Podcasts are steadily gaining popularity, so now's the time to tell your story in this format.
Anchor.fm by Spotify is one of many podcast hosting platforms that allow you to be seen across various podcasting directories. On top of this, it comes with a myriad of useful editing tools, distribution, and monetization.
So, in this review, we’ll look at everything Anchor has to offer. Let’s get started!
Anchor Review: About Anchor Podcasts
Like we just said in the intro, Anchor is a podcast hosting platform owned by Spotify. We don’t need to tell you that thanks to this, it has access to the most popular background music and podcast directory and streaming service in the world. As a result, it benefits from tons of unique integrations and insights. Not to mention, it simplifies the podcast recording and editing process, takes care of distribution for you, and offers a wide range of monetization methods.
Spotify bought Anchor in 2021 after it observed 1.2 million new podcasts on its platform. Since the purchase, Spotify's developed many new features, including the ability to sell podcast subscriptions, insert interactive polls, and a Q&A function.
Plus, unlike many other hosting platforms, Anchor is also a completely free podcast solution.
Anchor Review: Features
Now, let’s cut to the chase and explore Anchor's core features:
Hosting your own podcast with Anchor is completely free. Your episodes are hosted on a dedicated landing page, making it easy for listeners to browse all available episodes. In addition, there's no limit to how many hours of podcast content you can upload.
Anchor maintains audio quality at an even 256 kbps without compressing it. However, it does limit your file size upload to a maximum of 250MB. That said, only WAV source files achieve such large file sizes, and most podcasters don’t release episodes as a WAV. So these limitations shouldn’t be an issue for most podcasts below or around the two-hour mark.
However, keep this upload limit in mind for later when we discuss editing!
You'll want to distribute your podcast to as many podcast directories as possible to reach a wider audience. To do this, you have to submit your podcast to these networks individually to await their approval.
Anchor makes this incredibly easy by taking care of the submission process for you.
Then, once you're approved and upload new episodes, Anchor automatically syncs the content with the directories your podcast is listed.
The following directories are included:
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- Pocket Casts
- Amazon Music
One word of caution: This automated submission process occasionally runs into issues. For example, on Apple Podcasts, your podcast is listed under Anchor’s account, not your own. Unfortunately, this means you can’t view the stats accessible to your own Apple Podcasts Connect account.
Anchor provides valuable data to help you measure the success of your podcast. For example, you can see which apps attract the most listeners, which devices they use, where in the world listeners are based, how old they are, and what gender they are.
Spotify provides even more detailed insights, such as when listeners drop off in an episode. This can help you determine which content your audience is most interested in so that you can gear more towards their interests in future episodes.
Recording and Editing
A neat feature that sets Anchor apart from competitors like Buzzsprout is its in-built recording and editing functionality. You can record your podcast on the go, on a desktop, and even simultaneously with other creators and co-hosts. You can also send invites to other podcasters to send you audio snippets to include in your podcast episodes.
Once you have your recordings, you can rearrange segments and choose Spotify music to accompany your spoken word. You can also schedule advertisement slots into your content, which later can be automatically filled with ad rolls from possible sponsors.
However, the editor has some limitations that still make professional podcast editing software a necessity. For instance, you can only record M4A formats with lower quality, 32 bytes per second. In addition, the file upload limit can feel like a more significant restriction here if you’re trying to edit down larger files and the editor feels clunky in places. Overall, you can’t achieve overly detailed or advanced work, but it’s a good feature for quick, on-the-go edits.
Anchor enables you to charge a subscription fee for listeners to access your podcasts. You can ask for recurring payments every month or year and set your own pricing. In addition, you can simply toggle new episodes to “subscription only” to ensure that only paying listeners can access the content.
You can also accept listener support via a “Support this podcast” button on your anchor landing page. This way, users that love your podcast can pledge a small monthly donation of their own choosing.
Finally, the platform also offers monetization through the ‘Ads by Anchor' platform. This system connects eligible podcasts with potential sponsors, empowering creators to run ads in their content to make some extra income.
There are three types of ads:
- Ambassador ads: Here, you can spread the word about ‘Ads by Anchor.' Podcasters with 50 regular listeners are eligible to benefit from this type of ad content.
- Automated ads: These are ads from third-party brands. You can opt to let these promotions play during scheduled ad breaks. Anchor uses the Spotify Audience network to automatically play relevant ads to your target audience who might be interested in the product. Any creator can apply to play automated ads. However, there's a waiting list because the feature is still in development.
- Premium sponsorships: These are only available to the highest-performing podcasts with elevated engagement. Anchor will notify you if you're eligible to participate in premium sponsorships and offer sponsorship deals accordingly with specific brands.
While Anchor’s monetization method is simple and streamlined, it’s hard to make a lot of money from this. You roughly earn about $15 CPM, which translates into $15 per every thousand downloads.
Another downside is that Ads by Anchor are only available in the US. But, nothing is holding you back from getting in touch with brands yourself to get affiliate links or find sponsorship deals.
One new Anchor feature is its interactive polls and Q&A functionality. You can now ask questions during your podcast both on browser and mobile and allow listeners to drop answers into the Spotify app. This is excellent if you're looking to engage your audience in discussions, gain insightful data, and build a more active community with your brand at the center.
Anchor Review: Pricing
We’ll keep this short because there isn’t much to say. First, Anchor is completely free to use! You can host as many podcast episodes on this platform as you want. But, keep in mind you won’t get your own custom URL, so the credibility and branding of your site are somewhat limited.
Also, Anchor takes a small percentage of any money you make through its monetization methods. This means they only get paid when you get paid, and they won’t touch any revenue you earn through third-party sponsors and donations. In addition, Anchor takes 5% of your subscription earnings and donations.
Anchor Review: Customer Support
You can reach Anchor’s customer support team via their ticketing system, and they’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can rely on self-help documentation to answer your questions. In addition, the help center includes tips on getting started and creating your podcast and FAQs.
Anchor Review: Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve taken a look at all of Anchor’s key components, let’s review its key benefits and drawbacks in summary.
- Anchor is completely free to use
- You can sell podcasts as subscriptions
- You can automatically distribute your episodes to a wide range of podcast directories
- You'll receive in-depth Spotify analytics
- You can use Spotify music in your podcasts
- You can record and edit podcasts within the Anchor app
- Various monetization methods are available, such as subscriptions, listener support, and sponsorships.
- There's an interactive Q&A feature that's great for boosting listener engagement.
- Ease of use is a priority
- You can’t customize your landing page or include your own custom domain
- Monetization isn't available outside of the US
- The editor is a little clunky and comes with multiple limitations
- Anchor doesn’t provide as much in the way of live support compared to some of its competitors.
Anchor Review: FAQ
Before we wrap up this Anchor review, let's answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this platform:
Should I use Anchor?
Whether Anchor is suitable for you depends on your needs as a podcaster and which stage of your podcasting journey you're at. As a free service, it comes with limitations like limited control over your branding, presentation, and limited customer support.
So, if you are podcasting for your brand or business, you might like to look at paid alternatives that offer a little more control. However, beginners will find Anchor immensely useful, especially if they don’t have the budget for their passion project yet.
Is Anchor a good podcast host?
Anchor provides good quality hosting. It lets you upload your audio files at high quality without trouble. In addition, there's no limit to how many episodes you can host or how long they can be, so long as the files are smaller than 250 MB.
Does Anchor own your podcast?
No! Anchor doesn’t have ownership of your content. You own your podcast and are free to choose where you publish it. You can also decide if, when, and how to monetize your podcast. Anchor doesn't claim any profits from the profits you generate outside of its own service.
Anchor merely retains the rights to edit, modify, and aggregate your podcast to convert it into an RSS feed to host online. They also have the right to distribute, display and perform your podcast to distribute your episodes to major platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify on your behalf.
Our Final Thoughts On Anchor
If you’re looking for a genuinely free hosting platform for your podcasts, Anchor is a fantastic option. The podcast hosting and creation tool provides an impressive range of features that help you create high-quality content. It's also easy to distribute your content to various podcasting networks. In addition, its close partnership with Spotify means you benefit from many crossovers with the popular music app, including access to Spotify's analytics and music.
Plus, its eclectic monetization methods make it possible to earn money with your podcast. Anchor only takes a small percentage of your revenue so that most of your earnings flow into your own pocket.
The biggest downsides of Anchor are that you can’t customize your landing page or domain. This means that businesses with a strong brand might find the platform too limiting.
So, there you have it; we've made it to the end of our Anchor review! Are you thinking of giving Anchor a go? Let us know in the comments below what convinced you to sign up and how you find it! Is this the best podcast solution for you? Or are you considering alternative hosting services like Podbean?