As a podcaster, I could tell you exactly how many copies of each edition of For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report are downloaded. I can also tell you which podcatcher or distribution services downloaders use. I can even tell you whether downloads are direct or via RSS subscriptions. Plus quite a few other useful facts.
These are the types of fundamental stats Shel and I get from Libsyn, the service we use to host our show’s MP3 files. For example, those stats currently say that the average total number of downloads for each edition (the “average audience” as Libsysn describes it) is 570. So that’s 1,140 downloads per week. The most popular way to get the show is iTunes according to the stats, currently accounting for roughly 75% on average of all downloads.
But there’s one significant statistic we can’t yet determine – how many people actually listen to each show. We also have a link on each show notes post where you can click and listen there and then rather than download the MP3 file. And as Shel and I cross-post each show’s show notes to our own respective blogs, that’s three different places where you can click-and-listen. No way to measure that, as far as I know.
This is a problem every podcaster has. Downloads of the MP3s is one thing. Who listens, how many listeners there are and where they are, is another. Yet that’s the most important statistic of all to aid you in creating and tailoring the content in your show to your listener demographic.
Via Techcrunch comes news about Podbridge, a service that aims to connect podcasters with advertisers and serve as an advertising network for audio advertising in podcasts. That wouldn’t have grabbed my attention were it not for this text in Podbridge’s service description:
Accurate measurement of podcast listens – not just downloads … Audience profiles with demographics, listening habits and locations
My feeling about including advertising in our show is a) I’m not sure how our listeners would feel about it, and b) I’m not sure how I feel about it either. Note that Shel and I haven’t discussed the notion of advertising at all.
Yet I’m drawn by Podbridge’s claims to provide podcasters with accurate and valuable information about listeners to a podcast:
[…] Podbridge technologies reach through the desktop to measure behavior right at the portable device. Your Podscore measures reach, frequency, time spent listening and more – concrete data advertisers demand. Prove who listens to your podcast, not just who downloads it. Know them by gender, age, geographic location and more – ten metrics you can use to fine-tune your content, prove your performance and build your advertising revenue.
Techcrunch explains clearly how Podbridge’s service works:
[…] The service for publishers and advertisers they have recently launched allows them to track not just how many times their podcast has been downloaded, but how many times it has actually been listened to. It does this through software on the client side that the listener must install once the first time they listen to a Podbridge-wrapped podcast. This has long been a long problem for both parties and previously advertising in podcasts has been sold on estimated numbers based on the number of downloads.
How Podbridge works is the publisher wraps their feed in Podbridge code that will allow it to sit in between the publisher and the listener. From the listeners perspective when they download the Podbridge add-in the first time they will be asked a few questions so that advertising can be better tailored to them (how users will react to this I am not sure).
I’m not sure about that last point, either. I think many people (me included) will need some major assurances regarding exactly what data Podbridge will capture, how it will be used and how they treat the confidentiality of that information. Plus overcome strong resistance by some people to installing such software on their computers. I certainly wouldn’t want to use a service that resulted in losing listeners to my podcast.
Still, I want to find out more about Podbridge so I’ve requested a demo. Once I’ve seen that in action, I’ll discuss some thoughts about it, and the overall concept of podcast advertising, in an upcoming edition of FIR.
Meanwhile, especially if you’re a listener to FIR, what do you think of this listener-measurement and advertising concept?