For those of you who've ever tried selling ads or sponsorships for your podcasts, you know the frustration we all have with the fact that a) Apple gives out NO data about the podcasts people play thru their iTunes store. And b) that whatever data we do get from our storage sites (like Podbean or Libsyn) it's just way too generic to satisfy most advertisers.
All we get is the antiquated idea of "downloads" (back when you had to actually download the episode to play it on your iPod). Today, most people just stream and play it (like a YouTube video).
But how long do people listen? Do they play the whole thing or just part of it? The assumption (as pointed out in last year's Columbia School of Journalism's SHARE OF EAR report) is that "Once someone finds a podcast they like, they tend to be devoted. Thus, unlike the the audience online, which tends to click thru and then bounce away quickly, podcasts draw people in for the duration of the episode."
But if you show 1.000 downloads for an episode, does that mean 1,000 people listened once or 1 person listened 1,000 times (or some combination thereof). And for everyone that did click on your episode, did they start and stop or listen to the whole thing. Up until now, no one really knew.
But all that may change if the quiet news coming from the latest Apple developers conference is correct. According to one report (which you can read by CLICKING HERE) Apple may start giving podcasters some information about how long someone actually listens to their show. And while this will still be "anonymous" data (meaning they still won't tell you WHO is actually listening), they may give us the ability to tell (for the first time) how LONG people are listening to each episode.
This is huge, eliminating one of the biggest hurdles to selling ads or sponsorships in podcasts today, Stay tuned as we learn more. Supposed to start with this Fall's iOS11 update...