Podcast analytics are the bane of the podcasting world.
We all know this, and we all lament this. Podcast analytics are practically non-existent; the choice between having some half decent analytics and broadcasting on iTunes is a tough one. Some people decide not to use Apple to distribute, but reasonably are killing their available traffic opportunities, even with the sad state of discovery on iTunes.
Many companies have tried to make a go of figuring out how to insert themselves into the Apple broadcasting situation, with some figuring out ways to offer limited analysis of listens, stream time and so on, but there’s nothing so far that’s been accurate in any form, and the Apple ecosystem is so limiting that it’s nearly impossible to develop without Apple on board.
But wait! Apple is going to play nice with podcast stats very soon.
Yes, you read that right. Apple is committed to releasing an update to iTunes in the next few months that should bring clarity and meaning to producers and hopefully get us all out of the dark ages and into the light.
You can read the details on Recode.net’s article by clicking here. Bottom line goes like this:
A new version of Apple’s podcast app will provide basic analytics to podcast creators, giving them the ability to see when podcast listeners play individual episodes, and — crucially — what part of individual episodes they listen to, which parts they skip over and when they bail out of an episode.
How will this affect podcast producers and their advertising dollars?
If you rely on advertising based on phantom numbers, you’re surely going to see a hit to those numbers. It’s nearly impossible to say how bad it will be, since almost everyone relies on phantom numbers. Those that work up ad rates based on numbers from their podcast file link will likely be hurt the most; they won’t be surprised, I’d wager, since they already know that their using bot traffic to inflate their numbers and generate income that might not really belong to them if we had better reporting and stats.
It will also be interesting to see what type of cottage industry software pops out to make the Apple data more transportable, for using with ad rate calculators and so on – I just cannot see the podcast producers giving advertisers access to their iTunes Connect accounts, nor do I think that screen shots sent out monthly is going to do it in many cases.
Big guys and little guys?
It will be incredibly interesting to find out whether or not some of the large, well advertised, podcasts will be taking a ratings hit, once they have their Apple numbers actually calculated into their overall totals. My guess is that we’ll see a drop in the totals, but probably not by nearly as much (percentage-wise, of course) as the little guys.
Just my opinion, it’s going to be a couple of months before we’ll know anything either way. First thing is the Apple needs to deliver the new podcast analytics on schedule, and then we all need to get in there and see what’s up.