The average podcast length shrank by two minutes last year, but a fresh analysis of the millions of episodes available shows titles are getting longer. During the past decade, the average length of a podcast episode title has grown 31%, according to Dan Misener, head of audience development at Pacific Content. For episodes released in 2019, the median title length was 38 characters compared to 29 characters in 2010.
Minsener analyzed data from more than 23.2 million podcast episodes released between from June 2005 to January 2020, and taking into account all of the episodes released through the years he determined the median podcast episode title length is 36 characters. That’s roughly seven words in the English language.
In a blog post, Misener says that the distribution of podcast episode titles shows a drop in the number of shows at the 80- and 100-character marks, which he says suggests some of the big podcast companies have character limits on their episode titles. He also notes that some episodes in the sample were completely blank.
One reason shorter may be better, is that podcast apps often cutoff titles that run too long. That could make it difficult for a listener to quickly understand what an episode is about. But Misener points out that title writers also need to consider how search engines process the titles, which usually means getting relevant keywords and guest names into the title in order to ensure searches lead to the episode.
In an earlier post, Misener recommended that when an episode title is being drafted podcasters not only be descriptive but also consider framing the episode title as a thought-provoking question. “Use your episode title to make a promise that your episode will deliver on,” he said. He also advised against titles that are “too clever or cryptic” and said the show name in the title is simply redundant. Episode and season numbers can also be left off. Misener points out that information is in the show’s tags.
Last month Misener said that after reviewing metadata from more than 18.8 million podcast episodes published between June 2005 and November 2019, he has found the overall median length of an episode is now 36 minutes and 34 seconds. That’s nearly two minutes shorter than a year ago.