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Podcasts Get Interactive With New Q&A and Polls Features

September 30, 2021

Historically, podcasting has been a one-way street: creators publish shows and their audiences listen. But podcasting has the power to be a community-building medium, and at Spotify, we believe there can be more to the story. 

In order to achieve this community, creators and listeners need channels through which they can engage directly with the content and with each other. Today, just in time for International Podcast Day, Spotify and Anchor are powering new capabilities to help creators and listeners interact more deeply: Q&A and Polls.

These interactive enhancements will make it easier for listeners to engage with the people behind their favorite podcasts and for creators to hear from their fans and listeners—directly on Spotify. Q&A and Polls allow listeners to respond to short questions posed by the shows’ creators on podcast episode pages in the Spotify app. Starting today, these features are available to all Anchor creators and Spotify listeners in 160 markets around the world.

When we talked about this development at Stream On in February, we were testing Q&A and Polls with a select group of creators. Since then, thousands of creators have expressed interest in getting access to these features. In testing, we’ve seen creators use Q&A and Polls in a wide variety of ways: to get suggestions for future guests, to garner feedback on topic choice and format, and to create fun gamification that keeps listeners coming back to hear the hosts’ take on their responses.

“We have sought to create an engaged community of film lovers,” said Michael Tucker, host of Beyond The Screenplay. “All of the Spotify features have been absolutely incredible for bringing us closer to our audience. The Polls feature, in particular, is really helping us to shape the show’s future episodes.”

Here’s how it works: 

If a creator has chosen to post a question or poll for a specific episode, listeners will be able to find the question at the bottom of the episode page from their Spotify mobile app (whether iOS or Android). Depending on whether the creator chose an open-ended Q&A or a Poll, listeners can follow the prompt to respond in-app.

After responding to a Poll, listeners will then get to see how the entire audience of respondents voted and how their answer stacked up. For Q&A, listener responses will be delivered privately to the creator. Creators can then choose and pin specific featured responses that will appear publicly below the question (displaying the respondent’s Spotify username). For details on how the features work for creators, check out Anchor’s blog post.

We believe the future of podcasting is interactive. For too long, podcasting has been hindered by one-directional technology and a lack of format innovation. By building interactive functionality directly into our creation platform, Anchor, we’re able to break this mold and power more unique uses for audio. 

In addition to direct podcast interactivity such as Q&A and Polls, we’ve been rolling out a suite of products that create an all-in-one experience for audio creation and listening, from the Music + Talk content format, to the recently launched Podcast Subscriptions feature. Stay tuned as we continue to create tools to evolve how listeners engage with shows—and give creators greater control over their content.

Ready to dive right in and celebrate International Podcast Day? We’re making it simple to find the perfect show for you with our “Find the One” personalized quiz. Answer a handful of questions, and let us help you find your perfect podcast match.