RAD measures podcast listening across a range of participating clients and platforms, aggregating the data in a publishers’ analytics endpoint. RAD is not intended to replace download statistics as a point of measurement for the on-demand audio industry, but is designed to provide data on listening events to complement download statistics.

Best practices

Participating publishers provide an HTTPS tracking URL where clients can report events, and publishers choose their own method for storing and analyzing this client-reported RAD data. A tracking URL may point to an in-house analytics solution or to a solution provided by a third party. By grouping listening events by unique identifiers, the data consumer can determine their own analytics methods and protocols.

Publishers may download the reported data to an analytics solution, which may involve a text parser that classifies listening events by download in a queryable form. Ideally, the solution would allow for querying listening events by podcast download and for querying specific listening events across all downloads. A complementary database with podcast information would allow for more complicated queries.

This framework supports a session ID (random UUID generated per media file) that persists for 24 hours; if a user listens starts a podcast, stops and resumes within 24 hours, the session ID is maintained. If the user resumes after 24 hours, a new UUID is generated.

Versions of the RAD spec have recommended that publishers include a “podcast95” or “podcast98” RAD tag as a metric to report when a listener completes 95 or 98 percent of an episode. While not required, this standardization will allow for publishers across the industry to compare consistent “listened” data in the future.