This article is about the new industry standards for podcast analytics and statistics from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and what it means for your show to have IAB Certified analytics. 

Simplecast's analytics engine is now IAB Certified, and having IAB Certified metrics is a great thing for your show. Keep reading to learn more.

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What is IAB?

IAB stands for Interactive Advertising Bureau, an advertising business organization that develops industry standards, conducts research, and provides legal support for the online advertising industry. You can visit their website here.

In late 2017, the IAB released a document, the IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines (Version 2.0), which contains a new set of standards for tracking, filtering, and reporting podcast downloads and streams.

Why are the new IAB analytics standards important for podcasters?

The IAB is working to standardize statistics in podcasting. 

There are multiple ways to track and report analytics data, and in the past, podcast hosting platforms used a variety of methods and filters for tracking and reporting downloads and streams. This meant that the analytics data reported for a show could vary from place to place depending on how the host measured and reported analytics.

IAB created new standards to eliminate confusion around how downloads and streams are measured and reported by implementing clear best practices for data collection, measurement, and reporting.

Are Simplecast analytics IAB Certified?

Yes, Simplecast analytics are now IAB Certified! We're very proud of the new analytics engine we've built to provide you with reliable data you can use to track progress, audience engagement, and share with advertisers. This helps the folks who are buying ads and supporting podcasters feel more confident about advertising on your podcast, because they can trust the numbers meet the new industry standards.

This also means you will know how many people are actually listening to your episodes — not servers or apps, not multiple downloads by one person, but actual humans experiencing your show.

What makes Simplecast analytics more accurate under the new IAB Certified system?

In addition to making sure our analytics system meets IAB guidelines, we’ve also developed a unique filtering and comparison system to identify what network provider a listen came from. Here are some of the methods we use to make sure you end up with more accurate analytics:

  1. When we receive a download or streaming request for an episode, our analytics system checks to see if it's from a trusted network, or one which is known for scraping RSS feeds. We log “questionable” networks, so filtering will only improve as our analytics system gets smarter.
  2. We’ve developed a completely anonymous fingerprinting mechanism, so our system can determine if a user hits “stop” and “play” during an episode. This allows us to track a single listening session which is making multiple requests back to our servers, preventing inflated statistics from scrubbing or stop/play actions. Learn more about this new Unique Listeners metric here
  3. We’re now able to tell the difference between a “metadata download” (when a podcast player downloads only a portion of an episode to determine things like audio bitrate and other information about the episode), and a IAB compliant download (when someone downloads or streams at least 60 seconds of the episode).
  4. We’re also able to determine if a podcast episode is being downloaded by a bot just for indexing purposes. These filters ensure that each registered download is legitimate.

I have a show on the legacy (1.0) version of Simplecast. Will my 1.0 numbers be affected by this change to IAB Certified analytics?

Yes, you will see lower total overall downloads after you've migrated from Simplecast 1.0 to the new version of Simplecast, as the previous version of Simplecast was created before the IAB created their analytics reporting standards. Some shows will see a small change in numbers, while other shows will see a larger degree of change.

While seeing lower total downloads for your show may be concerning at first, it is a good thing overall because you're now seeing analytics data that conforms to the new industry standards created by the IAB. And just as a reminder: The actual size of your audience has not changed, and you haven't lost any listeners. You are just now seeing more accurate, reliable analytics data that conforms to the new industry standard.

To learn more:

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