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Why are Apple Watch listens not counted?
Why are Apple Watch listens not counted?
Updated over a week ago

As you may know, Spreaker analytics are proudly IAB Tech Lab certified, which means you can always trust that your data meets the industry’s highest standards.

In order to maintain our certification, it is our duty to comply with IABs evolving guidelines. As such, beginning on October 1, 2020, we will filter the way that Apple Watch downloads are counted in order to maintain our compliance.

Below you’ll find the pertinent information about this change directly from IAB (and you can find the full message on IAB’s blog):

Concerns have recently been raised about Apple’s watchOS Podcasts app. Downloads to an Apple Watch device appear to be duplicative of downloads to a user’s iPhone after the watch performs its synching cycle. This outcome could result in significantly inflated reporting of downloads and listeners.

IAB Tech Lab’s Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines describes how most podcast measurement occurs today on the server (due to lack of client-side access), and how it makes it somewhat challenging to discern between a download and an actual listen. The guidelines provide further details on a methodology of filtering that should be applied to server logs in order to generate consistently reliable and accurate measurements of downloads and listeners. Due to the nature of variances in how podcast technical teams analyze server logs, the guidance provided in Tech Lab’s documentation is somewhat broad. When specific instances arise that affect the podcasting industry at large, the Podcast Technical Working Group examines the issue in an effort to provide continually updated guidance. In this case, members of the Podcast Technical Working Group have observed that the majority of watchOS downloads are automated downloads and not user initiated.

Given the above concerns, the Podcast Technical Working Group is recommending that Apple Podcasts app watchOS user agent requests should be filtered out altogether up front and not be counted as unique downloads/listeners.

The IAB Tech Lab’s participating members have agreed that by October 1, 2020, traffic from the Apple Watch will no longer be counted toward any totals reported for the podcasting industry.

Tech Lab has made efforts to work with Apple in order to support a means of differentiating automatic downloads from valid downloads coming from Apple Watch devices. Should Apple take steps to clearly distinguish those automatic downloads from user-initiated downloads, take other corrective actions, or make other changes that affect this guidance, it will be revised or retracted.

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