Spotify ties Nielsen demos to audience measurement on podcasts

By Alison Weissbrot

Podcast measurement has been limited beyond seeing that someone downloaded an episode of a show, making it difficult for publishers to understand more about the audience listening.

That’s changing. On Friday, Spotify’s Megaphone revealed a new tool that will allow publishers to tie listenership to Nielsen demos.

The tool is available to a network of 20,000-plus podcast publishers that host and monetize their shows through Megaphone, the podcasting platform Spotify acquired for $235 million in November. And it can be used for measurement not just on Spotify, but wherever people are listening to these publishers’ shows.

Megaphone already had a partnership with Nielsen that allowed it to use Nielsen demos to target audiences, said Dave Adams, group product manager at Spotify. But adding the measurement piece on the back-end is critical as advertisers continue to seek more granular metrics from podcast publishers.

“[Podcasters] are being asked to look like digital,” he explained. “This is an easy conversation with advertisers because it’s [measurement] vetted by a third party.”

Using the new tool, podcast publishers can measure listenership at the episode show-level and network level.

“We’re offering a platform-agnostic and a real-time look at listeners, what their demos are, what their interests are and their behaviours,” Adams said. “Publishers will know how people are consuming, what they are interested in, what behaviours they have so they can effectively earmark opportunities they are missing for advertisers.”

Being acquired by Spotify helped Megaphone launch the feature thanks to access to its backend systems and data warehouse, Adams added.

“It’s always been on our road map, it’s just difficult to get done,” he said. “There are large amounts of data we have to process on an episode by episode basis.”

Adams added that the ability to measure against Nielsen demos is “very unique” to Spotify because of an exclusive partnership with the measurement giant.

“This is helping our customers understand their business and win deals they otherwise couldn’t have won,” Adams said. “It opens the doors for these conversations, and that’s the goal: to help publishers monetize.”