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Podcast Measurement v2.2 is Ready for Implementation

Tech Lab’s Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines v2.2 public comment draft was released  on February 22, 2024 and public comment period closed on March 23. We thank all those who provided public comment feedback and are pleased to announce that it has been reviewed and incorporated in the final release. 


When Tech Lab and its many member company partners developed the first version of the Guidelines in September 2016, the mission was simple: establish an industry standard that would enable consistent, transparent, and, therefore, trustworthy measurement of podcast content and ad consumption. 

The need for such a standard grew out of a growing realization that the way podcast media is consumed presented podcast publishers with a unique challenge when sharing measurement data with their advertising clients because of a lack of consistency in measurement methodologies for downloaded media that existed at the time. 

Different Medium, Different Measurement 

Unlike most other forms of digital media, which are consumed in streaming players or real-time app and web browser environments (the client), podcasting’s reliance upon download-based delivery means that measurement must be performed using an analysis of download logs stored on podcast hosting company servers. Referencing server logs for measurement is easily done, but unlike streaming media where measurement involves confirmation from the client that requests the media, server logs for downloaded media are subject to differing interpretations of download requests. 

As a result, media buyers interested in podcast advertising would sometimes find themselves in a situation where download counts – and, by extension, ad impressions associated with those downloads – would differ significantly depending on how one podcast company chose to parse their server logs compared to another. 

Establishing a Baseline (and trust)

To address buyside confusion about the true meaning of a podcast download, our Podcast Technical Measurement Working Group created the first version, which was released in 2016. The Group’s commitment to transparent and consistent counting continues to power measurement in the podcast community to this day. 

The Latest Update

Tech Lab released the v2.2 Guidelines with this all-important mission in mind. The latest updates are designed to further increase buyers’ trust in the podcast market. 

Podcast inventory offers a captivated audience more likely to hear an ad because they listen while driving, working out, or cleaning the house. However, since the technology for measuring performance in podcasting is a little different, marketers want to know that what they’re buying represents a real audience and the potential for their ads to be heard.  

New language in v2.2 requires podcast measurement companies to document certain aspects of their methodology. Every company is unique and must define practices according to their systems and operations to identify anomalous activities in their logs, such as unexpected spikes in downloads from a single IP address. The latest update, however, requires companies to document how they resolve such anomalies. This added level of transparency by documenting practices was an important priority for the Podcast Measurement Working Group, and we’re excited to see this new requirement in v2.2. 

Other updates include information about prefix measurement, invalid traffic, and a stronger stance on how the “ad delivered” metric only counts for downloads that have been filtered and validated. The one change made in response to feedback during public comment period was to more clearly state the need to filter for Apple Watch downloads. In the public comment draft, the need to filter Apple Watch downloads was replaced by a case study and a broader need to watch for the changing signals that result from device updates. Apple Watch downloads duplicate downloads to the paired device and should not be counted, but this wasn’t clear in the draft for public comment. Upon review, member companies noted that Apple Watch downloads still represent a significant amount of duplication, and the final draft explicitly states the need to filter these duplicates.


These guidelines inform Tech Lab’s Podcast Compliance Program, the only one of its kind. It was designed to establish a regular cadence for auditing and verifying the measurement methodologies for companies that subscribe to the program. Without regular check-ins and systematic audits, measurement quality can degrade over time. For this reason, Tech Lab Compliance instituted annual renewals in 2023. Any Podcast hosting or measurement company claiming to comply with these guidelines must be certified every year to be in good standing.

Together with Tech Lab’s Compliance Program, the latest update helps buyers evaluate how a certified podcast company measures its audience and the inventory it sells. Podcast companies will need time to update their measurement practices to comply with the latest updates. Still, buyers can look up companies on the Tech Lab website that are currently certified and under which version. 

Always Improving

Tech Lab’s Podcast Technical Measurement working group is always looking for the best ways to provide trustworthy inventory to buyers. We meet monthly to discuss technology that impacts measurement and gather suggestions to consider in the next update. Along with IAB’s Audio Committee, we’re always looking for better ways to do business in podcasting and streaming audio. For any questions or comments, please email

Matt Shapo
Director, Media Center
Katie Stroud
Senior Product Manager
IAB Tech Lab