When you launch a new podcast, you’ll be asked to list it under one or more podcast categories, like “Health & Fitness” or “Business.” In this post, I’ve included the updated list of all the Apple Podcasts categories to help you choose. [Updated January 2021]
But more than that, I’m going to explain why your podcast category matters so much, and how it can affect your chances to hit the top 200 charts.
Full list of Apple Podcasts categories
Here is the most recent list of podcast categories listed in Apple, as of January 2021.
- Fashion & Beauty
- Performing Arts
- Visual Arts
- Comedy Interviews
- How To
- Language Learning
- Comedy Fiction
- Science Fiction
- Alternative Health
- Mental Health
- Education for Kids
- Pets & Animals
- Stories for Kids
- Animation & Manga
- Home & Garden
- Video Games
- Music Commentary
- Music History
- Music Interviews
- Business News
- Daily News
- Entertainment News
- News Commentary
- Sports News
- Tech News
- Earth Sciences
- Life Sciences
- Natural Sciences
- Social Sciences
- Personal Journals
- Places & Travel
- Fantasy Sports
- After Shows
- Film History
- Film Interviews
- Film Reviews
- TV Reviews
How to choose your podcast category
1. Go with the obvious choice
When in doubt, it’s always best to choose the category where most listeners would expect to find you. They may be browsing in their app looking for new shows, and if your podcast is about motherhood, you shouldn’t choose swimming just because you have one episode on the subject.
2. If possible, it’s better to choose a subcategory (rather than a parent podcast category)
You may notice that there are parent categories – like “Business” – and subcategories – like “Marketing.” In almost every case, it’s better to choose a subcategory rather than a parent category.
Why? The parent categories will be the most crowded, because they’re an umbrella category for everything underneath. For example, a podcast in “Business > Marketing” is actually in the “Business” parent category, too.
So if you do have the option, it’s better to choose a subcategory, which is both more descriptive and less crowded than the parents. Which means your chances of hitting the charts could be slightly higher.
(Some categories, like True Crime or Technology, have no subcategories.)
3. You can only chart in your primary podcast category
When you publish your podcast using your podcast hosting platform, most hosts will give you the opportunity to choose up to three categories for your show.
However, what most new hosts don’t realize is that the “First Category” – sometimes called the “Primary Category” – is the only one that you’re eligible to chart in for Apple Podcasts.
What are the most popular podcast categories?
In 2020, Dan Misener from Pacific Content analyzed the Apple Podcast categories to see which were the most crowded. At the time of his study (Feb 2020), the #1 category was Religion & Spirituality, and you can see the full breakdown visualized here:
Summary: which Apple Podcasts category should you choose?
Overall, I recommend choosing the subcategory that most closely matches your podcast’s topic as the first (primary) category for your podcast. If there’s not a fitting subcategory, then you’ll choose the best-fitting parent category.
However, if your podcast could fit equally in two different categories, it’s worth asking, “Which category is the least crowded?” To break the tie, I recommend setting the less popular category as your #1 choice, and the more popular option as #2.
Melissa Guller is the founder of Wit & Wire, where we help everyday experts become profitable course creators. She previously worked full-time for Ramit Sethi, Teachable, and General Assembly. Today, she shares simplified tech tutorials and modern marketing strategies through our blog, YouTube, and Wit & Wire Weekly newsletter