Our state-of-the-art approach theoretically allows for a very accurate measurement of downloads. However, when comparing our analytics to the insights offered by platforms such as Spotify, in some cases you may notice inconsistencies in metrics such as downloads and followers. This can be due to two main reasons:
Nomenclature. Applications and platforms use similar labels that often represent different calculations. For instance, we estimate “Followers” by calculating the average of the first 24 hours unique downloads for your last 3 episodes, whereas Spotify “Followers” indicate the number of people who click the “Follow” button on a podcast in the Spotify app;
Caching. Some podcast apps may cache (i.e. store) your episode in their servers or locally. Companies that cache your content typically don’t disclose how and when they do so. Spotify, for instance, is well known for caching your episodes in some cases and this may result in discrepancies and artifacts in number of downloads and followers between our Analytics and Spotify’s Insights. i.e. If one of your episodes is downloaded once via Spotify, and it gets cached. It is possible that multiple listeners streaming it in Spotify will result in only 1 download displayed in our Analytics. This is a common problem to all the podcast hosting services that requires more collaboration across the industry to be tackled and solved.
There are also some very useful metrics that are specific to Apple, Spotify and other platforms that only they can offer. For instance, the reason why Spotify and Apple (that sit on top of hosting services like ours) can provide metrics such as listeners' demographics and we can’t is the ownership of large-scale web and mobile apps where users are authenticated and known. If a Spotify user downloads one of your episodes, for example, Spotify will know the user’s name, gender, age and they can therefore aggregate this data to display demographic insights on who is listening to your podcast on their platform.
The main challenge with the aforementioned insights is that they are platform-dependent and therefore they are only representative of a subset of your listeners and followers.
In other words, Spotify can provide insights such as demographics and streams only for the people who listen to your show via Spotify but not for listeners that use Google Podcasts or Apple Podcasts. Similarly, Apple Podcasts can provide you with the percentage of Engaged Listeners and Average Consumption only for users that listened to your podcast via Apple Podcasts and not via Spotify or Google Podcasts, and so on…
In a nutshell, none of the aforementioned platforms is able to provide you with a holistic view of all your listeners and followers, because they only hold the subset of your data that belongs to their specific ecosystems.
For this reason, Podcasters typically merge aggregated data from their hosting service with the platform-specific data offered by companies like Spotify, Google and Apple.
Podcasters usually refer to their hosting service analytics to get a holistic view on key metrics such as downloads, geolocation, devices, etc… and they subsequently compare and merge these statistics with other platform-specific metrics.
When performing these comparisons, it is important to take into consideration the aforementioned differences in nomenclature of some metrics and possible caching of episodes by Spotify.