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Are you ready to read the ultimate Captivate podcast hosting review?
Captivate is often regarded as one of the best podcast hosting sites in the industry right now. And duly so. There’s a lot to love about them.
The company has been hosting podcasts since 2013, nearly a decade of operation into the industry. Couple that with their stellar customer service ???? that has been consistent throughout the years and you can see why Captivate has a loyal user base.
Advanced analytics and the focus on growing your podcasting brand are two of many premium features that Captivate offers its users.
I could go on and on in this intro, so I’ll cut the fat and tell you that Captivate is a solid podcast hosting site. ????
How solid? Well, let’s find out.
Captivate is one of the biggest names ???? in the podcast hosting industry. Although they haven’t been operating the longest, the quality of their services have cemented them as one of the best.
We’ll be going over everything there is to know about getting started with Captivate and what they have to offer. Disclaimer ahead, there’s a lot to go over here! But I’ve arranged everything in sections so you can skim through the details you’re looking for.
Everything should be succinct and easy to read too ???? , so have fun reading! Let me know if you think the writing needs improvement by hitting me up on the forums.
What Is Captivate?
A podcast hosting site that’s designed to grow your audience.
Being the ‘World’s Only Growth-Oriented Podcast Host’ is a slogan you’ll find on the front page of Captivate’s website. Publish your podcast and watch your number of listeners grow with your brand! Captivate has a ton of premium features ???? and tools to give you the best statistics, marketing strategies, and more.
For those of you who are new to podcasting, Captivate also has a 7-day free trial ⌚ to help you get off your feet. They also have a lot of useful blog posts to help you set up your podcast and get the best results off the bat.
Who is Captivate For?
Captivate is doing a lot of things right, but they’re particularly great at offering a platform for podcasters who want to publish as much content as they want. Their dashboard and interface is easy to use yet packed with powerful features. ????
Podcasting isn’t the hardest skill to learn, but there are a lot of analytics and tools that new podcasters encounter on their first day. However, Captivate does more than accommodate just newcomers. It’s a podcast hosting site that also keeps professionals equipped with the best tool on the market.
I’d recommend Captivate to podcasters who aren’t just looking to get started, but also for those who want a powerful host. Their pricing plans hit a lot of demographics, so whether you’re starting out in your room or have a whole studio, there’s something for you.
All of Captivate’s pricing plans offer unlimited storage, unlimited team members, advanced analytics, and more. I’ll talk more about this in the Pricing section down below.
How To Start Using Captivate
Getting started with Captivate is surprisingly simple. I’ve gone over the steps below to help you either set up a new show or migrate your podcast episodes to Captivate. If you’re really new to podcasting, then I suggest figuring out how to start a podcast first.
Setting Up A New Show
If you’re ready to make and set up your own show, then keep reading. Captivate makes it easy for beginners and professionals alike to completely set up their podcast in just a couple of minutes.
Keep in mind, you will have to provide your payment details. Captivate only offers a 7-day free trial and has no free plan. If you want a free plan, then here’s an article for the best free podcast hosting sites.
Captivate’s 7-day plan comes with all the perks you want from the payment plan you’re testing out.
Here’s how you can set up a new show with Captivate in 7 simple steps:
- First, go to Captivate’s website and homepage.
- Click on the Start Your 7-day Free Trial button at the top-right corner of your screen to register your account.
- Once you’ve successfully registered, click on Create a new podcast from the dashboard. There, you’ll be asked to fill in all the details for your podcast.
???? You can expect details like the podcast name, author name, email address, and whether or not it’s a private show. I suggest picking out a podcast name that’s catchy and relevant to your topic.
- From there, click on the button below that says Next: Podcast Cover Art to proceed.
???? You’ll be uploading your podcast cover art at this step, so make sure your cover looks presentable. Captivate ideally wants your image to be 3000×3000 pixels, with the minimum resolution being 1400×1400 pixels. While the resolution is big, Captivate’s recommended file size is anything less than 500 KB. Make your cover art eye-catching with bold colors and minimal texts. ????
- After that, click on the Next: Description And Categories button for the third step.
???? Your podcast description and category reflect everything first-time listeners need to know about your podcast. This is also how Captivate will be sorting your podcast in their database. Captivate asks for three categories from you: Main, Second, and Third. Pick the ones that cater to your niche but remain creative so your potential listeners have a bigger chance of finding you. ????
- Now, click on the Next: Setup Your Directory Settings button to add additional details about your show.
???? The directory settings focus on options that affect your listeners on more specific things, like your default publishing time or if your show has explicit language. Other settings include the maximum number of episodes per feed, whether your show is formatted with episodes or seasons, and what timezone your show is in.
- With that, press Next: Confirm Your Feed and all you have left to do is finalize your RSS feed. This feed is where your show is hosting and is live, the URL that you send over to podcast directories that you want to apply to for distribution.
That’s about it. That’s the 7-step process of creating a Captivate podcast from scratch!
Migrating To Captivate
Captivate is a great host for podcasters that want an unlimited plan.
Other hosting sites like Buzzsprout limit uploads by the hour. Podcasters who are looking to have some more freedom with upload storage have got something to find with Captivate.
Luckily, migrating to Captivate is very simple:
- Let’s start by going to Captivate’s website and homepage. Login to your account and go to your dashboard.
- From there, click on the Import Your Podcast button. That’ll open up the Current Feed URL page where you can paste your current RSS feed into the text box. At the same time, pick the current podcast host of your podcast among the list of choices. If you can’t find your current host, simply click on Other.
- After that, click on Next: Check Show Information. That’ll move you to another page where you can see all the details of the show you just posted. Make sure the show information is the correct one before clicking on the Next: Check Feed Settings button.
- You should be redirected to a page with all your podcast information. Again, this is basically where you check to see if the information is all correct. Once you’ve verified the info, click on Next: Set Up Your Feed URL.
- Lastly, you just need to create a new RSS Feed URL with a Captivate link.
Migrating your podcast over to Captivate is a really simple process. Although it takes a couple more steps than other podcast hosting sites, the extra steps are really just to help you confirm that your information is correct.
I talked about Captivate’s premium features, but I never expounded on how plentiful and powerful they are. I hope you’ve got yourself some popcorn, because this is going to be quite a journey.
Free Website Included
Users get a basic website with a landing page and the responsive web templates.
Captivate’s free website features aren’t comparable to a self-hosted website, but it holds its own against other hosting sites. For starters, you get a beautiful embed player ???? (more on that later, this deserves its own section) and three fully responsive WordPress templates.
If your podcast is composed of a team, you can insert short and personal bios of your team members on your website with ease. Your website can even receive emails ???? for your newsletters too, with email opt-ins.
No Changes to Your Files
Captivate does not alter the files you upload.
Unlike other hosts, Captivate leaves your uploaded files completely unaltered. ✌ The bit rate isn’t changed and neither is the file converted to a format that sacrifices quality for space. Whatever you upload to their site is the same file that your listeners download.
High-quality podcast producers definitely appreciate this flexibility, since there’s nothing more heathenous than editing a podcast file only to find it altered the moment you click upload. That being said though Captivate only supports mp3 audio files, ✋ so AAC users will have to convert.
The only time Captivate alters your file is if you update a raw mp4 or m4a format. Captivate will automatically convert that to mp3 and submit the audio as your podcast episode.
Unlimited Team Collaboration
Users have unlimited team members and collaborators at all price plans.
Team collaboration is a huge aspect that contributes to creating a successful podcast. Editors, publishers, producers—there are tons of roles that go behind getting every episode out and Captivate understands that.
Users have unlimited team members and collaborators, ???? all with varying customizable roles. You can assign roles like show manager, host, brand partner, producer, and editor to everyone in your team, so say goodbye to sharing login details.
Members of your podcast can even get their face and biographies plastered on the free website that comes with Captivate.
Captivate supports Podcasting 2.0 namespace tag.
Transcribing your podcasts is a very powerful tool. Not just to market your podcast as blogs, but also to keep your readers entertained while they listen through your episodes. Captivate supports direct feed transcription through three ways.
You can immediately edit ✍ your podcast and transcription through Descript, an audio editor that Captivate is integrated with. Once you upload your episode, both the audio file and transcription will be ready for your listeners.
The second way to get transcriptions is by uploading your own SRT file, which is super easy ???? with Captivate’s intuitive interface. Finally, you can also manually transcribe your episode through Captivate, either by writing it out or copy-pasting your transcription directly into Captivate.
Podcast apps require podcasters to follow a transcribing format, so that the transcription is viewed correctly. Below is the format template and an example of said format.
|Mako 00:59 |
You should check out the HustleHacker Forums!
Unlimited podcast with unlimited episodes
Captivate doesn’t put a halt on how many episodes you want to publish. You could be talking for hours every day and you’d still be allowed to publish more and create new podcasts. Regardless of your payment plan, all users have access to unlimited podcasts and episodes. ????
It’s good to note, however, that Captivate does draw the line in the number of downloads—more on that in the Pricing section. Podcasts that exceed their allowed number of downloads a month get a one-month grace period from Captivate, allowing 10 percent more downloads for that one month.
If you end up exceeding your number of downloads again the following month, then you’ll have to upgrade your plan to continue letting listeners download your episodes.
Create Private Podcasts
Users get members-only podcasts accessed through subscriptions.
Private podcasting with Captivate comes with all the packages, so everyone gets to host public shows. Producing private shows ???? are a great way to create exclusive content for patrons or long-time fans.
Members get to access the private show through paid subscriptions, but the subscriptions are limited depending on the payment tier you’re paying for. Again, we’ll talk more about that in the Pricing section below.
Captivate has a beautiful player with speed, CTAs, and affiliate functions.
It’s hard to get a podcast player wrong, but Captivate has me amazed with how many things they did right. First off, their podcast player looks stunning. Aside from just being powerful, you get to choose between several colors to match your site.
The player has a lot of features ????, like speed control, notes, a subscription and donation button, and more. The notable ones are the built-in Call-to-Actions (CTAs), which lets you direct listeners to wherever your CTA is pointing to. Newsletter? Blog? Update? You can have custom CTAs per episode player too.
Another one worth mentioning is that you can register to be a Captivate affiliate, and the Captivate logo in the player will turn into your referral link. Podcasters who register through your link will earn you some commission.
Lastly, you can embed players for specific episodes ????, the latest episodes, or episode playlists.
Zapier has integrated with Captivate.
Users who have a Zapier account can create zaps with Captivate. Zapier is like a tool ⚒ that creators use to automate certain steps into one zap. For example, if you wanted to publish an episode, you can automate Zapier to send updates through your newsletter when an episode is published.
Zapier does have a free plan.
WordPress Site Syncing using CaptivateSync
CaptivateSync is a WordPress plug-in to link your Captivate account and WordPress site together.
CaptivateSync is built so that podcasters can make changes to both Captivate or to their WordPress website through either medium. In short, both your account and WordPress site will be in sync ????, episode publishing, editing, or deleting.
Captivate went through a lot of effort to make sure CaptivateSync works with pre-built themes (themes that you buy on the store) and custom-built WordPress themes. CaptivateSync also works with different page builders as well ????, like Elementor and Beaver Builder.
Podcasters can use CaptivateSync to look at all their episodes and podcasts on WordPress. Each blog you publish through CaptivateSync will blend perfectly to your theme as well.
IAB Certified, Easy-To-Understand Podcast Statistics
Captivate has powerful yet easy-to-understand podcast analytics.
Figuring out who you’re talking to is a very powerful asset. You get to interact with your listeners more, talk about the trends happening in their areas, or know your demographic and adjust your content appropriately.
Captivate understands just how important this is and offers a very comprehensive view of your podcast’s statistics. ???? Below are all the IAB-certified analytics that Captivate has to offer and what they mean:
- Unique listener data — only counts listeners once that use the same IP address and same listening device, providing accurate listener results. Meaning if someone listens to an episode 12 times, Captivate only counts that as one listener.
- Geographic analytics — where your listeners are coming from around the world.
- Apps used to listen — the apps your listeners use to access your podcast.
- Episode performance comparison — compare episode performance side by side (number of downloads)
- Analytics averages snapshot — gets the average number of downloads across certain timeframes of your episodes.
- Trend analysis — check which episodes are trending and see the number of downloads.
- Web player consumption — see how much of your listeners use your web player.
- Web player replay data — collects the number of replays on your web player.
There are more in-depth nuances with each statistic, but I don’t want to plagiarize Captivate’s entire post. Here’s a link to their support page, where they have a complete breakdown of the statistics they have to offer.
Distribution & Directories
Captivates offers a semi-automatic process to publish your podcast on major podcast directories.
Distributing your podcast to the right directories is the best way to make your episodes accessible to the general public. Popular directories like Apple Podcasts or Spotify are two of the many distribution platforms ???? that you want to get into.
With Captivate, all you have to do is set up your podcast, publish an episode, and submit your podcast’s RSS feed URL to Captivate’s available podcast directories. Applying your podcast will have different processes depending on the directory, but the general steps are the same. Submitting your RSS feed URL.
Captivate currently distributes podcasts to:
- Apple Podcasts
- Amazon Music
- Google Podcasts
- Player FM
- Podcast Index
- Pocket Casts
- Podcast Addict
The list continually updates as Captivate adds more directories to their list. ????
Captivate has tools, tutorials, and videos to help users monetize their content.
Monetizing your content is the golden ticket to get into podcasting full-time. When your podcast pays for your bills, you can devote more time to research, prep, and editing quality episodes for your listeners.
Podcast hosting sites have varying approaches to this, but Captivate covers a lot. Additionally, Captivate doesn’t take fees from the money you earn. ???? Their extensive collection of tools and tutorials will turn any beginner into a capable expert in just a few weeks.
We’ll talk more about their monetization and promotion tools down below.
A support team with an almost omniscient presence and developer-like troubleshooting skills.
Captivate’s customer support team is as available as a modern-day pandemic. They’re available 24/7 ⏱ all throughout the week, and have dedicated hours on the weekend. A quick Google search and you’ll see a lot of excellent reviews for Captivate’s customer support team.
Not only are they timely to reply, but they’re also very helpful as well. You won’t be getting copy-pastes off the Captivate help section, but human responses that will filter out everything you’ve tried and give you solutions you may have missed.
Captivate Promotion Tools
Captivate proudly markets themselves as the only growth-oriented podcast host.
A podcast is nothing without its listeners. Promoting your podcast to mainstream audiences is a must-needed skill, especially for beginner podcasters who are just starting out. Captivate has a ton of promotion tools ???? that you can use to get our podcast in everyone’s feed.
Here’s all you need to know about how to do just that.
Built-In Call To Actions
Starting off with a basic but integral part of a promotion, call to actions. CTAs are, time and again, one of the best ways to get your target audience to do something for you. Whether you want them to subscribe, enroll in a course you’re offering, or watch your blog, a CTA increases the likelihood for your listeners to check out your link.
Captivate attaches a built-in CTA ???? to your embed player. What’s more? They attach two CTAs. You can set these CTAs to appear in every episode player, or use the Override feature and change the CTA into a custom link.
Single Subscription Marketing Link
Sending listeners a subscription link can be a huge chore, especially if you have to ask which podcast directory they listen to. Apple Podcasts? Google? Spotify?
The Single Subscription Link is a link that opens up a landing page to all your podcast directories. ???? You can say goodbye to curating dozens of links and figuring out which one to send. Captivate fixes that problem for you by providing you with just one Single Subscription Link.
Listeners who click the link are greeted with a fully responsive landing page with a list of all the apps and directories your podcast is in.
One-Click Sponsor Kit
Reaching out to sponsors takes more than just an email with a Hi and Yours Truly. While you might be a natural talent at talking to a microphone and keeping an audience interested, getting in touch with sponsorships might not be your forte.
Thankfully, the process is not only made simple, but it’s also made powerful with Captivate. Their Sponsor Kit is a PDF that you can send over to your potential sponsors ???? to impress and give them an overview of your podcast statistics. The PDF contains:
- Your last three episodes, together with their frequency
- The average downloads your entire show and independent episodes get. These are divided into 7 days, 28 days, 90 days, and all-time.
- Your Audience Avatar. Who your ideal audience and general listener base is made up of.
Although the stats alone make it a professional-looking and intimidating PDF, users only need to fill in one text box: The Audience Avatar. A quick 3-5 sentence explanation on who your audience is and your Sponsor Kit is good to go!
Collections are Captivate’s way of letting you make playlists, and here’s why they’re a godsend.
Attention is expensive. Playlists aren’t. Maybe your potential listeners can’t listen to you for a whole hour, but what if they can spare 30 minutes? What if you had a 30-minute playlist of some ‘Best of’ moments? A 30-minute Collection of your yearly highlights? You can create mini-courses ???????? too, like a Collection for your episodes that go over proactive topics.
Collections are a great way to make time for people who don’t have any.
AMIE (Coming Soon)
Audio Mastering & Integration Engine, or AMIE for short, is a premium feature that Captivate is actively working to bring to smaller podcasters.
The program is supposed to be an audio enhancement software as well as a dynamic content insertion feature. ???? These two are generally seen hand-in-hand with premium payment plans that large companies and podcast names subscribe to.
Captivate hopes to level the playing field and give small-time podcasters the same tool. AMIE has been worked on for months now, Captivate introduced them back in October, 2020.
As of this writing, AMIE is currently still in production and has not yet been released.
When it comes to pricing, Captivate is a premium service that goes toe-to-toe with other unlimited plans in the market.
However, Captivate does not have a free plan ???? at the moment, so that’s bad news. They do have a 7-day free trial ???? though, so if you’re interested, it’s definitely worth 168 hours of your time.
Captivate has a lot to offer its users and most of its features are unlocked right away from the cheapest plan. Features like unlimited uploads & storage, transcription support, and advanced IAB-certified analytics are unlocked immediately. Pretty much everything you’ve read so far is available for their cheapest payment plan.
I’ll highlight only the major differences below so you can understand which payment plan to subscribe to.
- Personal — $17 annual or $19 monthly — 12,000 monthly downloads, 150 private podcast subscribers.
- Professional — $44 annual or $49 monthly — 60,000 monthly downloads, 500 private podcast subscribers.
- Business — $90 annual or $99 monthly — 150,000 monthly downloads, 1,000 private podcast subscribers, unlocks host client podcast, network level analytics, custom analytic grouping, network website, and analytics API access.
Captivate Pros And Cons
|Why we love it ✅||Take note ❌|
|Unlimited uploads||A bit on the pricier side|
|Very active CEO presence on Reddit and YouTube||Has no free plan|
|Advanced tools and analytics|
|Starter plans access virtually the same features as their most premium plans|
Captivate is one of the best podcast hosting sites in the industry for podcasters all-around. Their pricing plans don’t withhold any major features, aside from some tools only accessible to their Business plan.
Besides that, you get premium tools, analytics, unlimited storage, unlimited team members, a private podcast, and tons more. Captivate is also very active with their blogs and CEO presence, who leads their YouTube channel.
All in all, it’s a solid choice.
What You Should Know About Captivate
- Which is better Podbean or Captivate?
Podbean is a better affordable option for beginners and has a ton of powerful features. They also have a free package. Captivate is better for everyone across the board who can afford their heftier price tag but more premium features.
- Is Captivate free?
Captivate does not have a free plan, however all their payment tiers come with a 7-day free trial. Their cheapest tier is at $17 annual or $19 a month and goes all the way up to the Business plan at $99 a month.
- Is Captivate good?
Captivate is a top player in the podcast hosting industry, providing great value, excellent service, and affordable plans. While they are on the premium side of things, it’s worth the benefits of getting premium tools and service.
- Does Captivate give you a website?
Yes, Captivate does give you a website regardless of your payment plan. The website can have dedicated sections for your team members, a newsletter, Captivate’s Email Opt-in feature, and your embed player.
- Should I use Captivate?
You should use Captivate if you’re looking for a powerful and reliable podcast hosting site. The team is very responsive and continues to post updates on their blog and YouTube channels.
You Might Also Ask
- What is captivate FM?
Captivate is a new podcast hosting site that launched in 2019 but has been operating with stellar performance ever since. They’re new but great and are centered on being the only growth-oriented hosting site in the business.
- What are the best platforms for podcasts?
The 5 best platforms for podcasts are Buzzsprout, Podbean, Captivate, Castos, and Transistor. These are five of the best podcast hosting sites in the business.
- How do you monetize Captivate?
You can monetize with Captivate by connecting to multiple third-party sponsors, affiliates, and advertisements, just to name a few. Captivate also has an extensive library of blogs and videos that users can use to learn how to monetize their podcast.
- Does Captivate have an app?
The Captivate website functions as the mobile app for you and your listener’s device. You can do this by using the Add to Home Screen feature on iOS and Android devices.
- Does Captivate support video?
Captivate does not support video podcasting as of writing this article. However, you can link videos through your podcast CTAs and make your listeners aware that you have a video version of your episodes.