Analytics: SAS New Audio Downloads Reports (On Demand Audio) Overview

Analytics: Overview Using the new Audio Downloads reports

The Station Analytics Service has launched new reports measuring Audio Downloads. These reports measure downloads of any audio already hosted through or on CDNs that are set up for SAS to retrieve and measure log files. Below is a detailed walkthrough of how to use these reports.

What are these reports?
Previously referred to as On-Demand Audio, these new reports measure the number of people downloading or streaming your audio files on any platform. These audio files could include podcasts, audio stories on your website, newscasts in NPR One, or any other audio file hosted on your CDN. Metrics are calculated according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Podcast Measurement Guidelines v2.  
How are downloads measured?
Download measurement occurs by retrieving the access logs left by users who access an audio file on your CDN. The access logs are parsed into a database. NPR then uses the audio file itself to determine the minimum amount of each file required to be counted as a download. This minimum download threshold is computed as the equivalent of 1 minute of audio plus the size of the ID3 tag. 
Then we sum up all the bytes transmitted across one or multiple requests for that file from the same user (as identified through the unique combination of user agent and IP address). If the total bytes transmitted for that user’s request exceeds the minimum download threshold, then we count that as a real download.  
We also filter out bots and known scrapers from the requests in order to measure real users. What’s left over is only qualified downloads according to IAB’s measurement standards.
How do we associate audio files with podcasts?
Whenever possible we roll up individual files into podcast groupings in the dashboard. This is done by looking up the URIs in the access logs against our content management system. If the URI matches a URI that belongs to a podcast, we associate all the downloads of it to that podcast. 
In order for our content management system to be aware of your podcasts and correctly associate all episodes to that podcast, the podcast must be entered into Station Connect, with the current RSS feed.
Accessing the Report
To access the Audio Downloads report, login to SAS as normal and click the Audio Downloads tab. Metrics from the same measurement processes are also provided in the weekly email.
How to use the Audio Downloads Overview
When you land on the Audio Downloads report, you’ll see an overview for your station.  By default the last 30 days are shown, and the trend charts are grouped by day.
You can modify the date range selection using the drop-down menus at the top:
  Data is available as far back as 8/1/2017, presuming we have parsed access logs back to that date. There is no limit on the length of the date range you select, but wider date ranges may take longer to load the dashboard.
The dashboard is divided into 4 sections vertically: 
Big Numbers  
These tiles show you overall statistics for the selected date range. The present the total Users, Downloads, a Downloads per User metric, and the Top Program (if one is identified) for that period. 
Underneath the large number display you will see a comparison to the previous period of the same amount of days, represented as percentage change. So if you’ve selected a range of 7 days from 9/9 - 9/15, the tiles will show you a comparison to the 7 days prior 9/2 - 9/8.
 The dashboard presents trend charts for Users, Downloads, and Downloads per User. The charts aggregate date units according to the “View by …” drop-down menu at the top.  You can display data in units of Days, Weeks, or Months.
If you choose a View By unit of weeks or months, but don’t choose a date range that captures whole weeks or months, partial data will be displayed (much like Google Analytics).
The Content section includes a Programs table and a Segments/Episodes table.
Programs Table
As described above, any audio files that are associated with a podcast RSS feed entered into StationConnect will be grouped into the corresponding podcast title in the Programs table. 
We also group all station newscasts uploaded through StationConnect into a category called STATION NEWSCASTS.
Any other non-newscast audio that we couldn’t associate with a known program is grouped into a category called STATION STORIES. 
Click any of the titles in the Programs table to access the Program Drilldown dashboard, showing data for for only that podcast or category.
You can paginate and search through the table using the controls inside the table.
Segments / Episodes table
The Segments/Episodes table by default shows all audio files for which we measured qualified downloads. If we are aware of a title for the episode or story, the title is displayed. If not, the URI for that audio file is displayed. 
Click on any entry in the table to listen or download the audio file for reference.
The platforms sections shows what listening apps and platforms are being used to download audio. These are determined by the user-agent in the access logs.
On the left side, the trend shows the top 5 platforms in the date range selected and trends them over time, with a 6th “All Other” category as well.
The table on the right side shows the full list of platforms used to download audio in the selected date range. You can paginate through the table and search for items as well.
How to use the Program Drilldown report
To access metrics for a specific podcast or content category, click the names in the Programs table. The dashboard will take a few seconds to update while it queries data for only the selected item. The date range and View by selections you made in the Overview will be preserved in the drilldown view. 
Upon refresh, all the charts, tables and graphs in the dashboard will now reflect data for only the selected podcast or content category, with the exception of the Programs table. To go back to the Overview, simply click the link at the top of the page. 
To jump between programs, select another item from the Programs table.
How to Download a CSV of the data
Once the dashboard view is loaded, a Download CSV link will appear in the top right corner of the page. Clicking the link downloads a zip file containing many CSV files, one for each query the dashboard is running behind the scenes. Not all of these contain relevant data. The highlighted ones in the pictures below will be most useful:
Overview CSVs
Description of each CSV file in the overview
File name suffix Description
sas_downloads_overview-downloads_per_user_trend Trended data from the Downloads per User line graph
sas_downloads_overview-downloads_trend Trended data from the Downloads line graph
sas_downloads_overview-users_trend Trended data from the Users line graph
Data from the Platforms table
sas_downloads_overview-platforms_trend Trended data showing top 5 Platforms over time
sas_downloads_overview-programs Downloads and Uses by program from the Programs table
sas_downloads_overview-segments_episodes Downloads by segment or audio file from Segments / Episodes table
Program Drilldown CSVs
Description of each CSV file in the Program Drilldown
File name suffix
sas_program_drilldown-platforms_table Data from the Platforms table for the selected Program
sas_program_drilldown-platforms_trend Trended data showing top 5 Platforms over time for the selected Program
Trended data from the Downloads per User line graph for the selected Program
sas_program_drilldown-program_downloads_trend Trended data from the Downloads line graph for the selected Program
sas_program_drilldown-program_users_trend Trended data from the Users line graph for the selected Program
Downloads by segment, episode or audio file from Segments / Episodes table for the selected Program
Troubleshooting FAQs:
Q: The report page still shows a “Loading…” message after several seconds. 
A: For longer date ranges, the report could take longer to load as it has to query a bigger dataset and render all the audio files in the tables.  But it should never take more than 12 seconds. If it does, click Submit again or refresh the page.
Q: Some files that should belong to podcasts are not showing up in the Program Drilldown report for that podcast.  
A: All audio files that appeared on a podcast’s RSS feed that we had in our system should be appropriately associated.  However, if a correction was made to audio and a new file was uploaded to replace an existing file in the RSS feed, we may only be aware of the newest file. For corrections made after 10/5/2018, we are now logging all previous versions.  For corrections made prior to 10/5/2018, we are only aware of the most current file that appeared in the RSS feed.
Q: Some podcasts or audio files that I expected to see are missing
A: Remember we can only track audio downloads for audio that we host through or on sites where you’ve set us up to retrieve log files over FTP. If you’re sure we have access to the log files for your audio, but you don’t see those files showing up here, submit a ticket and we’ll take a look to see what’s going on.
Additional Questions?
Reach out to our Station Support team by submitting a ticket.

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