Quantcast Makes Data More Applicable for Media Planning

A new service brings Quantcast closer to its goal of being a must-have paid service for advertisers and agencies. The audience measurement firm launched a search tool aimed at media planners that presents the audience data it already collects and provides in a new way. The system, unveiled in beta form yesterday, spits out lists of Web sites based on defined audience characteristics such as gender, household income or education level.

“The existing Web site, up until [Monday], essentially surfaced all the same data,” explained Quantcast CMO Adam Gerber. “The search tool is really just a different front end.”

That different front end allows media planners to use data they may have found interesting before, but perhaps too unwieldy to apply in an efficient manner towards making media decisions.

Quantcast provides traffic and audience reports on 20 million Web sites, many of them too small to be tracked by comScore and Nielsen Online. In addition, the firm tracks audience data directly from 30,000 publishers, which it combines with panel data.

Until now, the firm displayed information in what Gerber refers to as a “dictionary” style; audience data such as age range and family status was presented on pages associated with each individual publisher site, but couldn’t be organized based on audience criteria. “That’s not an efficient way for a media planner to work,” suggested Gerber.

Today, a search for sites attracting audiences similar to ESPN.com with audiences comprised of males aged 18 to 34 and earning $100,000 or more turned up a list including NBADraft.net and Sporting News. The system can filter results to include only sites that accept advertising or belong in specific categories.

Though the Audience Search service makes Quantcast’s data more applicable for media planning purposes, it doesn’t allow for easy integration with other measurement or campaign optimization systems. “Right now the tool is really focused on the planning process,” said Gerber.

The new offering is in line with Quantcast’s goal to build new products and services for advertisers. This was part of the plan when the firm reaped a series B funding round of $20 million in January.

The new service is “a critically important next step in how we evolve Quantcast,” Gerber told ClickZ News.

Although the company aims to legitimize its research by boosting the number of publishers it gathers data from directly, it has yet to monetize its measurement services in any full-fledged way.

The Audience Search service is free to anyone who registers. “It’s not gated, and we don’t charge for it,” said Gerber. Although Quantcast has no plans to charge for the service, it has implied it could create revenue channels in the future by charging agencies and advertisers for other services.

UPDATE: The story originally implied Quantcast may charge for the Audience Search service in the future, which is not the case. Also, to clarify, the firm only combines panel data with the audience data it tracks directly from publishers.

Related reading