Articles on: Data Analytics

Firstory Downloads Data Standards [Updated Oct 2021]

Firstory Studio provides creators with data analytics to help them better understand audiences and podcast episode performances. With reference to the Podcast Measurement Standards set by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), we did our best to filter out and reduce data discrepancies in order to more accurately reflect your podcast episode stats.

Why do we have to "filter out and reduce data discrepancies"?

The explanation to this lies on the Podcast RSS technology as well as the constant evolution of podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Simply put, the calculation benchmark and technicalities of every podcast directory differ from one another. Since podcasters generally return to their hosting platforms for the final podcast stats, we must provide a set of consistent, credible screening standards. This also provides creators with the right indicators when working with advertisers.


The following are some sample scenarios that may occur during a listener's listening experience in order to further illustrate the importance of having an accurate standard of data measurement:

A listener may have been scrolling through his phone when a friend shared an episode of his favorite podcast. However, due to time constraints, this listener saves the episode onto the podcast directory, planning to listen to this podcast later during his daily commute.

(IP Address and Device). Since the internet connection may be unstable during the commuting process, listeners may sometimes opt to first download the episode for later offline listening. Assuming the area this listener passes through has very strong mobile network connections, it would be possible for this listener to stream across several IPs.

(Listening Time and Measurement Parameters). When it comes to long episodes, the commuting time may be insufficient for our listener to finish the entire episode. He must now use several days or multiple section of his free time to complete the episode.

How can we clearly define which behaviors constitute a "single" playback? Are episodes streamed due to automatic playback counted? What about the multiple repeat playbacks done within a very short period of time? Continuous technological innovations affect these standards as well. One example is the Apple Watch, which previously wasn't a widely used device- who would have thought that it would soon be included a part of the calculation?


**Firstory Data Measurement and Indicators:**


The number of downloads includes data from all directories (e.g. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, KKBOX, etc.).

We've filtered out all possible repeat downloads according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standards. Simply put, listening to a particular episode a day for a set of IPs and devices would only be counted as one download.

Downloads are updated every 3 hours. In addition, due to Spotify's unique data format, the downloads from "two days ago" coming from Spotify will be updated everyday from 0:00 to 3:00 GMT.

Note: The calculation method and technology will continuously be adjusted according to definitive standards and requirements. In order to reflect the most accurate data, Firstory may occasionally perform little experiments and update this article.


**Downloads and Listening Basis**

In order to record an episode's playback across various possible listening scenarios, the following playback sources will be marked and tracked (including but not limited to):

Podcast directories

Embedded players

Third party playback apps


Firstory will further filter the collected HTTP requests as follows:

IP Address: The listeners' mobile, home, and other network IP addresses.

User-Agent: Listener devices are also recorded. (e.g. Information on web browser, directory, and device operating system).

UTC Timezone: Since podcasts are available across multiple time zones, "one day" is defined using 0:00 to 24:00 UTC.

Once other user information is available, listening time standards will be further defined in order to avoid bot playbacks and the like. According to current IAB standards, an episode that has been played multiple times within 24 hours by the same IP address and device will only be counted as 1 playback.

**Other screening criteria:**

Ignore non-playback: Test files used by podcast directories (such as Apple Podcasts) are filtered out.

Ignore bot, spider request: Filtering out bots and strange websites.

Ignore cloud service: Filtering out cloud server IPs and third-party servers.

Ignore session shorter than 30 seconds: Filtering out playbacks shorter than 30 seconds.


Connect with Chartable and other data analyzing services

View podcast data from Firstory Studio Dashboard

Download your podcast data

Updated on: 13/07/2022

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