The Podcast Technical Working Group, from IAB Tech Lab, this week recommended that Apple Podcasts app watchOS user agent requests should be filtered out altogether up front and not be counted as unique downloads/listeners.
Mike Midden, Director, Product Management, at IAB Tech Lab wrote that IAB Tech Lab’s participating members have agreed that by October 1, 2020, traffic from the Apple Watch will no longer be counted toward any totals reported for the podcasting industry.
According to IAB Tech Lab, Apple Watch devices enact an inherent behavior that triggers non-user initiated podcast downloads and results in significantly inflated download counts.
Members of the Podcast Technical Working Group have observed in fact that the majority of watchOS downloads are automated downloads and not user initiated.
Downloads to an Apple Watch device appear to be duplicative of downloads to a user’s iPhone after the watch performs its synching cycle, and this outcome could result in significantly inflated reporting of downloads and listeners, wrote Mike Midden.
IAB Tech Lab says that if Apple takes steps to distinguish those automatic downloads from user-initiated downloads, the guidance will be revised or retracted.