Overcast’s beta update show which podcasts are tracking you

Podcast player app Overcast’s new transparency feature shows what services podcasts use to serve ads and track listners.

This is the first major podcast platform we’ve seen implement this feature. You can’t opt out of tracking, but this likely won’t and shouldn’t discourage listeners of podcasts. Podcast tracking is fairly limited at present, but it’s a nice step towards transparency. As podcasts continue to grow, ads become more important and thus does the data we provide via tracking.

The beta is open to the public today. To sign up to the beta you’ll need to install TestFlight on your iPhone and head to this link.

To view a show’s privacy settings, simply tap the show and select PRIVACY & TRACKING. You’ll see a list of all the services a podcast uses to track listeners, such as stats which counts the total number of listeners by region, tracking which notes ad response behavior across shows or the web, and DAI (dynamic ad insertion) which places targeted ads based on you and your location.

Spotify in particular gather more information with little transparency. Spotify gather music and podcast listening data on top of account details such as location, age, billing info and name. Once Google fully build out their Google Podcasts analytics dashboard and start serving targeted podcast ads, we expect this to gather significantly more data. Google already collects huge amounts of customer data for ads such as Gmail accounts, search history and browsing data.

Download Overcast from the App Store.

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