(...and how supporting an industry measurement standard is very good for your show)
As the new Simplecast dashboard rolls out, you’re in for a ton more than just a shiny rebrand. When you migrate to the new platform, your current (and historical!) analytics will be updated to be IAB compliant!
Look, we get it. If you’ve heard about podcast hosting platforms rolling out IAB-compliant stats, it probably hasn’t been in flattering conversations. Adopting the IAB’s guidelines, while important for accuracy and industry standardization, holds the Download/Listen to a higher standard, and nearly always causes a reduction in download counts. It doesn’t help that there have been alarmist articles, fumbled launches, and disappointing rollouts in the past. So we won’t sugar coat it: your download numbers may drop in the switch, because we’re now cutting out the bots, dupes and noise—so you get verified numbers set to a higher bar and an emerging industry standard
All that being said, we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think it’d make you more confident and successful as a podcast creator—and we’ll outline how and why below!
First things first: Interactive Advertising Who?
IAB stands for Interactive Advertising Bureau. It’s an organization that has worked towards creating a standard set of metrics to measure your podcast’s listening numbers. Because of the IAB’s standards, you won’t have the same headache that social media managers have when comparing a YouTube video view (:30 seconds) to a Facebook video view (:03 seconds), for example. You also won’t lay awake at night wondering if that spike in your numbers was real, or just a fluke. With IAB compliant stats, a download is a download is a download.
Why Will My Downloads Decrease?
So, should you expect a massacre of your download numbers? Nothing that extreme, thankfully. It is true your show’s download numbers will likely decline; with the degree on the drop will largely be based on the length of your episodes and the popularity of your show.
Let us explain a bit more: When a show is long, people don’t tend to listen to it in just one sitting. Instead, they may listen to a little during their morning commute to work, some more during lunch, and then again on the way home. In a non-compliant analytics dashboard, every time a person starts listening to your podcast again, it could be registered as unique download, but in reality, that’s all one person. The IAB aims to get rid of that noise. This ensures Simplecast is only registering your unique listeners, and not double—or triple—dipping downloads just because someone listens to your episode at different intervals throughout the day.
When your show is popular, there’s bound to be more noise surrounding it. Bots and search engines may download parts of your show. That activity inflates analytics. IAB requires that those auto, non-human downloads be canceled out. Yes, this makes your download numbers drop, but it’s keeping the true number of downloads intact.
Why Follow the IAB Standard?
Like we said, until IAB came along, it was hard to compare podcast analytics. Different shows had drastically different download numbers because of all the noise surrounding them. And some hosting platforms are better (or just more honest) about filtering out the noise in the downloads they report to their customers. So, before IAB standardization, it was really difficult to tell whether a show’s numbers were legit or how they compared to any other show. With the IAB standard, we are equalizing the playing field for podcasts of all sizes, across all IAB compliant hosting platforms.
As the podcasting industry matures, it is becoming more important for content creators to have a standardized way to report their stats. Not only does a standard practice even the playing field so podcasters can legitimately measure and track their own success, it makes it easier for sponsors and advertisers to know where to spend their money and how much to pay. It is now expected that creators looking to monetize are presenting legitimate numbers that aren’t artificially-inflated—hence the importance of making sure their stats reflect the IAB’s standard.
What Simplecast Is Doing
At Simplecast, we want to be ahead of the curve so that you can be, too. Not only are we implementing IAB compliance in the all-new Simplecast, we’re also actively in the process of becoming Certified by the IAB Tech Lab. The IAB and a third-party auditing team is checking our current compliance with their guidelines while auditing our data to ensure our system meets (and in many cases surpass) IAB’s guidelines.
To become IAB Certified, we first have to prove we are IAB-compliant. The IAB has outlined instructions for every podcast host to follow. To go above and beyond, we’ve decided to filter our data to ensure every download is valid. Simplecast is working to ensure every download counted in your analytics is a real, unique person. We strive to dig deeper to ensure only the necessary downloads are thrown out. We don't want to reduce or inflate your numbers; we just want to have the most accurate reporting possible.
Additionally, to prove we are a podcast technology company who takes analytics more seriously than our competitors, we have a new metric we’re developing—one of the first in the industry to offer it. This upcoming metric will provide a first-time look at unique listeners over a period of time set by you—imagine being able to tell potential advertisers that your listeners like your show so much they re-listen! We’re excited to unveil this innovative metric in the spring, so expect us to be sharing more over the next few weeks.
For our existing customers, when you migrate over to the all-new Simplecast, you’ll have all of your 1.0 listener data back to the date you launched your show with Simplecast. In addition, all of your listener data back to June 2017 (yep, nearly two year’s worth of historical data) will meet the IAB standard immediately after you migrate. Out of the box, you can feel confident when speaking about your data, because it’s trusted by the rest of the industry.