The Truth is Out There: When it comes to your podcast stats, we aren’t going to lie to you

The truth is out there and, yes, we know sometimes the truth hurts. Heck, we’ve been there ourselves. The important thing is, the truth will set you free and/or — in the case of your podcasting stats — provide you increased credibility, more and better advertising opportunities and can isolate areas where you might wish to improve.

We’ve heard from podcasters who have been lulled into a false reality by inaccurate and inflated stats they received from other sources, and some who were simply counting download hits. But, we’re not going to lie to you, and we’re pretty sure you don’t want to lie to yourself.

Some content creators are shocked by the drop in numbers when they first transition to RawVoice stats. We get that. What’s important for you to get is that advertisers also get that other stat sources create a false positive. That’s why our RawVoice Certified Stats designation is important to you and to current or prospective advertisers. It gives both of you a pinpointed, realistic view of your audience demographic and your reach.

This is how we do it:

RawVoice has been analyzing media downloads since 2005. From day one, we quickly recognized a pattern: The number of unique downloads from a single network address is much more common than repeat downloads from a single network address.

Although the difference fluctuates month to month, we see unique network-address downloads from 75 percent to 95 percent of the network addresses we analyze each month. This means that between 5 percent and 25 percent of the repeat downloads are either erroneous or from multi-person networks. For this reason, the first phase of our algorithms calculate the unique network downloads.

Our algorithms then factor in multi-byte requests (a common feature used by iPhone/Android mobile apps) as well as erroneous download requests and bogus networks to provide a download total that correlates to the number of individuals who downloaded your podcast. What does a RawVoice episode total mean? It means your total downloads for that episode is your audience size for that episode.

One problem we see is the impact that media files have on Web-based statistics, which makes them unreliable for podcast reporting. Because of the size of podcast media (easily exceeding 5MB in size), downloads are almost always split into multiple requests (recognized as hits by Web analytics). Factor in typical technical complications and you can see that it only takes one listener with a faulty Wi-Fi router to inflate totals. For example, a podcaster using Web analytics saw 10,306 hits, where our system reported 1,243 downloads. Our algorithms recognized more than 9,000 of these hits came from one network address to a home in Kansas. Our system factored these erroneous requests out because the last thing we want is to explain to an advertiser why 90 percent of a podcast’s audience comes from a home in Topeka.

To support our results, we also include the unique network address totals in our reporting. Consider the example above with the unique network address total of 1,001. It is easy to explain the difference (242 downloads) came from multi-user networks. Relying on Web statistics, it’s going to be hard to explain how 10,306 downloads came from only 1,001 unique networks.

Still discouraged? Don’t be. Here are some examples of top shows that have benefitted from getting an accurate picture of their audience and their reach.

Daniel J. Lewis, director of Network, relies on our certified podcast statistics to have third party verification by RawVoice when he is negotiating advertising deals. He also easily monitors performance of his podcast network affiliates (who may host their media elsewhere).

Andy McCaskey,, said, “Since 2008, I’ve produced well over 2,000 audio and video podcasts. Using stats from Rawvoice (Blubrry and Techpodcasts) they have been an integral part of my operations on two long running audio podcasts, podcast sales training for private clients, and since 2011 two Roku channels, with dozens of shows.

“If you are distributing your podcast, you need the PowerPress wordpress plugin and Rawvoice stats,” McCaskey said. “And now, with enterprise IT clients such as Hewlett Packard on our Roku channel, Rawvoice stats are even more important to my business.

JeffreyPowers,, said, “RawVoice Stats are a vital part of my shows. I can gauge show performance daily. Since the Day in Tech History podcast has run each day since August 2009, I use RawVoice stats to see what episodes have hit and what has not.

“Even more, I can show our stats reports to sponsors and am backed by RawVoice certifying the data,” Powers said.

So there you have it. Other podcast statistics sources will not give you or your advertisers an accurate picture of what you have to offer. RawVoice Certified Statistics will. And that’s the truth.