Stats Overhaul, IAB Compliance And Your Podcast’s Stats: Libsyn Company Announcement

Libsyn is announcing a stats update today that is a part of our preparation for a larger stats update planned for December.

The stats system is being redesigned to allow for IAB compliance, new features and the future expansion of stats reporting.

If you want to listen to this announcement, click play below: announcement from Elsie Escobar our Community Manager and commentary by Rob Walch our VP of Podcaster Relations.

Coming in December: New Stats System

The stats system is being redesigned to allow for IAB compliance, new features and the future expansion of stats reporting.
The company has been working towards Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Podcast Measurement compliance with a conversion to reporting daily unique downloads. In order to make this change, stats processing is being overhauled. This will position stats reporting for future growth, changing consumption patterns and advertising measurement. Additionally, libsyn will upgrade the stats reporting interface and add new features.

Why are we changing our stats reporting?

Podcasting has evolved over the last 10+ years with episode lengths increasing to over an hour or more and a shift to listening on mobile devices via progressive download. Technology has changed where and how podcasts are consumed. Our stats system needed to change too. Not only do we want to provide industry standard measurement of downloads but be best positioned for future changes and opportunities from client side reporting.

How will stats be affected?

With the current system, we can get close to IAB compliance, but not all the way. A new approach, new hardware and new software are required to get us there and also continue to provide you with the close to real time stats reporting you have always enjoyed with libsyn. To accommodate this change and to provide our producers with stats reporting that is as close as possible to what they will see with the daily unique numbers, we have begun making changes to our existing stats.

In August, the first sets of changes were made to stats processing in preparation for reporting daily uniques. On Sept 18th, we will be making another significant change that will bring downloads to within 2–5% of the daily unique number being rolled out in December. Making the change to stats now will allow producers to see the impact of the daily unique number on downloads and reduce uncertainty in the interim.

In December, the daily unique number will be shown alongside the stats numbers and will have a month’s worth of historical data loaded.  Producers will be able to review their stats and compare apples to apples. Along with the daily unique number, libsyn will roll out a new interface for stats reporting and new features. We will be talking about those on libsyn’s podcast, The Feed and the libsyn blog.

What will happen to download numbers?

The IAB metrics (developed with industry participation including that from libsyn) were designed to address the definition of a download that is consistent across the industry. Currently, each company uses a slightly different algorithm to measure downloads. There is agreement that with these various approaches to stats, there is and will be some variation due to multiple use cases. Streaming behavior or progressive downloads account for some of that as does “rogue” technology which can artificially inflate audience numbers like bots, sampling, pre-load players or pages, and ill-behaving podcast apps- and the larger the media file the greater the variation.

The level of impact to download numbers will vary depending on the use case for each podcast. However, the use of the daily unique numbers is intended to provide a precisely defined measurement that is consistent throughout the industry. The use of daily unique downloads and IAB compliant metrics are meant to eliminate inflation of download numbers. It is expected that some shows will see larger decreases to download numbers than others. Changes we made in August are already impacting some shows, as will the new changes on September 18th.  Not all shows will be impacted noticeably by these changes but these changes will provide all users with more meaningful download numbers especially with regards to unique users. More importantly, this step is necessary to move towards an industry standard by which all podcast metrics will be based.

At libsyn our mission has always been to provide distribution to as many places as possible and then as accurately as possible report back on that distribution.  We believe the changes we are putting in place will help us now and into the future to meet the later part of our mission.

More about the IAB*:

The “IAB Podcast Measurement Guidelines” are the result of the Podcast Technical Working Group’s (which Libsyn is a member) efforts to provide clarity in the marketplace by developing a common language around measurement. The focus of the guidelines document is on server side measurement (but will be extended to client side measurement once the client side opens up). In addition to defining standard metrics for both podcast content and podcast ads, this document also provides guidance on some of the technical details such as request filtering, in order to reduce the discrepancies currently seen across podcast publishers and tech vendors.

*From the IAB

In case you want to know more about what this announcement means to you and your stats, check out this post focusing on exactly what you need to know about this overhaul!

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