Should you use Acast as your hosting provider? In this Acast review, we’ll discuss:
- Pricing: they offer a free tier, plus a free trial on paid tiers so you can start right away
- Interface: Clean, clear and straightforward
- Embedded players and Snippets make it easy to promote your show
- Transcription is included, in one pricing tier
- Dynamic ad insertion lets the podcast producer specify exactly where to place the ad, or use their “silence detector” and let AI pick the spot
- Carefuly considered bitrate standards provide audio consistency
- Coming soon: Acast+, offering listener support and engagement without a third-party platform
Acast cares about podcaster success. They want your show to be easy to find and share. They know that podcasters’ success reflects well on them. Not only that but also they make it easy for podcasters to monetize their shows through dynamic ads, crowdfunding, or both. They don’t limit how much audio you upload. Most importantly, they will help you monetize, and they care about how your podcast sounds.
Acast’s Pricing and Features
- Free: This tier has the basics. Unlimited uploads, basic analytics and a basic podcast website.
- Influencer: $14.99/month if you purchase a year in advance, otherwise $25/month. Includes a 14-day free trial, advanced analytics & website, integration with Patreon and monetization options. Your can easily submit your podcast to Amazon Music, Spotify and YouTube.
- Ace: All the bells & whistles. For $29.99/month (annually, or $40/month ) you get all this and transcription, without an additional fee. Plus, you get professional workshops, more customer support, and team and network management.
Starting with Acast
Like most podcast hosting services these days, Acast has an easy-to-use, minimalist interface. You can have many different podcasts under one account, even with the free tier. If you’re switching from another podcast host, you can import and validate an existing podcast by RSS feed. Or, you can start a new show.
Customer support is in knowledge base articles and by chat.
I enjoyed learning about Acast so much, I signed up for the 14-day free trial at the Ace level and made a placeholder podcast. This way, you can see screenshots of how the process works in this Acast review.
Users can click in the image window to go directly to Canva and make podcast cover art that fits podcast specs. Or, users can import their own (I did. Can you tell? I got my little brother to draw it for me).
You can insert dynamic audio clips at the beginning and/or the end of each episode. This is great if you have a special announcement or a limited-time offer for your followers.
Website and Sharing with Acast
The website they offer is pretty basic, but it helps you share your episodes easily. You can customize the colors or let it pick for you, and use their font or pick an option from Google Fonts. By default, the website includes its guide to How to Listen To A Podcast. It’s a great way to welcome people who are new to the medium. As Katie Rogers, their Head of Technical Account Management, described it, Acast wants to “convert samplers to listeners.”
You can include links to Facebook, Instagram, Patreon, Twitter, and whichever directories you choose.
Acast also has a customizable embedded audio player. This includes buttons so users can follow or share the podcast.
Acast’s Encoding & Sound Quality
Again, Acast wants you to sound great. They also want your files to download quickly for your listeners. Acast automatically optimizes your audio files so that not only do they sound good, but also they download easily for your audience. Your audio will sound as good as it did when you hit send.
For people who make audio drama and other multi-layered podcasts, this isn’t going to cramp your style. For example, The White Vault, one of the most immersive audio fiction podcasts on the Internet, uses Acast for hosting.
Promotion and Discovery
The Ace level includes transcription for no additional charge. It’s available for podcasts in English, Spanish, French, German, and Brazilian Portuguese. Not only does transcription make your podcast more accessible and easier to find, but also it lets you use a nifty Acast feature called Snippets. These are like audiograms; you make them within the transcript editing window. Select your text section, then pick the colors. These are a great way to make your podcast posts stand out on social media.
Monetization with Acast
Acast really stands out for the crowd in helping podcasters make their content and share it without a bruising. Users can ask for direct support, include ads, or integrate with crowdfunding platforms.
The easiest way to monetize with Acast is to set up the Supporter feature. This is a mobile-friendly page where people can send money directly to the creator. Users can customize the page by currency, welcome, and thank you messages. Acast takes a 15% flat fee, which covers processing and taxes. You don’t have to futz around with math, tiers, or international tax law. It’s a tip jar, and it blends in with your Acast website and episodes.
The dynamic content insertion puts the podcast producer in control. In each episode, you can mark the exact spot where you want Acast to insert your pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads down to the second. You use a colored slider along with an image of your episode’s waveform.
Acast also has a silence detector feature. They use AI to find a quiet spot in your audio and insert the ad there. Acast is committed to ads that sound so good that audiences won’t tune out. They know that podcasters are creative, and businesses and independent creatives can help each other out. For example, Adam Buxton’s podcast ads are unique, funny, and engaging; he’s a featured example of advertising with ACast.
Acast also integrates directly with Patreon, as easily as it integrates with Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re interested in Acast, and crowdfunding, you want to know about their current beta test for Acast+, which is only available by invitation for now. A good example of a podcast that’s testing Acast+ is The Tommy, Hector, and Laurita Podcast.
Acast+ helps podcasters manage their crowdfunding, exclusive content, social media cross-posting, and more, all within the hosting website.
Editor’s Note: Acast+ is here!
At last, Acast+ has finished beta testing! You can try Acast+now.
Acast’s analytics are pretty straightforward. The unique area is Acast’s “Audience” section. This shows you the age group and gender of folks who listen to your show if they use the Acast listening app. What’s particularly helpful is their “people who listened to your show also listened to…” section. This can help if you want to reach out to other podcasters for cross-promotion and building community.
I’d be remiss in my duties in creating this Acast review, as a podcast writer and a human being, if I didn’t show you this graphic. This screenshot shows the downloads by directory for my itty-bitty minimum-effort podcast, first published on the 16th of November.
Some people would say this is only ten downloads in a month across all platforms. Others would look at it and say, “It’s a star!” That’s why I’m a glass-half-full person.
Acast Review In A Nutshell
The idea of working on my podcast, streamlining my publishing, promotions, and monetization, all in one website makes me positively giddy. Add transcripts to this, and I’m even more excited.
I’ve paid more for hosting services to get what Acast offers, and this never included transcription. But, $29.99 a month with an annual commitment isn’t in every podcaster’s budget. Prices for media hosting vary widely. You can get Acast’s quality sound and ease of monetization and promotion at the Influencer level, without transcripts, for less money. If you’re making an audio drama or a tightly scripted show, you might not need to make separate transcripts.
In any case: Acast is a podcast host that has the motivation and tools to help podcasters grow. It’s more than worthy of your consideration.