The Free Apple Podcast Embed Player…is it worth it?

Apple podcast website player

This email just came in from a client:

Is there any benefit to embed the Apple Podcast media player on my website vs Libsyn's?

NOTE: The Apple player is not displaying on mobile. This may be an incompatibility with my website theme.

What Apple's player looks like:

Here is the Libsyn Custom player:

And since we are comparing media players, below is Simple Podcast Press player combined with FuzeBox (premium players):

You may already have an answer by comparing the examples above, but let's go deeper into the discussion so you get the most out of the media player you use on your podcast website.

The importance of a podcast media player on your website

Reason #1: Rich Media

The main reason to put a podcast media player on your website it to show visitors that you have more than just a blog.

Rich media includes things like video, gifs, and audio players and makes visiting your site more engaging.

Reason #2: Organic Discovery of your Podcast

The second reason is to help people find your show.

Podcast apps are where most people consume podcasts, with less than 15% of listens happening on a computer (per Libsyn stats).

However, if someone were to organically find your show via your website, the discovery of a clickable media player might convert them to a listener.

Reason #3: SEO benefits

Maybe the most important but least effective are the SEO benefits of having a media player on your website.

Google like to see people staying on a web page for long periods of time. A visitor listening to your 30+ minute episode on your website tells Google the content is good and may begin to rank you higher in search results.

SUMMARY: You need a podcast player on your website

Despite the low conversion rates from organic search discovery and the possible SEO benefits, there is no reason NOT to put a media player on your website.

There are dozens of free media players, branded media players, and premium media players with extra benefits.

So how do you decide which to use? Let's look at the pros and cons of the three examples from above.

Apple Podcasts media player

Pros:

  • Free
  • Works on any website with html embed capability
  • Skip forward or backward buttons (during playback)

Cons:

  • You can't change the color scheme
  • Links only point to the Apple Podcasts directory / iTunes

Libsyn Custom Player

Pros:

  • Customize colors to match your website's color scheme
  • Skip forward/back buttons
  • Options to subscribe via other directories/apps
  • Options to share on social media channels

Cons:

  • Requires an ongoing paid Libsyn account

Simple Podcast Press Player with Fuzebox

Note: You don't have to use both, which I will explain in more depth later.

Pros:

  • Best looking
  • Large, customizable buttons for all kinds of
  • Tons of subscribe and sharing options CTAs
  • Clickable timestamps takes listener directly to that spot in the episode!

Cons:

  • Requires subscription
  • If you're crazy like me, it requires TWO subscriptions (Simple Podcast Press and Fuzebox)

There are even more crazy features I'm not even using in the examples above – mostly on the Fuzebox side.

SUMMARY OF PROS & CONS

Apple's player looks great and is free. However, it only directs people to Apple Podcasts. The walled garden prevents anyone using an Android, Chromebook, or even a simple Windows computer from being able to do anything more than just listen via that one media player.

Libsyn's Custom Player also looks great and helps visitors find your show in half a dozen podcast apps. However, you must be hosting your podcast on Libsyn to be able to use it.

Simple Podcast Press: Simple Podcast Press wins in the “providing additional functionality” category. Create your own subscribe buttons, customize the colors, create clickable timestamps, and it'll show you worldwide Apple Podcast reviews in your dashboard. The cons are the subscription model (but only $67 a year) and it only works on WordPress websites.

Note: Simple Podcast Press also allows you to overlay the look of the Fuzebox single track player, which is what I did in the examples above

Fuzebox also has some fantastic features like custom colors, clickable timestamps, and an email capture button. The biggest benefit is you get three types of players: Single-track (like our examples above), Full Player which shows all your recent episodes, and the “site-wide sticky player” which sits at the bottom or your website. Go see for yourself.

However, this one will also cost you $96-$144 per year (annual vs monthly) and only works on WordPress websites.

Others: There are many other options out there, including media players that come with website themes or even the PowerPress plugin, which may be the most popular free podcast plugin in the world.

Ask yourself these 3 questions

Before you decide on which media player to use on your podcast website:

  1. How important is it that your media player matches the theme of your site?
  2. What functionalities do you need for the best visitor experience?
  3. What does your budget allow?

I was lucky because I purchased the Simple Podcast Press and FuzeBox (formerly Pat Flynn's Smart Podcast Player) before they went to a subscription model. Since I retired my show in 2015, it wouldn't make sense for me to keep paying for media players when only a few dozen people listen via my website in a month. (I'd move to a free version – but replacing the players could take some time).

What other variables do you have in mind? Post it in the comments below and maybe I can help with your decision.

10 Best Practices for Glitch-Free Podcast Recordings