Captivate was launched in 2019, but this podcast hosting site has established itself as a reliable and high-quality service despite its young age.This is because it was created by podcasters (industry heavyweights Mark Asquith and Kieran McKeefery) for podcasters. People who know podcasting inside out designed an easy to use & manage platform where you can successfully distribute, promote, analyze and monetize your show. Thousands of podcasters, including Fincon, Entrepreneur, Harvard University, Cornell University, etc., have chosen Captivate for its functionality, reliability, and overall efficiency.
However, before you subscribe to any of the available podcast platforms on the market, you should clearly understand its features, pros, and cons, since it can make or break the success of your show. It’s the reason why I’ve written this Captivate podcast hosting review. After reading it, you’ll know whether Captivate suits your needs or you should continue your search. So, without further ado, let’s get to the details!
Let me start my Captivate review with the thing everybody is interested in – pricing plans.
The platform offers 3 clear plans:
- Personal – $17/mo, billed annually – includes 12.000 downloads per month.
- Professional – $44/mo, billed annually – includes 60.000 downloads per month.
- Business – $90/mo, billed annually – includes 150.000 downloads per month.
You pay only for downloads; other features and advanced tools are equally available for all pricing plans. That’s where Captivate stands out against many rivals out there – it’s very generous to its users! Plus, if you are only looking to get your feet in the water, there is a no-obligation 7-day demo for all tiers. Finally, no credit card is required – feel free to try before buying!
Another thing I like is that they’ll never stop your show if you exceed your monthly limit. However, if that happens 2 months in a row, customer support will contact you and offer to upgrade your plan.
And last but not least, Captivate provides a 25% discount across all tiers for educational institutions, students, recognized charitable organizations, and non-profit companies.
Statistics and analytics
To grow and monetize your show, you must deeply understand your audience. That’s where statistics and analytics come in handy.
Podcast stats can be tricky, but this is not the case with Captivate! Instead, Captivate analytics goes a step further than its competitors and provides different insights into your download rates and more, all of which are displayed in a clear, understandable way.
Expect to learn the following from your stats:
- Unique listeners data.
- Download overviews.
- Episode overviews.
- Averages of downloads over specific timeframes.
- Episode trends.
- Month-to-month view.
- Follower behavior.
- Performance comparison.
- Promotional stats.
You can entirely rely on Captivate analytics since it’s officially certified by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab, verifying that it complies with all industry criteria.
Distribution and directories
Podcast distribution is an essential aspect of podcasting. Making your program available in as many mediums as possible provides the ultimate opportunity to reach new followers worldwide from any gadget.
Captivate’s distribution center does everything to simplify the submission process to each directory (Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon, etc.) – all you need to do is just a few clicks.
You need a podcast website to make your show more visible and build closer relationships with your listeners. Thanks to Captivate’s integrated instruments, you’ll easily create your own site even if you have zero knowledge in this field. The host works wonderfully with WordPress and other website platforms using the Captivate embeddable podcast player.
No matter how many shows you run, with every Captivate-hosted show, you’ll get a completely free and straightforward-to-use website that looks great on any gadget.
But the #1 thing I like is that Captivate often adds new designs (templates) and tools so that you can customize your site.
Captivate podcast players are just gorgeous! Starting off, you can choose from 4 styles – Episode player, Latest episode player, Playlist player, and Collections player. All versions are entirely screenreader accessible, have a ton of helpful functions, and look fantastic on sites and social media. Even better, the players can be personalized for seamless brand integration with your podcast!
In addition to all necessary info for podcasters, Captivate players offer many valuable things for listeners, e.g., volume & skip controls, links, transcripts, share & donate buttons, and more.
Newsletter and sharing
You can easily share your episodes to places like Twitter or Facebook – each episode has a unique URL, just copy and paste it into your social network posts.
Furthermore, Captivate allows collecting email addresses for newsletters from your podcast site. You may integrate with AWeber or other email services using an HTML snippet.
Additionally, the platform offers incorporated opt-ins, giving you complete control over your lead magnet both within Captivate and your email service provider. Captivate automatically makes your email opt-in design seem excellent if you choose to attach an artwork along with it.
Captivate helps you market your show by empowering you with robust promotion tools, regardless of your pricing plan.
They launched professional-grade podcast network features that provide podcasters with additional data integration, cross-promotional advantages, and the potential to develop a single connected brand spanning many audio properties and content channels. You can create your own community or, as a business or agency, manage your customer network from a central location for reporting and cross-promotion.
The platform has also developed a whole new, ground-breaking feed drop tool that enables simple yet efficient podcast cross-promotion throughout your community. Feed drops allow you to syndicate episodes of one podcast to the feeds of others in your community, with title customizations, publish dates, and optional expiration periods.
Monetization is a vital part of every podcaster’s plan. I love Captivate because it gives complete access to various monetization tools, helping us – podcasters – generate revenue from our hobby.
Here’s what the platform offers:
- AMIE (Audio Monetization and Insertion Engine) – it’s Captivate’s internal dynamic content and ad insertion platform that provides podcasters with the simplest way to incorporate dynamic advertisements into episodes.
- Sponsor kit – this unique tool summarizes your podcast’s performance and essential contact information to any potential sponsors.
- Actual links to donation platforms like Patreon and PayPal are provided in the web player.
- You can make up mini audio courses and sell them to your followers.
Files and formats
Captivate is one of the very few hosting services that does not modify your files. Your audience downloads whatever you upload – no updates to file name, description, bitrates, or anything else.
It makes this platform a suitable choice for people creating highly produced programs like audio dramas or stylized documentaries. You are free to upload your soundscaped episodes in stereo at high bitrates.
The thing I like the most about Captivate is how generously it provides a ton of helpful, user-friendly features and tools that make podcasting simple and utterly entertaining.
- Captivate API – this feature makes it possible to connect third-party apps and services to your Captivate profile, making things even more enjoyable, productive, and straightforward!.
- Podcast team – whether you’re a novice or a professional, the platform allows you to build your podcast team, and each team member will have his/her own type of access.
- Captivate SyncTM – it’s a WordPress plugin that helps you synchronize your Captivate-hosted podcast to a WordPress site, either hosted via Podcast Websites or on your own server.
- Private podcasting – create premium content for your most dedicated followers or make up an internal podcast for your business needs.
- Dynamic show notes builder – helps you generate high-quality podcast notes, making releasing episodes faster and easier.
- Changelog – Captivate loves making new things for podcasters that help them evolve. A Changelog is a place where you can learn about all recent tool releases and upgrades.
The sky is the limit to your podcast growth with Captivate! I love this platform since it’s genuinely podcaster-oriented – while being intuitive and easily navigable, it gives all subscribers free access to various features, tools, and innovations. Unlike many rivals, Captivate is extremely generous! They give you everything they have, no matter your tier.
No doubt, Captivate is versatile, multifunctional and captivating with her respectful and caring attitude from the first sight.