Apple has wrapped up its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California. Apple often uses this event to make major announcement about upcoming projects. Last year, they previewed the Podcast Analytics dashboard which would allow podcasters to track listening — most importantly, the elusive “Time Spent Listening” that had been absent from the medium (Apple calls it “Average Consumption”). So naturally, podcasters have been looking to this year's events to see what news might emerge from it.
At this year's WWDC, Apple hosted a session called “Introducing Podcast Analytics,” which you can watch here. Technically, Apple introduced its Podcast Analytics back in December, but it was and continues to be in Beta, so they're still adding and tweaking features. This session is mostly a walkthrough of how to use Podcast Analytics, including some features that were not there when the dashboard first launched.
Here are the key takeaways from the presentation:
- Apple is introducing full chapter support for podcasts. This means you'll soon be able to divide your podcast into segments with unique titles and artwork.
- You will soon be able to listen to podcasts on the Apple Watch.
- Apple Podcasts is making some changes to its notifications settings to make it more convenient for users. The notifications will be stacked to reduce clutter on the screen, and listeners will be able to set notification settings on a show-by-show basis from a single screen.
- Podcast Analytics will only compile data from podcasts that are listened to on iOS11+, iTunes 12.7+, the Apple Homepod, Apple TV, and (soon) the Apple Watch OS.
- Podcast Analytics allows you to compare the data from different individually selected episodes in a single chart.
- Podcast Analytics allows you to compare the data from different individually selected countries in a single chart.
- When you are looking at the Timeline Chart (which charts what we would call “Time Spent Listening”), you can play back the podcast episode as you look at the graph, allowing you to hear the audio at places where listenership drops off. In other words, you can hear exactly what's causing people to tune out.
- Apple will be requiring some new things from podcasters, including new specification requirements for https, pubDate, GUID, and cover art.
- Apple will be publishing best practices for audio mastering.
There's nothing major in these announcements, but anybody involved in podcasting should keep abreast of the latest developments with Apple's Podcast Analytics, as roughly two thirds of all podcast listening happens in the Apple ecosystem.
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