Like Dave, I don’t understand the fascination with measuring downloads. Well, I take that back – I understand it for producers trying to woo advertisers. I don’t understand why advertisers would want to base their ad buy on download stats. Downloads don’t equal listeners, fans, or impressions.
Requests for downloads are not full downloads.
Full downloads are not plays.
Plays are not listens.
Listens are not engaged.
Engaged are not customers.
And as Dave points out, download requests can be automated.
Kris Smith’s CastLock application provides unique feed urls and could be spun out to deliver a custom, complimentary ad (or other) message to individual subscribers – based on some measure of engagement (i.e. some bastardized quantification of caring).
As early-stage as it is, it still provides more useful metrics than download stats. Mapping individual listeners to customer purchases still needs some work, but the gap would be shorter.
The real question is – what’s the Effort/Engagement ratio of a publication like a podcast or weblog. I’m glad you’re reading this, and I’m glad you know who I am. That’s return enough for me.