Apple announces updated podcast app with better analytics

Dive Brief:

  • Apple is adding more analytics information to its podcast app that will soon allow content providers to see more specific information about what people listen to. The data will include which parts of individual episodes were listened to, which were skipped and which episodes were stopped entirely, according to Recode.
  • James Boggs, an Apple executive who works on its podcast team, mentioned last week the change in a session at Apple’s annual developer conference. He said the data will be aggregated and anonymous in order to protect individual listeners' privacy.
  • The update will come in Apple’s iOS 11 set for release in the fall, which also will include changes for podcast listeners. The next version of the app will allow people to download full seasons of a podcast and will show the episodes in chronological order.

Dive Insight:

Podcast analytics are a welcome development to creators and advertisers who have sought more information about those who tune in. Before this update, Apple provided almost no data surrounding listening behavior. That means that creators and advertisers have had basically no idea of how people were interacting with their content — they've been producing and paying for content with virtually no feedback for years other than the number of total downloads of an individual episode.

Unfortunately, the data are aggregated for general listening behavior, without any kind of demographic breakdown that marketers want to better target groups of listeners. Although, marketers will still glean more insight on listening habits than ever previously available, and they'll be able to monitor whether advertisements were heard or skipped. This seemingly subtle change could shift the way podcast advertisers operate depending on the data they gather. Sponsors and the industry’s growth altogether will depend on this improved listening information.

Digital content providers like Facebook, Google and YouTube that are dependent on ad revenue are more attuned to the needs of marketers who seek target audiences. But Apple is mostly a tech company that has shown a disinterest in ad revenue while adopting a strong stance on privacy protections. Podcasting data that's more detailed than this newest upgrade is unlikely, at least in the near future.

Filed Under: Apps