One of the most common feature requests we received over this year was to put your Spotify audience insights right in your dashboard.
You asked, and we delivered. Beginning with plays from August 23 on, you’re now able to report on listens from Spotify in your Dashboard! This is a big step forward for a few reasons. Let's look into how we're accomplishing this, why we decided on accuracy over speed, and what this means for upcoming features and audience metrics.
Why haven't I been able to see Spotify data in my Simplecast Dashboard alongside all other apps, browsers, and devices?
To answer this, it's best to understand how Spotify’s platform works with podcasts. Nearly every single podcast distribution platform and listening app streams directly from your podcasting host (in this case, Simplecast)–but Spotify doesn’t. Instead, when Spotify sees a change to your RSS feed, their platform automatically ingests the MP3 into their infrastructure. So, when someone clicks play on an episode in Spotify, it’s typically streaming from Spotify. Therefore, since we're not streaming the audio, our analytics engine is blind to the MP3 and the data behind it.
So Spotify has offered listener data in their dashboard for a while–why didn't Simplecast simply "import" it?
For the past few months, we’ve been working closely with the IAB Tech Lab to achieve certification. Because Spotify measures a listen with a different ruler than what the IAB recommends, we would not be able achieve IAB Certification, or claim to have IAB-compliant data, if we were to intermingle Simplecast data with Spotify’s dashboard numbers.
So what changed?
We've spent the past few months working directly with Spotify to gain something called "passthrough" for all shows and episodes delivered from Simplecast. Now, when a Spotify listener clicks play on an episode, the audio streams directly from Simplecast, allowing us to gather and report all the detailed listener information you're accustomed to. A huge win for podcasters on Simplecast.
One thing to note is that you may notice differences between your Dashboard's Spotify numbers and what you see in your Spotify Podcast Portal–typically Simplecast will be lower. This is because of the IAB-compliant filters we apply, in addition to our method of measuring downloads with our patent-pending tech.
This agreement with Spotify also paves the way for the upcoming debut of Simplecast MAE (Moveable Audio Engine), our powerful, creator-first dynamic audio platform. Because we'll be streaming data through Spotify, those listeners will receive non-static audio streams, just like all other apps.
Having Spotify numbers in your Simplecast Dashboard gives you a more holistic view of how your podcast is doing–with no need to manually maintain that spreadsheet. Whether you’re tracking your growth, pitching advertisers, or reporting on your show’s performance to your CMO, Simplecast now gives you more data in even less time.
(Btw, speaking of even less time, you’ll now have audience data from Spotify in your Simplecast Dashboard in real-time, versus seeing it the following day in Spotify.)
Podcasting is a busy business, so we invested a ton of time to save you the time–and hopefully a few headaches, too.