Quantcast's Audience Metrics Help Smaller Pubs Compete

by , Sep 27, 2007, 6:00 AM
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San Francisco-based Quantcast has upgraded its suite of free online audience measurement tools--adding multiple views of traffic data, and the ability to view media assets such as videos, games and widgets in a single dashboard--as well as increased security for e-commerce sites.

The company's Quantified Publisher service is a tag-based system, so publishers place trackable pieces of code into their online content and then receive traffic and usage reports.

The service is also built to be transparent, as the public is able to view the same audience and traffic data as well. It is this transparency and the fact that reports are based on actual user behavior (as opposed to panel data from measurement firms like Nielsen, comScore and Hitwise) that has led to Quantcast gaining favor with smaller, more niche publishers like Gawker Media, widget-maker Slide.com, and even Answers.com.

"We've been using Quantcast in lieu of Nielsen or comScore because panel-based data doesn't project against smaller audiences very well," said Christopher Batty, vice president of sales, Gawker Media. As the publisher of sites like the Valleywag tech gossip blog and Gizmodo gadget guide, Batty said Gawker needs a more accurate representation of its traffic and demographic breakdown to effectively pitch to media buyers.

Quantcast's new services supplement unique visitor and page view stats with in-depth metrics such as a traffic summary that calculates average visits per user, and weekly and monthly usage charts.

The service also helps publishers evaluate the performance of their rich media content more effectively, providing stats on video plays, image downloads and widgets--with an added level of security for tags embedded in e-commerce sites.

Armed with Quantcast's breadth of data and analytics, smaller publishers can broker better ad deals--giving advertisers a fully transparent, detailed view of the audience they stand to reach.

"Media buyers need three things," said Ben Kunz, director of strategic planning at Mediassociates. "We need to accurately forecast impressions, assess in-flight performance, and then have back-end data. And if someone like Quantcast can provide more detail on all three--then it's a home run."

Kunz said he has not yet purchased inventory from a publisher using the Quantcast measurement suite, but his clients are constantly pushing for data and metrics that go beyond what is typically available from the leading online measurement services.

Meanwhile, Batty said most of the advertisers Gawker negotiated with understood the company's properties had smaller, more niche audiences, and that Nielsen or Hitwise data would be "too volatile or not relevant at all."

In the case of a buyer who was unfamiliar with Quantcast's services, Batty said the company would use other data. "But the majority of buyers are used to this. They understand what the panels do and don't do well."

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