Why does my data look strange for November and December 2022?
As of Nov 15th, we - along with many other podcast hosting platforms - identified a steady increase in listens coming from an app identifying itself as an ‘unknown Android app’. The impact varied across shows, with some seeing large spikes in traffic. As we monitored the trend, we saw the number of listens increasing.
From our analysis of the download behaviour, we found that it was highly unlikely that these were listens triggered by actual users, but instead automatic downloads generated by the app. Under IAB guidelines, these listens are considered valid. This was impacting all platforms, not only Acast.
We identified that the traffic was coming only from Samsung phones. Samsung confirmed that an update to their Samsung Free app was the cause of this increase. Samsung have since fixed the update causing the issue and released an updated version of the app.
We took the decision to update our podcasters’ data and remove downloads from the Samsung Free app. We understand how important having accurate data is to our users, to best understand their audience and show performance, as well as to our advertisers.
Therefore, all download data from between 23rd November and 1st December has been reprocessed, with all listens from the specific user-agent being removed. This is the start date that we confirmed the listens were caused by automatic behaviour from the app, and not intentionally triggered by users.
Acast is IAB v2.1 certified, and these downloads are considered IAB valid. However, since we have been able to confirm that these listens are caused automatically from the app, we will apply this additional filtering in accordance with IAB’s recommendations on auto-downloads.
If you’re interested in learning more about how website and app behaviour can impact listening data in general, read our best practices guidelines here.