At WWDC this year, Apple announced it would soon offer its own podcast analytics service for show creators who publish on Apple Podcasts. Today, that service has launched into beta, offering podcasters the ability to track unique devices and playback metrics for their podcasts, including when listeners drop off in the middle of a show.
This sort of client-side data is something podcasters have wanted for a long time. But Apple had shown little interest over the years in offering analytics – despite the increasing popularity of podcasts.
That changed with the arrival of iOS 11, however. Apple redesigned its Podcasts app, and added new consumer-facing features like support for trailers, as well as those focused on newer podcast content trends, like support for serialized show type and seasons.
Under the hood, it provided the collection points for the reporting and analytics package being introduced today.
For that reason, the podcast analytics service will only track data from iOS 11 devices, and not older versions of Apple’s mobile operating system. It can also track iTunes desktop 12.7 users.
Key to this implementation is Apple’s focus on user privacy. It’s tracking unique devices but only offering that data in aggregate to podcasters. That means show creators can understand overall trends about listeners, but can’t drill down to track users on an individual basis.
Still, 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. Tracking more granular data around listens was simply not possible.
This information will also matter to advertisers, who want to pay for placements on podcasts people are actually tuning in to, not just downloading.
On the new analytics dashboard, podcasters will log in with their Apple ID to view details about their podcast’s performance. This includes things like table and charts with data like unique device counts for a selected time period, total time listened, time per device, average consumption, devices subscribed, top countries, and more.
But one of the features podcasters are very much excited about is the per-episode me. That is, for the first time they’ll 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. We understand that it already has some features under consideration – for example, it’s thinking about finding a way to track aggregate users, not just devices, which is something the community has requested.
The service, which is free to podcasters, is available in beta today at https://podcastsconnect.apple.com/analytics. (The URL is the same place podcasters visit today to upload and manage podcasts on Apple Podcasts.)