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 compliant analytics. Simplecast 2.0 analytics are IAB compliant, and having IAB compliant metrics is a great thing for your show. Keep reading to learn more.

Don't feel like reading? Watch a recording of one of our IAB webinars, where our team transparently explains what the IAB standards are and how this upgrade can affect your historical analytics data if you are migrating from the legacy version of Simplecast to the all-new version.

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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 compliant?

Yes, Simplecast analytics are now IAB compliant! 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.

IAB compliance 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.

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

What makes Simplecast analytics more accurate under the new IAB compliant 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 from a legitimate pod-catcher with a human being on the other end.

Will all of my analytics on Simplecast 2.0 be IAB compliant from the start?

Yes! If you started your podcast on the new (current) version of Simplecast, all of your show's analytics are IAB compliant. 

If you recently migrated your account from the legacy version of Simplecast to the new version, you'll see your show's IAB compliant analytics data in your dashboard. Our new analytics harvester has been up and running silently in the background since July 2016, aggregating and processing new data on how listeners interact with your show. This means that you'll be able to see IAB compliant analytics for your show dating all the way back to July 2016.

To learn more:

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Still have questions? We'd be happy to answer them. You can start a live chat with someone from our team by clicking on the chat icon down there on the right.

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