New Research Reveals the Perfect Podcast Artwork Formula

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How important do you think your podcast artwork is for pulling in new listeners?

According to our Discovery Stats Survey, it’s pretty important. In fact, when listeners are choosing a new podcast to listen to, the tile artwork is even more important than the title. Yup, the podcast’s title.

And if that’s not surprising enough, respondents also cared more about artwork than whether they knew who the podcast presenter or guest was.

With this in mind, you might want to ask yourself: How much thought did you put into your tile artwork? Could it be time to refresh your podcast cover art?

The good news is, new research has emerged that could help you create the most engaging artwork possible for your podcast.

‘The Power of Podcast Tiles’: A Study

The study was conducted by a German market research agency called GfK. They used podcast data from the Dutch national public broadcaster, NPO (essentially, the Netherlands’ version of the BBC). 

To run the test, they took 20 existing NPO-owned podcast feeds and made alternative versions of each artwork, so they had both original artworks and edited versions included in the study.

The researchers used 12 alternative designs for the same podcast in the test. They showed the designs to more than 1,000 participants in sets of four, asking them to choose the version they liked best for each set.

Edited versions of the tiles included ones that did and didn’t show the host’s face, versions with and without the show’s title included and a version with and without colour.

To make sure that the test was fair and not based on the differences between individual podcast titles instead of their artwork, they used something called ‘Maximum Difference Scaling’. This is a technique marketers use to identify ‘the best’ option for things like logos and slogans by providing multiple different variations and respondents choose which they think are the best and worst options. 

So, What Is the Ideal Podcast Artwork Formula? 

crowd of people gathered together in shape of question mark

According to the research, the podcast tiles that were most popular with respondents all had the following elements in common:

  • They showed the name of the show
  • They had an image of the host
  • They included a publisher logo

So now the tough part: How to create podcast artwork that includes all these elements while keeping some visual simplicity!

This guide to creating podcast artwork will help you out.

Is This a Podcast Formula We Can Trust?

Stijn Roelofs at NPO Radio told us he thinks that, thanks to the broadcaster’s “huge portfolio” of podcasts, they’re able to gather some solid “evidence-based insights on what makes a great podcast tile”. 

“We believe that this research is the first of its kind and we continue to look into methods to give our creative teams concrete evidence on what can give a tile an edge in discoverability,” he said.  

However, it’s worth remembering that this study is specific to a Dutch listener market. With this in mind, Roelofs has said the company is keen to hear of similar studies if they’re being conducted in other countries. If a similar study like this emerges, this will tell us if the data is representative of a more global trend in podcasting discoverability preferences. 

If you have any information you’d like to share, reach out to Stijn on Linkedin.

Ready to give your podcast artwork a refresh? Use this guide to creating podcast cover art that catches new listeners’ eyes.