Podcasting is growing up: According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, podcast industry ad revenue will reach $220 million in 2017, up 85 percent from 2016’s $119 million. And, after years of offering only an opaque “downloads” number, Apple is getting ready to give podcast creators more data about their listeners.
On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Hot Pod founder Nick Quah said this is good news ... for most people.
“On the one hand, you have certain creatives being like, ‘I want to optimize for the metrics when I’m creating stuff, I want to know more,’” said Quah, whose email newsletter is aimed at people working in the podcast industry. “And then there’s people who are a little more jump-off-a-cliff, creatively oriented.”
“You give fire to a person, they would probably want to use it at some point,” he added. “I think the fact of the matter is, over the long term, it’s coming and it’s a thing that’s good that the entire community has to deal with.”
Having more specificity about podcast numbers will attract more advertisers and benefit the creators of shows that have passionate audiences, Quah explained.
“That is basically a black box,” Quah said of the “downloads” number. “That scares away a lot of advertisers that are accustomed to a higher degree of measurement and more specificity into whether your ads are being served.”
“It’s the equivalent of ‘I sent out a magazine today.’ You don’t even know if people looked at page four, which is where your spread is. It may just be in the back bin somewhere. That is an issue for podcasting if it wants to be classified as a digital product and to be accepted in the larger pool of buys.”
But the losers as Apple professionalizes its analytics are the creators without an engaged audience who have been selling ads based on that “downloads” number alone.
“There’s going to be a lot of podcasts realizing that they didn’t have audiences as big as they [thought],” Quah said. “And there’s going to be a smaller percentage of podcasts that realize they have a very, very engaged audience base and it’s as big, if not slightly less, than what they thought it was. So we’re really going to see a shakeout, resizing and reconceptualization of, how do you measure for the success of a show?”
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.