iTunes Podcasts recently rebranded as Apple Podcasts, a small indication that Apple is starting to take the podcast game more seriously. Then this week, during a podcast session at WWDC, Apple announced they are going to be allowing access to information about listening behavior that occurs through the Podcasts app.
Peter Kafka, writing for recode:
A new version of Apple’s podcast app will provide basic analytics to podcast creators, giving them the ability to see when podcast listeners play individual episodes, and — crucially — what part of individual episodes they listen to, which parts they skip over, and when they bail out of an episode.
The reason all of that is important is that up until now, Apple has provided almost no data at all about podcast listening behavior — just the fact that someone has downloaded an individual episode.
And since Apple’s Podcast app accounts for the majority of podcast consumption, that means podcast creators — and podcast advertisers — have almost no idea how people are interacting with podcasts. They’ve been creating — and paying for — this stuff in the dark with almost no feedback.
Lots of people are saying this is going to be a huge deal. I agree that Apple offering basic analytics is give people a level of information and detail they’ve never had before.
It may look obscure, but this is the biggest thing to happen to the podcast business since Serial first went nuclear https://t.co/4tWfvckKM9
— Matthew Lieber (@mlieber) June 10, 2017
I don’t quite believe it’s going to make an enormous difference for the vast majority of podcasts, such as those that I host. Here’s why:
Increasing fragmentation – With Google Play, Spotify, and Stitcher now carrying podcasts (not to mention other iOS apps like Overcast and Downcast), the way people consume podcasts often doesn’t even involve Apple’s Podcasts app. While I’m sure the majority of listening still happens on the Podcasts app, anecdotally I feel like the listening on other platforms is also substantial, based on all the requests I get to add my shows to them.
We already kind of know how effective ads are – Advertisers have are using promo codes for quite some time, so they can track when you buy something using a specific show’s code. This isn’t the same as knowing whether users are skipping over their ads but in some ways it’s even better since this information, coupled with aggregate listening data, already allows companies to measure advertising effectiveness.
All that being said, I’m really interested to delve into the stats when they become available.