Big changes today, bigger changes coming in December!
Woah. Is this a big announcement or what?
You can also get the announcement via this blog post here.
Some parts of this overhaul are in process and others are coming!
Today, September 18th, we have made one of our planned releases that will change your Libsyn stats reporting to help further us in our goal to provide IAB compliant reporting.
And that is a super beneficial thing for you as a podcaster, as well as for the podcasting industry as a whole.
Here’s why this might not feel like such a good thing. We expect that this release will decrease your downloads as IAB Compliant reporting is a more conservative look at unique daily download numbers.
This release is also simultaneously adjusting our reporting to address gratuitous download numbers we have seen for some shows due to changes in content consumption habits.
There is no easy way to tell our customers that they will see a decrease in the download numbers they have worked to grow.
No easy way. It is not 😎😄😀😊 kinda news.
We know this is painful but we also know that the result of this work will ultimately be beneficial.
The info below is to help clarify, get more specific as well as to provide a bit of reference to get to the heart of what you can expect.
Why your stats are changing
➩ We want to be 100% IAB Compliant
First, let’s define IAB aka The Interactive Advertising Bureau.
- It’s comprised of more than 650 leading media and tech companies responsible for selling, delivering and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns
- They account for 86% of online advertising in the U.S.
- They develop tech standards and best practices and field critical research on interactive advertising
- They drive education to brands, agencies and business communities about the importance of digital marketing
So why is ‘compliance’ so important?
The IAB in collaboration with podcast companies (like Libsyn!) and influencers in the podcasting industry developed the “IAB Podcast Measurement Guidelines.” These guidelines were created to provide clarity in defining standard metrics in podcast content and podcast ads.
In other words, these standards were created so that if you use podcast company A, B or C, they will all measure your downloads in the same way – reducing discrepancies that we sometimes see across podcast publishers and tech vendors.
Up to this moment, there hasn’t been any regulation or uniform measurement protocol, which muddied the waters for publishers, tech vendors and marketers, especially when looking to establish trusting relationships with advertisers.
Being compliant with the IAB Podcast Measurement Guidelines is of utmost importance – as Steve Mulder, senior director of audience insights at NPR and co-chair of the IAB Podcast Technical Working Group said “When we have an industry standard, it lends credibility to every conversation. We can be on the same footing and talk about what our podcasts can do for sponsors.”
➩ We want to expand features
We have a whole new stats system coming! It’s not only being redefined to allow for IAB compliance, but also for new features and expansion of stats reporting!
We’ve had many suggestions, and requests about your experience of our stats and ways we can make them better.
We’ve heard you.
They are coming! And they will make you very happy.
For example, the stats UI will be completely mobile responsive and even users on an iPhone SE will be able to easily access and view stats.
➩ We are addressing shifting end-user habits
The podcast industry continues to change and evolve, as does consumer behavior.
As does podcast length.
As do request protocols.
As do distribution methods.
All of the above impact download filtering and algorithms.
Part of our release includes addressing download numbers for shows who have been impacted by shifts in end-user habits.
These shifts have created some obstacles for our download reporting. This update addresses them.
You know when you hit that play button five times in a row trying to download a podcast from your mobile device? These extra requests (when you hit play) are a small piece of what we have always been working to filter out.
Five people didn’t download your show… one person hit the download button five times.
There is a lot to keep an eye on.
The size of the episode file.
The app it is being accessed from and if it via a cellular or wifi connection.
Rogue bots out there wreaking havoc on your feed pressing play (so to speak) and requesting a download with no human action involved.
Yes, there is such a thing!
All of these factors and more have led to higher numbers for some shows and this release will adjust numbers to account for a combination of factors and reset download numbers so they are closer to IAB Compliant reporting.
How is this going to affect our current stats?
➩ The measurement has changed
We’ve defined what the IAB is. We shared why it’s important that we are 100% AIB compliant.
In order for us to be 100% AIB compliant, we’ve had to make some changes and will continue to make changes to the way that we measure downloads.
This means we are going to start reporting on Daily Uniques based on the parameters set forth by the IAB. We will move away from our existing filters to the ones set forth by the IAB. This really means we are changing what we will define as a download and report back to you.
Some updates to measurement were already implemented in August.
The next significant update happens September 18.
We will continue to subtly refine and iterate the changes as we prepare for Decembers stats update, which is when we will roll out our new interface for stats reporting and all those fancy new features!
➩ How much will your downloads go down
As we make these changes and streamline the way that we measure downloads, you may notice changes to your stats – in fact, you might have already noticed some changes.
Different podcasts will be affected differently due to many factors such as which applications your audience uses most to access your show, do they access mostly from mobile via wifi or cellular, and what is the average file size of your episodes. Measuring podcast downloads, it’s filtering and algorithms are a fine balance that involves consumption behaviors, file size, podcast length, request protocol, and distribution methods.
All of the above are different depending on your podcast.
Some podcasts might see a very subtle drop in downloads, others might see a much larger dip. There is no way for us to tell any specific show ahead of time the exact amount their show will be impacted by these changes.
We can say these changes will provide ALL users with more accurate download numbers especially with regards to unique users.
➩ They will, however, be IAB Standard!
This is something to be excited about.
To be able to say to advertisers or other podcasters that your downloads are IAB Compliant IS a good thing.
To have one common method of measurement.
One meaningful and universal way of talking about our show’s growth.
This is important for the future of our industry.
As other companies move towards the same compliance in reporting this will bring greater weight to your download numbers and all downloads.
We will all be talking about the same unit of measure with confidence.
Seeing your stats drop never feels good and even the IAB. Compliance will not be 100% perfect. But we do feel it is the future of podcast stats.
It will be the new normal for download reporting.
Providing the most reliable reflection of downloads in the industry in real time is still our goal.
Stats are important, your podcast is important and so is being IAB Compliant.
It’s not easy, but we really appreciate your support in getting us there.
What is going to happen
➩ We are releasing updates
As mentioned before, the first phase of optimizing podcast measurement for IAB compliance updates was released in August.
The next big release is Monday, September 18, 2017.
In December, we will roll out our new stats interface and features, as well as solidifying the final changes to IAB compliance.
➩ Overhaul released in December
What exactly happens in December?
This is an ongoing effort and while we see the end result being fully implemented in December it is still a very fluid plan at the moment.
In our efforts to be transparent about this we want you to expect some larger interface changes and improvements at that time.
We will be providing additional guidance, webinars, and information about this release throughout the days, weeks and months ahead.
Please be sure to reference our EVENTS PAGE for upcoming educational events.
➩ Display of old and new together
Until we settle into the new normal, we will keep the ‘old’ measurement vs the ‘new’ measurement, so that you can better predict growth patterns to better prepare you for success in 2018.
➩ We will keep you in the loop and support you
We understand and expect you will have questions and concerns about this transition.
Meaningful change is never easy.
Creating and re-aligning to a new normal, does not come without growing pains.
We are here to listen.
We will be keeping your abreast of all changes, further iterations, and releases.
If you have any specific concerns and questions about the evolution of your stats, feel free to connect with the Libsyn Team in these ways:
- Email the Support Team directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Our upcoming educational webinars which you can find here
Above and beyond anything, Team Libsyn is here to support you, our podcasters.
As excited as we are about the transformation and evolution of podcast measurement metrics, we also understand how emotional this journey can be.
We are humbled by your loyalty to us and our standard of excellence in the podcast industry through the years. We respect your faith in us.
This may be a tough transition for some of you and we apologize for any frustration or uncertainty this shift might bring. Our goal continues to be to provide top-notch podcast hosting, distribution, and statistics and we look forward toward achieving that goal with you.