Third party analytics support

I am wondering if it is currently possible to add episode level redirects so that we can use external analytics services such as Podtrac and Blubrry. I love having the built in analytics but it would also be nice to be able to add additional redirects for tracking downloads through other services as a sanity check for the accuracy of statistics. I have tried adding the redirects specified by these services at the feed level, but that doesn’t work properly because they need to be applied to the media enclosure tag in the feed.

Are you aware of any official documentation on how these systems work?

The documentation for Podtrac is as follows:

1. Select the Podtrac Prefix that's right for your episode

For all mp3 episodes, use this prefix:

http://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/
The Podtrac Prefix works for virtually any file format. If your episode is not in mp3 format, simply change the extension on the Podtrac Prefix to match your episode (.m4a or .mv4 for example).

2. Use the Prefix in your RSS <enclosure> tags and website links every time you publish a new episode

Measuring downloads of files linked from your RSS feed:
If your next episode's <enclosure> tag in your RSS feed would normally be:

<enclosure url="http://www.mysite.com/ep051215.mp3"/>
...then use this tag instead, (and please note the removal of "http://" before www.mysite.com):

<enclosure url="http://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/www.mysite.com/ep051215.mp3"/>
Note: Be sure you add the Podtrac Prefix to the podcast files (enclosure urls) in your RSS feed, not to your podcast’s RSS feed url itself.

Measuring downloads of files linked from your website:
If your next episode's website link would normally be:

<a href="http://www.mysite.com/ep051215.mp3">...</a>
...then use this hyperlink instead:

<a href="http://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/www.mysite.com/ep051215.mp3">...</a>
Note: The 2008 version of the Podtrac Prefix is a slight modification to the previous Podtrac Prefix in use since 2005. It was tweaked to optimize filename appearance and redirect behavior for a small subset of users.

3. Check your RSS feed

Check your RSS feed to ensure that it's valid. (We suggest http://www.feedvalidator.org.) Also ensure that all episodes you want to track are included, and that their URLs aren't obfuscated. Podtrac associates episodes with your podcast via the Enclosure URLs listed in your RSS feed, so if the episodes aren't listed, they won't appear on your reports.

Blubrry statistics is similar:

Adding your Media Redirect URL to an existing media link is easy. Just follow these steps.

Start with an existing media link

http://www.website.com/path/to/media.mp3
Remove the http:// at the beginning of the link

www.website.com/pathto/media.mp3/
Place your Media Redirect URL in front of the modified link

http://media.blubrry.com/podcastinit/www.website.com/path/to/media.mp3
Note: There should not be any double slashes '//' between words in the final URL value except for the double slashes found at the beginning of the string in the protocol (http://) . There should only be one protocol (http://) at the beginning of the value. Additional http:// within the string will cause problems for Microsoft based clients.

Looks like both schemes seem to totally ignore that files might be served via https. Once they fix that we might be able to add a proper module as long as their redirection subsystem properly forwards to our analytics URLs (including parameters etc.)

What are the URLs for these specs?

Is it necessary to register a podcast first with them? Is there any authentication scheme involved?

I found a publicly accessible set of instructions for Podtrac: http://analytics.podtrac.com/how-to-measure/
Blubrry seems to require signing in to access the instructions, though registering with them is free.

I believe that they both support HTTPS, they just don’t incorporate that into the examples. As to using their statistics services, they do require registering a podcast first. Podtrac will whitelist the domain for your podcast whereas Blubrry incorporates your account username into the redirect URL.

We have to do some tests here but I promise we will at least look into it. Supporting more statistics backend is in the interest of podcasters and can make our analytics better too.

Hello @timpritlove, have you had an opportunity to investigate this?

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I would definitely appreciate the ability to add Podtrac tracking into PodLove.

@timpritlove thank you for all of the continued work on PodLove. I just wanted to follow up and see if there is any way that I could help with implementing this capability?

Bump!

What is the current status of this. I tried to incorporate podtrac with podlove and it was a no go. Mainly due to the fact that podtrac will only recognise the audio file path rss feed, and the path in the rss feed is a aliased one based on the hosted one.

I believe it is possible to enhance podlove publisher to support this. The feed generated would need to be the podtrac one, that points to the podlove one which then points to the hosted one, Simples!

I think for podtrac the https question was solved long ago.

Is there any appetite for this? Would you accept a pull request if this was implemented? Is it better accomplished with a module?

I like the built in podlove analytics, but I would like to also be able to plug into one of the industry standard ones too, even to compare numbers, if possible.

Hi mavek,

There is a code snippet available for enabling podtrac support. Feel free to give that a try: https://gist.github.com/eteubert/d3faac8c90661b357c88d67e8e7a8208

If you can take the time to verify this and turn this into a podtrac module, a pull request would be fantastic :slight_smile:

I have submitted this pull request:

I went with implementing the prefix as an explicit value as this allows other services to be used, like blubrry, chartable and any analytics services that uses a prefix. I have even seen it working with chained prefixes:

https://chtbl.com/track/9EF8B3//dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/gurucomedy.com/podlove/file/8/s/feed/c/podcast/4153298-harry-harrison.mp3

What it does not do is the funky bit in the gist with the extension of the file being detected, which is only a feature that podtrac seems to do. I have implemented this too, as a separate module, but I think it isn’t as useful as a generic analytics solution. I think most people use a format and stick to it. It would only be an issue if someone hosted a podcast where they are changing their file format episode to episode.