For the past few months, Simplecast has been working diligently with a third-party auditing firm to achieve IAB Podcast Measurement Certification. While our Audience Insights are IAB compliant all the way back to June 2017, we didn’t yet have the IAB Tech Lab’s stamp of approval. Well, we’re proud to announce that Simplecast and the IAB have made it official–starting today, all Audience metrics have been audited, approved and certified by the IAB (we even got a seal)! 🍾 💌

As a company that has always obsessed over creators’ success, data and measurement standardization is a huge piece of that. Not only do you want to know those downloads are a legitimate listener but, even more so, held to a widely accepted system of accountability and measurement.

Why Certification?

While Simplecast has been in compliance with the IAB Podcast Measurement Guidelines for a while now, the guidelines to compliance leave room for podcast hosting and analytics platforms to make their own interpretations. The Certification program, on the other hand, creates a defined set of rules, while ensuring an independent third party audits every key line of code and its outcome. It’s basically the difference between a movie that’s “based on a true story,” and a documentary.

Certification allows for analytics, regardless of the podcast host, to be reported in a standardized way and verified by a third party. Standardized analytics opens the doors for creators, advertisers, brands, non-profits, and institutions to use consistent numbers that they can all trust.

For an individual creator, the IAB standard in podcasting removes a common problem seen in social media–are those 10K followers real people? And if so, are they really engaged and interacting? Is a video view on one platform the same as a video view on another? For networks, being able to reliably assess all of your shows and report on overall growth is a necessary facet of evaluating your company’s performance. If you’re creating a podcast for a brand, you must be able to trust that the numbers you’re delivering to the stakeholders best illustrate the value of podcasting in your organization.

Through our process of certification, we also rolled out the first of multiple new data points headed to your Simplecast Dashboard–the robust Unique Listeners measurement and comparison report.

What About My Numbers?

We know we’re not telling OG podcasters anything they don’t already know when we say that podcasting has been around for a long while and is growing at a breakneck pace. However, new creators, as well as advertisers, brands, non-profits, and other institutions outside of individual creators are taking notice–and for those creators and advertisers, we know that trusted data is a key for investing in audio. IAB Certification is one step towards growing podcasting as a media industry and a step that we’re, obviously, incredibly excited about.

Over the past year, as more podcast management platforms have become IAB certified, we’ve experienced each provider making core changes to the analytics they report. This has typically caused reported download numbers to decrease. While we wish it were not the case, Simplecast is not immune, either.

To achieve final certification we needed to further refine our repeat download period to a rolling 24-hour window. This change goes into effect today and sets our window-length the same as all other IAB-certified hosts. While achieving certification (and everything that comes along with it) is an industry-wide trend, we realize that change is tough.

However, this certification will additionally increase trust and confidence in a wave of new features headed to your Simplecast dashboard over the next few months. We’re on the verge of debuting our dynamic audio toolset (MAE), and our IAB certification will add integrity around the reports for the campaigns you run, whether for tracking your own self-promotion or reporting out to paid sponsors. Upcoming dashboard reports like streams vs. downloads, third party app retention, and even attribution reports will all be made more accurate through certification.

The shift in numbers that comes from certification is a band-aid we do not enjoy tearing off, but, for our customers, we hope it helps to know we’ve achieved the final stamp of approval, and there are no more band-aids left.

As always, our team is here to answer any and all of your questions with transparency. Reach out!