Quantcast Woos Marketers with New Service

Quantcast has long catered to publishers, but now the firm is officially wooing marketers through a new service. The new “Quantcast Marketer” product promises to help advertisers and agencies apply the measurement firm’s audience profile data to inform media buys. The goal, at least in part, is to get marketers to find direct value in the information Quantcast gathers on its publisher partners’ sites.

For the past six months the firm has been working with advertisers and agencies, tracking their brand advertising and content to determine profiles of the types of audiences interacting with their brands. The offering is free to marketers.

Razorfish has used the product mainly on behalf of clients that target by demographic, said R.J. Hilgers, SVP, managing director for the agency. “One of the strengths of it is to validate that we’ve made the right decisions,” he said. “It helps us validate that what we were told we were targeting is what we’re actually getting.”

Like the company does for publisher sites, Quantcast tags brand sites, advertising, or particular actions associated with an advertiser, and maps characteristics in aggregate of the users interacting with those tagged elements. The outcome is a profile or profiles of customer segments showing characteristics such as demographics or interests. Through its Web site measurement system — the firm claims to track about 10 million Web properties — Quantcast can then identify others who could also fit that description.

“It then enables those marketers to build media plans…based on those particular segment profiles,” said Quantcast Chief Marketing Officer Adam Gerber. The firm hopes marketers will discover value in the publisher sites it provides its free measurement service to. It also hopes publishers learn how to better sell to media buyers.

“If a publisher can better package inventory…that gives them an opportunity to drive both premium CPM and increase the share of business from the advertisers that they’re working with,” suggested Gerber.

Kia, Lenovo, Scottrade, and Virgin America were among the 40 marketers to participate in a beta test of the service. Although the offering seems especially suited to e-commerce and retail brands, Gerber believes it will appeal to many types of advertisers. “In the CPG space or in any category where there’s no transaction online, those marketers have had blinders on for years,” he said.

The system stores only anonymous data in aggregate, stressed Gerber, who said only the marketers have control over data associated with their brands.

In the future, the firm hopes to bring marketers closer to the holy grail of addressable advertising, said Gerber. “It sets the foundation of marketers being able to find very distinct [audiences] they are trying to reach…and enabling ad decisions in real-time based on audience insights.”

It’s too early to tell whether Quantcast will eventually facilitate media buys employing its measurement data. “How the service evolves over time is still something we’re thinking about,” said Gerber.

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