theories – and in sharing their own – will be hottest in the first few days after the show has aired.
It’s all about optimal timing. With that in mind, if the show hits TV screens on a Monday night, the very latest you’ll want to publish your podcast would be the Wednesday morning immediately after broadcast. After that, it begins to feel like you’ve missed the window on that episode.
The Working Week
But what about podcasts that cover other topics? The standard Monday to Friday working week is a good measure to use here for deciding what the best day of the week would be for publishing.
Early-weekday releases will be welcomed and appreciated by an audience looking for something they can listen to on their commute into the office after a work-free weekend. The morning commute is often an excellent time to release podcasts built around self-care and improvement when searches for these topics are likely to be higher. Your podcast can become must-listen content to inspire motivation and beat those Monday blues.
The mid-week, hump-day slump can often be remedied by the release of a comedy podcast on a Wednesday, giving your listeners a much-needed laugh and putting them in the mood for the fun times ahead.
As Friday closes the working week off, your audience will want to listen to something to help get them in the mood for the weekend. That makes Friday another peak day for releasing comedy podcasts. Podcasts dealing with specific entertainment topics like live music, art, or culture in your area belong on a Friday too. People looking for different things to do with their weekend might be inspired, while possibly persuading venues to become advertisers or offer discounts to your listeners.
Not everybody hits the nightlife on the weekend though. Friday is also a good day of the week to release podcasts offering information about mastering those DIY jobs your audience has been meaning to get around to doing. Gardening podcasts will be more successful on Friday, too, because your audience will have a free weekend ahead of them to make the most of your advice.
By knowing you’re releasing podcasts on a Friday, it can help you give bespoke advice to a gardening audience too, including localized weather forecasts for that weekend, or any discounts on offer at particular DIY or plant stores.
You may be surprised to hear this, but the weekend proved to be the most disappointing time in terms of episode download for the shows included in an analysis by Megaphone.
Sunday, followed by Saturday and Monday, generated a far lower response than the mid-week.
Again, knowing your podcast release day in advance helps you offer better content to listeners and possibly entice advertisers to take an interest in your podcast too.
Time of Day
The data shows 2 am is the most popular time for a show to go live, followed by 5 am and 11 pm.
According to Megaphone, overnight hours account for the six highest-volume release times and reflect the conventional wisdom that most people download and listen to podcasts in the morning, before or while commuting to work, school, or before running errands.
The analysis suggests that the best download timeslot is Tuesday at 5 am, with episodes publishing at that time generating an average download rate of 10,386 downloads per episode.
On the other hand, the most popular publishing timeslot is Wednesday at 2 am, with 809 episodes published during the study’s timeframe.
According to Megaphone, episodes performed better if released in the early hours, even at 4 am, when fewer episodes are published.
Based on Megaphone-hosted episodes published between April 2018 and March 2019 in the East Coast time zone, the most downloads per average episode were at 5 am on Tuesday, followed by 5 am on Friday, and 5 am on Thursday.
Likely, podcasts did well at this time and on these days because they were more likely to appear at the top of the list in a user’s podcast app when they woke in the morning and on their commute to work – when they’re most likely to be looking for something to listen to.
This theory is also supported because the most successful download time for afternoon episodes is in the 4 pm hour – just before the afternoon commute.
Most podcast apps tend to list the newest episodes higher up on a listener’s feed. However, on some apps, the algorithm relies on certain factors such as whether or not you’ve listened to that show lately – so newer episodes are not always shown to listeners if they’ve taken a break from a certain show.
However, on the whole, most apps do tend to list newer episodes higher up, so working on that assumption, it makes sense why the early morning slots see episodes downloaded more than later in the day.
Release times to avoid?
It’s worth noting that even popular publishing times don’t necessarily equal a high amount of downloads.
This seems to be true of the slot between 11 pm and 1 am, which – while popular – has significantly lower total downloads than the 2 am to 6 am time slot.
One reason for this is that by the time listeners wake up and scroll through their podcast app, episodes released during the night or the very early hours of the morning may be further down their lists than the episodes published at 5 am.
Needless to say, fewer people are going to be up and about looking for a podcast between 11 and 1 am – especially if they have to rise early for work.
Regardless of how much research you do, finding the perfect publishing day for your podcast will always be trial and error at the start. That means it’s essential to keep an eye on your analytics when starting.
Look at the time and day that your podcast is being downloaded or streamed the most, and then consider making this the day you release each episode. Ideally, release it slightly earlier than the point of peak download or stream, so people can have it ready to go at that most convenient time. Your audience can help guide the way, and will ultimately show you when they want to hear what you’ve got to say.
You can also use social media platforms and appropriate hashtags as a way to advertise your podcast and offer it to more ears. TV recap shows can use the corresponding hashtag for the show itself, while podcasts based around self-motivation can make great use of the #MondayMotivation hashtag. Get permission to hashtag your podcast with any advertisers too, and boost your audience that way.
If your head is a bit fried from all these times and dates, here’s the key information to take away from Megaphone’s analysis:
- The most popular day to publish a podcast on is Wednesday
- The most popular time slots are 2 am Wednesday, 2 am Tuesday, and 11 pm Tuesday
- Thursday has the most total downloads per average episode
- The hour with the most downloads per average episode is 5 am Tuesday, followed by 5 am Friday, and then 5 am Thursday
Of course, it’s important to note that these figures are off the back of one study and only show correlations between publishing times and downloads. Further study would need to be done to prove a causal relationship, which would be tested by the same podcast methodically changing its publishing day and time to see its impact on the number of downloads.
On the other hand, these figures make sense and compare to the basic logic regarding commute times and days of the week when people are more likely to listen to a podcast.
If you’re a middle-ground podcast looking to boost your downloads, and you’re currently releasing at different times or days of the week than those mentioned above, it can’t hurt to test out Megaphone’s theory.
As they say, release time and day have little effect on those with minimal numbers and those with massive numbers, so what’s the worst that can happen?