Apple has launched a beta version of their new, free podcast analytics service for podcasters who share their work on Apple Podcasts. The service offers users the opportunity to track their shows and will report on playback metrics including when listeners drop during a show. Podcasters have been waiting a long time for this kind of data to be available from Apple. We believe the recent rise in podcast popularity may have triggered the development of this service.
The Apple Podcast App
iOS 11 brought a new, redeveloped Apple Podcast app that features consumer-facing features like support for trailers. Plus those focused on newer podcast content trends, like support for serialized show type and seasons.
However, the Apple podcast analytics service will only track data from iOS 11 devices and iTunes desktop 12.7 users, but not older versions of Apple operating systems.
Apple has focused on user privacy in that it’s tracking unique devices but only offering that data in aggregate to podcasters. For show creators, this means they can understand overall trends about listeners, but can’t drill down to track users on an individual basis. But, the ability to track device level data like this will be huge for podcasters, who have previously had to rely on server-side metrics, like podcast downloads.
For advertisers who want to pay for placements on podcasts people are actually tuning in to, not just downloading, this information will be extremely useful.
Podcasters can log in to the new analytics dashboard using their Apple ID to view details about the performance of their podcast. Data will be presented in tables and charts and will contain information on unique device counts for a selected time period, total time listened, time per device, average consumption, devices subscribed, top countries, and more.
How will this affect podcasters?
One of the features many podcasters are excited about is the per-episode metric. For the first time podcasters will have direct access to client-side metrics that show them when people dropped off when listening to one of their episodes. This sort of data can help them make better decisions about content, show length, format and more.
Apple is also now soliciting feedback from podcasters to inform its future developments. Hopefully this is the start of something very big for podcasters. However, hot on Apples heels is Spotify who have launched a news and politics streaming service called Spotlight.
Eight companies, including BuzzFeed and Refinery29, have agreed to produce programming for Spotify’s new visual podcast initiative. One of the first shows will be a 4 to 7 minute daily newscast featuring reporting from BuzzFeed journalists across the globe. Spotlight will only be available to customers in the U.S. at first.
Segments on news, pop culture, sports and politics add a new dimension to Spotify, which was already diversifying beyond music with videos and podcasts for its more than 70 million users. Such programming can be more profitable, but it also puts Spotify in increased competition with its two powerful rivals, YouTube and Apple.
Spotlight could be the new opportunity to compete with terrestrial radio because the news updates are aimed at the generation Spotify is used by, 18 to 35-year-olds.
For podcasters, it is unclear exactly what effect Spotlight could have on the podcasting industry so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.