Your listeners are tuning in wherever possible. In the car, the tube, during their workouts, whilst having a meal...anywhere you can imagine! And the number of devices they're tuning in on are also growing. One device in particular, the Apple Watch, has prompted some changes to the way these downloads are filtered.
Here's some great information about IAB filtering of downloads on Apple Watches, and what Acast is doing to continue to provide IAB compliant data:
What made Acast decide to begin filtering these [Apple Watch downloads] more specifically?
There was a definite behaviour occurring that was identified by podcast professionals. We observed that once someone listens to an episode using an Apple Watch, the episode is also downloaded on the phone connected to the watch. As the two devices have different device IDs, they appear to come across as two individually separate downloads. However, it's all the action from one single person. It's an issue that was identified, and IAB requires that we, and all IAB certified professionals, filter these extraneous downloads out.
What officially counts as a download?
A download is either a full download of a file, or consumption of the audio corresponding to at least sixty consecutive seconds.
Specifically, we identify actions that correspond to human consumption of an audio file. Anything that is not related to the actual listen of an episode is also removed.
Does it matter what app my listeners are using on their Apple Watches?
We've accounted for all possible apps that may cause extraneous downloads. In fact, from the investigations that have been done, the automated behavior has been narrowed down a specific list of user agents
What’s a User Agent? You've mentioned this a couple of times?
It’s a way to identify devices and source of an internet request. A web browser on your computer has a user agent, and the same web browser would have a different user agent on mobile. This is how we are able to determine specifically the devices that have exhibit this behaviour.
When will you start filtering downloads from Apple Watches?
Apple Watch device downloads will be filtered as of 12 January 2021 GMT, with those data available in your analytics starting 13 January 2021.
Will this data be filtered retroactively as well?
No, the IAB do not require that the data be filtered historically, so this filtering will only be applied moving forward.
So does this apply to me/my show?
This applies to analytics for all Acast podcasters with IAB certified data (and of course who have listeners utilizing Apple Watches).
Do I need to worry about other wearable technology ?
This has been identified as very specific behaviour with Apple Watches. However, Acast maintains strict compliance with IAB guidelines and standards, and will update our podcasters should any other filters be required.
How much of a drop should I expect ?
This depends largely on the audience using an Apple Watch for listening to the podcast. However, in general the percentage should be between 2-3%.