Free product brings firm closer to launching enhanced segmenting and buying tools.
Quantcast today officially launched Media Planner, a free online audience measurement tool that the company says is the only one on the market offering direct, "census level" data about Web site traffic and audiences.
Media Planner was "soft-launched"without a name in early May, noted Adam Gerber, CMO of Quantcast, which provides traffic and audience reports on 20 million Web sites and tracks user information directly from about 40,000 publishers.
Gerber said the beta launch went extremely well. He said Quantcast has been working with "a wide variety of digital shops" and their clients that are using or considering Media Planner.
Media Planner provides information that allows the ranking of Web sites based on audience characteristics that can be defined and prioritized with a number of filters. "It's a very different model than what the industry has experienced to date with traditional panel audience services where you pay a license fee for access to data," said Gerber.
Quantcast plans to eventually sell an "enhanced series" of related products that will allow publishers and agencies to segment and engage in transactions on "much more refined groupings of inventory that align with their particular targeting," said Gerber.
He said he believes Media Planner will benefit from the media economy's transition from unit- or placement-based to impression-based buying.
"In the old days, when you bought a TV or print ad, the audience data you evaluated was for the show or magazine," he offered. "In that world, panel-based measurement and property-level audience data was viable because it was a good indicator of the audience you probably would reach if you bought media in that property."
But the Web changed that, he said. Only rarely do advertisers buy out an entire property or placement. "Rather, they are buying random allocations of impressions across a property or network," said Gerber.
That means the high-level audience data no longer aligns to actual media anybody is buying at any one time. "You could get a completely different allocation every time you make a media buy," he said. "Our belief is that, as media becomes more addressable, and is transacted on an impression level, there has to be a more real-time audience measurement and discovery platform."
Gerber said Quantcast's platform allows publishers to more closely characterize the audience they are offering to ad buyers. It also allows those buyers to "discover those segments in very easy and actionable ways," he said.
Quantcast believes a key differentiator between Media Planner and other free, online measurement tools is that its product provides demographics and affinity information, not just traffic counts.
"They don't give you any insight into who the people are," commented Gerber. "For advertisers, that's the most important part."
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