- The Beat by Rockstar CMO
- The Beat: Fools Paradise
The Beat: Fools Paradise
It's not just land we are renting
Welcome to The Beat by Rockstar CMO. I’m Ian Truscott, a 3xCMO, trusted advisor, strategy consultant and Chief Bottle Washer at Rockstar CMO. In this newsletter, I’d like to share a mix of what’s caught my eye from our community, our podcast and our street knowledge blog.
As you’ve probably heard, a few months ago, in iOS 17, Apple quietly changed how its podcast app works. Before the change, if you subscribed to a podcast, it would automatically download each episode as it became available, regardless of whether you were still listening. Now, the app only downloads the podcasts you are actively listening to, so if you stop listening for a few weeks, the downloads stop.
This has two effects. As a user, you don’t get automatically prompted that a new podcast episode is available for podcasts you've not listened to recently, and of course, all podcasts are seeing fewer downloads.
The former impacts that later. I don't know about you, but I am an “out of sight, out of mind” type of guy, so if I don’t get a nudge of a new episode download, I may not look for them.
The update was a couple of months ago. Still, because it’s taken a while to take effect as Apple figures out which podcasts to stop downloading for each user, it’s getting a lot of coverage now because, as you’ve probably heard, podcast download numbers are down across the board. It's hurting some folks, as this is a key metric for advertisers and the primary vanity metric for the content creator.
But downloads are an imprecise measure of engagement, and Apple’s change means that the numbers it provides are more accurate, much closer to an indication of listeners.
Hence, the title of this newsletter is “Fools Paradise”. This is defined as “a feeling of happiness that one has because one is ignorant of the negative aspects of a situation” and is also a cracking 80’s tune by Mel’isa Morgan (back in the day, I saw her in concert in London). As you know, I name these things after songs.
My take on this Apple change is that it’s a reminder of building on rented land, normally applied to YouTube, Facebook or LinkedIn; if you are building a content property, you must realise what is yours and what you are renting.
This conversation normally revolves around how the content is hosted and shared and how content creators are at the mercy of the algorithms. Or, as we’ve seen with Twitter’s slow death, the whim of a private company.
However, this Apple change shows that we are also renting the data and how the data is collected. More importantly, we are renting how we value what we do. The ringing of hands on this isn't that Apple did anything wrong but that so many had built their value on this metric, and that value has taken a tumble.
Remember, Apple has form here, as they also did this to email, sending the open rates metric in a tizzy.
Aside from the renting thing, the last point is the challenge with vanity metrics of any kind; they don't necessarily indicate the most valuable metric: engagement.
Coincidently, as I thought about this, on LinkedIn, one of my network (someone from the book writing course I mentioned last week) shared a really good story from a client about the value of “the lurkers”, people who are out there paying attention to your stuff but are invisible to you.
Anyway, I’ve gone on way too long! Happy Sunday - thanks for reading, hope you like the links below and have a great week!
Ian Truscott | Chief Bottle Washer Rockstar CMO
Oh, and if you noticed my error last week, I signed off twice - apologies!
I am still trying to get the Threads habit, and I would love to connect with you there - https://www.threads.net/@iantruscott
The good stuff from Rockstar CMO, our community and other stuff I’ve liked…
Get your Monday Morning Marketing Mojo Working
About 30 years ago, I saw this amazing singer in a concert in London, and in my personal opinion, if Melissa Morgan doesn’t get your Monday mojo working, you might not have a mojo. This is from 10 years ago in Manchester. Enjoy!