If you're using Alitu's podcast hosting service, then you also have full access to our podcast download statistics. These stats give you a picture of who listens to your show, how they listen and where they're from.

Remember, when you're looking at your stats, they're a good measure of progress if you look at the trend, alone. For example, are more people listening this month than last month? But, don't get too caught up in the total numbers themselves. Every category is very different, so you can't compare one podcast with another. Read our full article on Podcast Downloads to dig deep on this, and see some examples of download numbers.

What Do We Measure as a Podcast Download?

A download is counted whenever someone, anywhere in the world, either:

  • clicks play on your show in a podcast player app

  • clicks play on an episode player in their web browser

  • downloads your episode in advance, to listen in future

So downloads never quite translate to actual listens. They might have downloaded the episode but never listened. Or they might have clicked play, but got distracted and moved on to something else 5 seconds later. But they're a good approximate for the number of people who are subscribed to your show (sometimes that means their podcast app will automatically download your episodes) or have listened to that episode while browsing around for content.

And again, the trend is what's important. If your numbers are going up over time, then it's very likely that your real, true 'listens' are also going up.

How do we Make Sure the Numbers are Accurate?

There are a few different 'standards' when it comes to podcast downloads. You might have heard of the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) or oDL (Open Downloads). These organisations or projects publish details on how to measure a download, so we make sure they're as fair and accurate as possible.

At Alitu and The Podcast Host, we're big advocates of the open podcasting ecosystem and so we're following the Open Downloads spec when working towards making our hosting stats as accurate as possible.

Right now, here's what we do to filter our download stats:

  • We only count HTTP Get requests

  • We run a user agent blacklist (maintained by OPAWG)

These are big parts of the oDL spec and ensure that a lot of automated downloads are filtered out, such as bots and web spiders which trawl the web, indexing content.

Next, we plan to run our hosting for a few months and asses the kinds of downloads that we're seeing. Then we'll investigate the other parts of the oDL spec, to see how we can continue to make our stats more and more accurate for you, our users.

Stay tuned to this page for updates.

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