MEASUREMENT METHODOLOGY

HOW DOES PODTRAC MEASURE PODCASTS?  

If you’re a publisher or advertiser interested in podcasting, then accurate measurement is key.  The Podtrac Measurement Methodology White paper explains how the most used podcast measurement system works.

SUMMARY

Since Podtrac published the first white paper on podcast measurement in 2005, Podtrac measurement has become the industry standard. And over the past 10 years, many publishers, networks and ad serving companies have entered the podcast space, some with little understanding of the technology behind podcast listening methods and how to accurately count and measure audience and ad delivery, and more importantly which metrics are valid and which are not.  All of which has introduced confusion among advertisers, publishers, talent, and ad serving companies relating to accurate audience counts, ad counts, and pricing. 

The Podtrac Measurement Methodology White Paper addresses these questions important to podcast publishers and advertisers:

  • How are podcast audiences measured?
  • How are podcast episodes measured?
  • How are ads in podcasts measured?
  • What are some of the inaccurate metrics being used that are harmful to podcasting?
  • Which podcast publishers are attracting the largest audiences?
 
Figure 5 shows the growth in Podtrac’s Measurement service since its launch in 2005. Podtrac now handles over 400 million requests per month, totalling 250 million unique downloads per month. This includes stats for most top podcasts, all podcasts by most top publishers, and thousands of smaller podcasts. This graph also shows how Podtrac’s Unique Downloads metric corrects for anomalies in raw download client behavior, like the gigantic spike in raw but unique downloads in July 2012.

Figure 5 shows the growth in Podtrac’s Measurement service since its launch in 2005. Podtrac now handles over 400 million requests per month, totalling 250 million unique downloads per month. This includes stats for most top podcasts, all podcasts by most top publishers, and thousands of smaller podcasts. This graph also shows how Podtrac’s Unique Downloads metric corrects for anomalies in raw download client behavior, like the gigantic spike in raw but unique downloads in July 2012.

 

Highlights:

  • Podtrac Measurement is used by thousands of podcasts including most top podcasts, and is compatible with any podcast hosting company, user device, ad serving technology or other 
  • reporting tool.
  • Measuring podcast plays is not possible for the vast majority of podcast listeners and listening environments.
  • The number of raw hits to a podcast file are determined by the way user software is coded vs. user action, and the raw hit/download/impression counts used by some podcast publishers and ad serving companies provide a grossly inaccurate measure of podcast audience or podcast ad delivery.
  • Despite its limitations, “Unique Downloads” is the industry standard metric for podcasts, and will soon be adopted by the IAB.
  • Podtrac’s 10-year analysis of unique downloads provides the most accurate method in the industry.  It’s far more sophisticated than IP-only analysis which undercounts audience or raw hit tallies which drastically overcount audience by a factor of 2 to 10.
  • Podtrac is first to provide the “Unique Monthly Audience” metric to the podcast industry, new for 2016.
  • Podtrac Measurement is a free and open service that provides accurate measurement and transparency to podcasting for publishers, talent and advertisers to move the industry forward.