When you review your download stats in Libsyn, you can look at the number of unique downloads as well as the number of IAB downloads to gain a deeper understanding of how your show is doing. This article explains the differences between unique and IAB downloads in terms of what they measure, and how to quickly switch from one to the other and then back again.
Understand Download Stats
Counting how many of your show's episodes your audience downloaded is a key source of data for determining how well your show is doing. Having accurate download counts is important to build advertiser confidence and to dependably portray a show's popularity, both of which are crucial when you are trying to grow your podcast and revenue.
However, what counts as a download can vary depending on several factors. To offer you a wide range of significant statistics, Libsyn measures episode downloads using two different definitions of a download: unique downloads, and IAB downloads.
What Is an IAB Download?
IAB is an acronym for the “Interactive Advertising Bureau” – an organization that (with the help of Libsyn and others) has developed a series of standards to define what counts as a download. The IAB’s metrics use consistent and trustworthy methods for counting downloads, including removing questionable download sources (such as bots) and counting downloads only when a listener downloaded a critical amount of content. For example, IAB counts a download only when a listener consumed a key portion of the playable content, rather than just looking at the ID3 information and listening to a short portion of an episode.
IAB download statistics are only available if you signed up for the $20 a month plan or higher.
What Is a Unique Download?
A "unique" download refers to a set of metrics specifically developed by Libsyn. The metrics differentiate between raw requests for downloads and download requests from single users. For example, if the same user (determined by IP address) downloads the same episode from both Google Podcasts and Spotify, those two downloads are considered just one unique download because they comprise a single episode consumed by the same listener.
Unlike the IAB download standards, Libsyn's metrics for "unique" downloads do not track whether a listener listened to a critical amount of content before counting the listening session as a download.
How Do I Compare my IAB Numbers with My Unique Numbers?
In general, IAB metrics filter out more downloads than the unique metric. As explained above, IAB does not count downloads from bots or from other questionable sources - such as servers caching content. For this main reason, you will normally see that you have fewer IAB downloads than unique downloads.
How Do I Use My Download Stats for Advertising or Sponsorship Opportunities?
If you have an opportunity for sponsorship or for advertising on your show - congratulations! To describe your show's popularity, you can tell the sponsor or advertiser that your download reports are certified by the IAB through Libsyn and are third-party verified. Then, you should share your IAB numbers with the sponsor or advertiser.
What Do I Do If I Have More Questions About My Stats?
If you need more help thinking through your show and how your stats are calculated, reach out to our Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Switch Back and Forth from Unique to IAB
A Unique / IAB toggle appears at the top of the Statistics page as well as at the top of the Stats Snapshot section in the Dashboard tab. Click the toggle to switch from Unique to IAB, as shown in the image below. To switch back to Unique from IAB, click the toggle again.
If you're scrolling through the Statistics page to review your download stats and you don't remember if you set the toggle to Unique or IAB, just look to the right of the section title you're in. If a green U appears next to the title, the stats are for unique downloads. If a green IAB appears, you're viewing IAB downloads. See the image below for an example.