With an eye for greater transparency about audience numbers and demographics for publisher Web sites, Internet rating service Quantcast announced Tuesday it’s now offering free tools for its members. The public will be able to view the audience measurements.
The media measurement service is part of Quantcast’s Quantified Publisher program, which invites each publisher to place tags into its online content. These tags can be tracked and shown in free reports. In addition to Web pages, the new suite can track and measure videos, widgets, and games.
“It’s important for everyone, advertisers and their agencies, when they are out buying they need to know what they are getting access to. Too often the characteristics of the audience may be opaque and you want the details on the audience,” said Konrad Feldman, Quantcast’s chief executive and co-founder.”It benefits the whole industry to have greater transparency. It means that advertisers can look at the data and find opportunities that they might not otherwise have found.”
New tags for tracking e-commerce site usage includes added security. The new suite also makes it possible to track multiple sites belonging to a single publisher to provide an overall impression of its audience.
The collected information is provided directly from the Quantcast Web site, which now includes new traffic tabs to show additional information about a site’s audience, including a daily, a seven-day, or a 30-day total of visitors and from what demographic. By providing a detailed report of audience members, including age and frequency of visiting the site, publishers can allow their advertisers to gauge their target demographic with precision. Publishers have the option of restricting portions of the information provided by the site, but more often are willing authorize a completely transparent view of their data to better woo those advertisers, according to Feldman.
Already Quantcast’s transparent sharing of data has found support from publishers like Gawker Media.
“They are saying tag the sites for free, we’ll provide the study to you, but that information is going to be available to the public as well, and for people that are selling advertising to the real world, that’s a good thing. We’ve always wanted to make our data available. Full transparency,” said Christopher Batty, vice president sales for Gawker Media. “If [advertisers] want better quality data to make better informed decisions, they should ask their publishers to tag their data with Quantcast tags.”
Quantcast’s approach to providing complete transparency in the collection and viewing of audience data differs from other measurement firms like Nielsen, comScore, and Hitwise, which use panel data and charge fees for access. As a start-up, Quantcast operates off of its initial funding capital, but also charges for publishers for specialty services to “organize their audience into groups that are attracted to different advertisers,” Feldman said.
He said the new Quantified Publisher program isn’t intended to compete with Web analytic companies like Omniture, Coremetrics, and WebSideStory, as they provide a first person approach to improving Web site performance, while Quantcast focuses on learning the characteristics of the people on the site.