In any digital content industry, standards must be defined in order to protect advertisers – and ultimately the entire industry – against bad data practices. Advertisers can continue to pay and benefit publishers only if the industry, as a whole, agrees on a set of metrics with which data or stats can be measured.
In the podcasting space, paid advertising is still in its infancy, and there are complications to consider. Take for instance the fact that content is often consumed through apps the publisher doesn’t have control over. For example, podcast listening apps (sometimes called “podcatchers”) allow users to subscribe to podcasts, which are then downloaded and consumed offline. However, in these cases, the only thing the publisher sees in his or her stats is a downloaded episode (either manually or automatically), but not whether or not it was listened to.