Are Podcasts Tracking Your Data? | Ossa Podcast Industry News

Overcast Update Makes Podcast Data Tracking Information Available to Listeners

A new beta update in Overcast will increase the transparency of podcast data tracking, letting listeners know if their data is being collected and sold for use in targeted advertising. This is the first major podcasting app to offer this type of feature.

Though it is in beta, the feature is available to the public. Listeners on Overcast will now be able to see the services each show uses (if any) to serve ads and track data.

To find a show’s podcast data tracking information, you should go to the show’s page on Overcast. Then, select “privacy and tracking”. If any third-party services are listed, you will be able to click on them to learn more.

One downside of Overcast’s new feature is that it does not allow listeners to opt out of data tracking — an option that is available on some websites and social platforms. However, having the option to be informed as to whether or not a show is collecting your data is a step in the right direction.

Left: Screenshot of the Overcast app update details. Right: An example of The Vergecast data and ad information in Overcast.
An example of The Vergecast data and ad information in Overcast. Source: The Verge

With this feature, Overcast has distinguished itself when compared to other podcast apps. Spotify tracks information about listeners’ podcast and music preferences with almost no transparency. Google could begin to apply its robust tracking and ad serving platform to podcasts if they build out their podcast analytics dashboard.

Dynamic advertising for podcasts is in its early stages, but as the industry grows, advertising may begin to more closely resemble web tracking. If that happens, Overcast’s transparency could set an industry precedent.

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