Podcast Hits vs Uniques; what do these metrics mean?
Podcast downloads are the most important metric that podcasters use to gauge listener engagement (also used to attract advertisers).
Hits are all podcast downloads from your feed, including bots crawling your feed (e.g., Stitcher, TuneIn).
Hits are all requests made to your feed and are not filtered for duplicates by IP address, such as what uniques are.
Uniques are the unique number of podcasts being downloaded per person, irrespective of how many devices they downloaded it on. For example, if I download a podcast on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac, that counts as 1 unique download.
Unique downloads are the metric the entire industry uses to gauge listener engagement and so they can charge a dollar value to advertisers for CPM ( Cost Per Mile).
Important: Downloads are NOT listens. With the current RSS podcast spec, there is no way to know who has actually listened to a podcast or for how long. Most podcast apps automatically download episodes in the background, so these get counted.
Streaming: Streaming podcasts also count as a download since they're still downloaded, only in small chunks. When someone plays a podcast from a URL, the file is progressively downloaded. A progressive download means you're downloading a file in chunks using HTTP byte range requests. This allows for playback of the podcast once the first chunks have been retrieved. These chunk downloads use byte range requests to download portions of the file. Both a streamed play and a download appear the same way server side, so both of these methods can be measured by FeedPress in the same way.