All posts by Todd Cochrane

Reality Check of RAD or Podcast Pingback Adoption



Let me state from the beginning that I am an avid supporter of the RAD initiative by NPR. Many of you may not be familiar with RAD, but to break it down in the simplest form it’s the measurement of client-side aka app playback data of podcast. RAD provides the ability for podcast measurement platforms to get info like when a listener starts, stops, scrubs ahead or back, and most importantly did an ad get played within the content.

The high majority of playback globally happens on a variety of apps of which most are well under 1% global listening marketing share on both Apple and Android. The exception is the Apple Podcasts App which dominates a huge percentage of the global consumption.

Since podcasts inception in 2004, podcast downloads are measured/filtered with server log data. Over the past several years, the IAB Podcast Measurement committee has worked with 30 plus podcasting companies to ratify podcast measurement guidelines that the podcast measurement industry uses today in reporting podcast downloads. While podcast metrics have been measured since 2005 with initial standards put in place in 2008 through the now-defunct Association for Downloadable Media, companies like Blubrry, Libsyn & Podtrac set those early standards of which many are rolled into the current guidelines.

Many of the companies in the podcasting space are not yet satisfied with the data provided with the current IAB guidelines and think that more advertisers will enter the podcast advertising space if this client-side data can be obtained through RAD.

I do not see Apple participating in RAD or any other initiative that exposes listener listening habits. With privacy concerns raging across the digital space plus the forthcoming GDPR regulations I see no way that some of the other big bigger players will be willing to participate in RAD even if the IP data is tokenized (anonymized).

I am all about data, and as a true data junky/podcaster, the more data we have to help podcasting as an industry move forward I’m behind. I will always support getting more information for podcasters to make informed decisions on their content to include information that they can use to monetize their shows. The lingering question I have is when do we have enough info, when do we go to far. Anonymizing the listeners is critical in any of these efforts.

So let’s assume that Apple is not going to play ball with RAD. Then that leaves us with 30-35% of the remaining global consumption across apps, websites and third-party sites that could be measured by RAD. This is assuming that 30+ podcast apps on iOS and Android add the RAD protocol to their apps. Which will take considerable development time on each app, plus testing with no financial benefit for the app developer. This will add overhead to their app, add data traffic load to their users. Plus each app will have to develop new TOS to inform users of this collection of play data, plus GDPR compliance for EU listeners. I cannot imagine them not giving a listener the option to opt out of this data collection.

I am not even addressing if Google, Pandora, and Spotify decide to play ball. Spotify, Pandora & Google Play are streaming platforms versus on demand.  Spotify has some of these play metrics already which helps but the data from them is unique in it’s own way and does not fit the download narrative or fit nicely into billing for advertising. Google based on recent interviews may not even have a mechanism to add RAD until they develop their own app as it appears Google Plays days are numbered.

One thing for sure the download is still and will remain king for a long time, and if we are lucky we will get a 10-15% participation rate in RAD which is still great information as it comes to data sampling and helps build the sales story confirming what we actually already know through other analysis methods. Any podcast measurement company worth its salt already can already trend how many subscribed listeners are listening and staying subscribed.

Add to this discussion a new entrant in the space has just introduced a competing protocol to RAD so while I applaud efforts of the Podcast Pingback group, in my opinion, they would have been better served to have added their voice to the RAD committee as all of their ideas are already on the table and have been for some time with the coalition of companies already working on the RAD spec.

I will say it again, I am a RAD supporter but do not want to sugar coat the hard work ahead to get us to the 10, 20, 30% adoption rate. 30% adoption would be a major win. I remain focused on improving the listener’s experience, that will drive listener volume. I would love to hear your thoughts on RAD in the comments below.

Todd Cochrane

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash


Blubrry has Acquired Podcast Feed Validator – CastFeedValidator.com



(Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 6) — Blubrry, a subsidiary of RawVoice, is proud to announce the acquisition of the leading podcast RSS-feed validator, Cast Feed Validator. The move will provide consistency to podcasters, improve uptime of the site and allow for tech and hardware upgrades to the site. It has also acquired PodcastingPlugin.com as part of the package from The Software Group.

Todd Cochrane, RawVoice/Blubrry CEO, stressed that other than upgrades, the site will remain intact and a free resource for the entire podcasting space. “We purchased the site to make sure it is around for the long haul, and there are no immediate plans to change the site,” he said.

Validating a podcast feed is something everyone in podcasting has to accomplish periodically. Podcast feed validation helps content creators and podcast support teams find and resolve issues that can cause sites and apps to be unable to process feeds.

“Cast Feed Validator fits into our mission perfectly in providing tools and services for podcasters,” said Mike Dell, Blubrry customer support coordinator. “This is a big win for podcasters and opens up new possibilities moving forward under the umbrella of RawVoice and the Blubrry family of podcast tools and innovation.”

About
Blubrry is a podcasting community and directory with more than 450,000 shows. Blubrry gives creators the power to make money, get detailed audience measurements and host their audio, video and websites. Whether you are a media creator, advertiser or media consumer, Blubrry is your digital media interface.

Blubrry Podcasting


What is the Value of your Podcast Brand?



It’s never too late as a podcaster to take control of your brand. It’s important though to consider the ramifications of not doing so.

When you say Starbucks everyone knows that company it has global brand awareness. Most podcasters will never achieve global brand awareness but some have. Some podcasts have created massive shows in the content space that has gained them national attention. Let’s look at the Lore Podcast everyone in Podcasting, Hollywood and 100’s of thousands of Lore fans have heard of the podcast and the team behind it has had monumental life-changing success.

Both brands have several common elements of brand awareness but I want to focus on one. Each has their own branded online destination that they own and share with no other! Starbucks.com and LorePodcast.com

Can you imagine Starbucks having an online presence that was at Starbucks.TheirPodcastProvider.com. this would be considered brand suicide.  It also is hard to even imagine that Lore Podcast could have achieved the success it has had today, building its brand at LorePodcast.ThierPodcastProvider.com.

When I started my show, I had already been a blogger for a couple of years, before I became a podcaster. The one thing I learned in the time before I started podcasting was that my website at its own .com started opening doors to people in the space I was writing in, and the brand became as valuable as the guy writing the blog posts. I spent a lot of time building my sites brand, and my own personal authority to go with it so that when I launched my podcast it was just another content angle that for many years dominated the website.

Today Podcasters are joining the podcasting space in the thousands monthly, and they are competing for ears to their shows and their sites. Sadly many of the shows cannot even be found on Google. It’s really not there fault, most podcasters are very creatively and assume that if they create great content listeners will come. Many take the easiest path to start their show in the excitement of getting started on their hosting provider’s sites.

Podcasters often realize when their shows are not growing that they have to find a way break out, part of that process is getting the branding of their show under there full control. Sadly though some never do and are happy being the product for their hosting provider to attract more creators.

My team understood though that a lot of podcasters jump in with both feet, often not knowing these pitfalls. I wanted our customers to have a way to get started fast, and then graduate their shows when they got dialed in through our guidance and provided a simple upgrade path to control their brand, so their shows could become the next Lore Podcast.

Today we see a lot of shows have that light bulb moment and understand the value of separating their brand from their hosting provider’s sites. Not all Podcast Providers provide an upgrade path where a host can bring their own domain, some host would rather the podcaster continue to be a product of their brand and would never suggest they get their own domain.

My teams first and foremost goal is to get a show host started using all the best practices before episode one drops this includes a site with their own domain. To our relief, nearly 80% of our customers are dialed in from the beginning, and we see very low show failure rates. For those shows that get started fast, we make it easy for theirshow.blubrry.net to graduate to theirshow.com by a couple clicks of the mouse.

The number of top-level domains has exploded so finding a domain is no longer difficult. My personal site/show which has resided at the same domain since 2002. The domain and thousands of content pieces on its brand brings in significant revenue. I would not take anything less than 1 million dollars for my sites domain and brand but back in 2002 if someone had offered me $500 I would have sold it without thinking.

In hindsight, I really did not know I was building a brand that would sustain my family and be that valuable. But I do today and I want every podcaster who has started or is getting started podcasting to consider the importance of building your brand, your show, your podcast, straight out of the gate. So hunt down that perfect domain today and align it to your show and quit being the product of your hosting provider.

Todd Cochrane is a Podcaster who has hosted the Geek News Central Podcast since October 2004, and is the CEO of RawVoice/Blubrry who’s services power 80,000 podcasts globally while respecting their brand and content.


Tech Podcast Network – CES 2018 Coverage Plan



The Tech Podcast Network who has long covered the CES Show in January is changing tactics for 2018. For the first time the members of the Tech Podcast Network made up of 84 separate podcasts are going to focus on a segment of the exhibitors that in the early years where there bread and butter of content.

This year the TPN team made up of shows you love and trust will have their broadcast studio at the Sands Expo Hall. The team’s blog post says what we have found is the startups and vendors at the Sands are more aligned with what our teams and audience have come to expect from us. CES has grown so massive they say that it is impossible with the number of folks they will have on the ground to cover it all. The TPN team will be broadcasting from the lower level of Sands Exposition center the full four days of the show to their knowledge, they will be the only group that will have a dedicated broadcast studio in that hall.

This means a big change for the vendors that are accustomed to seeing the TPN team in the North Hall at LVCC. This opens up a huge opportunity for all the startups that found it hard to come see the team in the past at LVCC. This will also give TPN ready access to the Sands second-floor vendors who are introducing innovative products on their own.

New this year will be a roving live team that will transmit back to the broadcast studio allowing them to broadcast directly from the vendor’s booths. Broadcast appearance applications are open on the team’s coverage page at TPN.tv.


Proven Social Media Strategies for Podcasters



Many podcasters struggle with trying to build their audiences, yet we find podcasters that only have their podcasts on their hosting provider with limited information being posted about each episode. It’s like they purposely want to fail. The following presentation was presented at Podcast Movement 2017 to a standing room only crowd, and also repeated on International Podcast day. This is not a video teaching you how to tweet, but proven social strategies to grow an very large audience. If your struggling or just want some new ways to build your show I cannot stress enough how valuable this presentation is.


Google is your Friend



As I approach my 11th anniversary in podcasting I want to share a few secrets that gain me new listeners every single day. Having been podcasting since October of 2004, this strategy has been an integral part of my podcast growth throughout the years. It is so effective that I invest nearly $15,000 dollars a year — for paying writers, attending events and more — building my audience through this strategy.

I was a blogger before I was a podcaster, not a great blogger as I always tell folks, but when I started my podcast I probably had 300 to 1,000 people a day who visited my tech site to read my spin on what was happening in the tech world, and that played a major role in my show growth strategy.

I was one of the very early podcasters and quickly grew an amazing audience. Before I was on my 50th episode, my audience was pushing 50,000 listeners per episode. The numbers continued to climb, but at a certain point the growth stagnated.

Meanwhile, I continued to pump out a lot of articles each week on technology, and even in those early days I noticed that Google was driving me more and more page views every month to those articles. Since my blogs’ beginning, my writing team and I have averaged around a 1,000 regular blog articles a year, plus another 200 to 300 interviews from tradeshows, and of course my 100 or so podcast episodes annually.

Today, Google drives 40,000 to 50,000 page views a day to my site. On each and every page of the 15,000 articles on my website there is a big, fat and juicy iOS and Android Subscribe button, and a portion of those daily visitors subscribe to the show. While not all of them stay subscribed, a portion does. That adds up to a lot of new listeners each and every month.

Let’s do a little math. Let’s use a baseline of 20,000 page views. As we know, daily bloggers can get to 20,000 Google Search views in a couple of years. Twenty-thousand page views x 30 days = 600,000 page views. So let’s say that .0025 percent of those visitors subscribed — that’s 1,500 new subscribers. Let’s assume 50 percent do not stay subscribed — that is still potentially 750 new listeners each month or 9,000 new listeners each year. I will tell you my percentages are better than .0025

I will also tell you I have never been in New and Noteworthy, but what I do have is a sponsor that recently celebrated 10 years of continuous sponsorship of my show. The question people ask all the time is how I did that. With new subscribers coming in each month, they help keep my new customer conversions at record levels.

For those of you not worried about new and noteworthy and/or your show rank in iTunes, you have an exceptional opportunity to grow your audience in the long haul by supplementing your podcast content with a written blog post.

Of course some of you need a blog, a platform and your own domain name to do this. For those of you that have your podcasts hosted on a third-party podcast site that is driving your SEO to the gutter because of the other sites on that service, maybe it is time to reconsider your strategy on building your show.

We all know building audiences is not easy, but the pay off can be big. For the first five years, I grinded out all the articles myself. As my show grew and revenue grew I was able in five years to afford to pay writers who I trusted to write for my site. Ninety-percent of the writers on my site today came from my audience.

I still write a handful of articles each month. The Google traffic value from the 15,000 articles on my website and the ongoing new articles weekly drives an incredible amount of new eyeballs to my very visible podcast subscribe link.

Every article on my site is original, no sponsored post, and/or ghost writers. Google and the rest of the search engines love original content. With more than 2,000 interviews on the site, I also have great page rank from those corporate luminaries I have interviewed who have linked to my site from theirs.

Writing one or two articles a week is probably not going to help you. You need to put up a meaningful blog post every single day, except show days. It’s a grind, but it is one of many strategies I use to build audience. Oh, and for all those folks that say blogging is dead, they can just keep thinking that.

If you want to see that strategy in action visit my personal site @ GeekNewsCentral.com


One Click – Subscribe on Android Update



The team at RawVoice / Blubrry are making progress headway in their One Click – Subscribe on Android brand agnostic initiative to fix the challenges with subscribing to a podcast on Android.

PowerPress – Implementing
Podcast Addict Ver 3.0- Implementing
Beyond Pod – Implementing
Podcast Republic – Implemented and Released
Podkicker Pro – Implementing
Podcatcher Deluxe – Implemented and Released
PlayerFM – Implementing
Spreaker – Implementing
Blubrry – Implelmenting

If your Android Podcatcher or site you work with is not on the list, you should ask  them to review the developers page on the SubscribeOnAndroid.com website and support the initiative.


It’s Time to Grow Your Podcast Audience with Android



Let’s talk about the Android platform in our digital space. If you want to double, triple or quadruple your audience, you need to be paying attention to the hundreds of millions of Android users that are waiting to be your next listeners.

In October 2004 when I recorded my first podcast, there were only a small number of devices with which to sync a podcast. Mobile devices only had rudimentary Internet connectivity. The iPod was new and the iPhone was still three years away. Yet in July of 2005, Apple had the foresight to build podcasting into iTunes.

This was great! We could sync our podcast content by hooking up a cable; iTunes would load our subscribed podcast to the iPod. We podcasters thought at the time that we had gained mainstream acceptance. But in July of 2005, independent innovation largely stopped, and over time, podcast directories were largely abandoned. The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 changed the world and caused the already Mac-heavy creation community to largely ignore everything but iOS.

Ten years later Apple still dominates the podcasting audience share, which is great for Apple but handicaps content creators looking to build their podcast audiences because other devices are largely ignored.

The Apple podcasting team has done a great job of promoting podcasts and highlighting popular shows by featuring them. Yet, podcasters crave — and need to — be featured in new and noteworthy mediums. Had independent innovation not slacked off in July 2005 and subsequently died, the landscape would be much different.

Many potential listeners out there do not own an iOS device. Many have an Android device or two and/or a Windows Phone. For now, let’s focus on Android: In our latest release of PowerPress, we have helped podcasters kick start audience growth on the Android by adding the ability to create a subscribe page. You can read about it here. On the page, we include the links for iOS as well free Android app recommendations and instructions on how to subscribe to the show.

So why am I harping on Android? Well Angelo Mandato, RawVoice CIO and the man behind PowerPress and our Podcasting Stats platform, sat down with his analysis tools and some statistical spreadsheets to plot out some potentials:

With Android doing dismally in Podcast Audience Share (10 percent to 12 percent) it is obvious that there is huge potential for audience growth. According to IDC, Android dominates with 84.4 percent of the worldwide smartphone market share. The U.S.-based market share is likely closer to 50 percent. With Android listeners only making up a small portion of the overall listener pool, content creators could easily double the number of listeners from the Android platform.

With that many prospective listeners out there and most shows only expecting incremental Apple listener growth, we all have to focus on building the Android listener base. By providing uniform subscription instructions via the PowerPress subscribe page and subscribe sidebar widget. The tens of thousands of PowerPress users can help move the bar as a collective. My No. 1 goal this year is to help podcasters gain Android market share.

On a side note, having just completed my team’s annual winter retreat, and actually putting the final touches on this piece at the United Lounge at O’Hare, I can say the roadmap for 2015 is going to be incredible, and I cannot wait to share with you what’s coming.

Meanwhile, go get those Android listeners.

Todd