Site Owners and Developers Gain Deep Insight Into Visitor Demographics with Quantcast

Quantcast: How Deep Insights Into Visitor Demographics Help Drive Decisions for Website Owners and App Developers


Website ana­lyt­ics only tell you what browsers do on your web­site. They don’t tell you about the peo­ple who vis­it your web­site. Analytics tell you what device they use and from what coun­try. Quantcast Measure and Audience Grid can tell you who your vis­i­tors are, what they buy, what tele­vi­sion shows they watch, and what they do online out­side of your web­site. Smart busi­ness own­ers can turn that who-they-are and what-they-do data into what-they-want and what-will-sell-them. That’s exact­ly what BuzzFeed did to become one the U.S.’s top 10 web­sites.

In the Western world it’s near­ly impos­si­ble for the aver­age Internet user to have nev­er vis­it­ed, or at least heard of, BuzzFeed​.com. A hand­ful of years ago that wasn’t the case. BuzzFeed was just anoth­er obscure pub­lish­er of read-quick, forget-quicker celebri­ty posts, quirky quizzes, and #fail-tag pho­tos. Now, thanks in large part to its use of Quantcast, BuzzFeed is one the top 10 web­sites in the U.S.

BuzzFeed’s goal was to pub­lish and mon­e­tize con­tent peo­ple want­ed to read and share. The prob­lem was that BuzzFeed didn’t know what peo­ple want­ed to read and share. Standard web­site analytics—number of vis­i­tors, what browsers they used, what coun­tries they were in—provided very lit­tle gen­uine­ly audi­ence insight and action­able intel­li­gence.

Quantcast Measure col­lects data from numer­ous sources not lim­it­ed to web­sites. It col­lects, col­lates, and con­nects web usage behav­ior, to be sure, but it also culls demo­graph­ic and behav­ioral data from hun­dreds of oth­er sources that aren’t web­sites. Quantcast Measure, using Audience Grid, also col­lects shop­ping data, tele­vi­sion view­ing data, deep demo­graph­ics, auto­mo­bile pur­chas­ing and usage data, polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions, and just about any oth­er record­able data about the activ­i­ties of con­nect­ed humans. That com­pre­hen­sive data set, once aggre­gat­ed and cross-referenced, quan­ti­fies people’s activ­i­ties. That gives a pub­lish­er like BuzzFeed a deep under­stand­ing of its people’s inter­ests. More impor­tant­ly, that under­stand­ing can be extrap­o­lat­ed to pre­dict people’s behav­iors and future inter­ests.

The Quantcast audi­ence data can be seg­ment­ed into groups and labels that help define and iden­ti­fy dif­fer­ent groups of vis­i­tors and would-be cus­tomers, how­ev­er such a break­down best ben­e­fits each busi­ness using Quantcast Measure.

Quantcast Measure Lets You Understand Your Visitors

Quantcast Measure pro­vides detailed vis­i­tor demo­graph­ics includ­ing their inter­ests, pur­chase behav­ior, occu­pa­tions, and oth­er deep vis­i­tor insight data. With it, busi­ness­es can tru­ly under­stand their vis­i­tors.

Smart com­pa­nies col­lect infor­ma­tion from vis­i­tors to their web­sites. Some of that infor­ma­tion is auto­mat­i­cal­ly hand­ed over with­out vis­i­tor inter­ac­tion. The user’s brows­er and screen res­o­lu­tion, for instance, are auto­mat­i­cal­ly trans­mit­ted to web­sites and record­ed by a basic ana­lyt­ics sys­tem to pro­vide insight into where and how vis­i­tors access the site—from desk­top or mobile devices and even which mobile devices.

Then there’s basic vis­i­tor response infor­ma­tion that can be obtained from some vis­i­tors. Given an incen­tive, many vis­i­tors will fur­nish infor­ma­tion such as email address, phys­i­cal address, age, edu­ca­tion lev­el, income, and oth­er foun­da­tion­al demo­graph­ics. Most of that data they pro­vide will be cor­rect and not inten­tion­al­ly false, but sep­a­rat­ing true from false is dif­fi­cult. Depending on the types of vis­i­tors tar­get­ed, the true-to-false ratio is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict, thus skew­ing the results an inde­ter­mi­nate amount. And, of course, bar­ring excep­tion­al incen­tives, those that pro­vide any data, accu­rate or erro­neous, are always a minor­i­ty of actu­al vis­i­tors. Something is bet­ter than noth­ing, though.

Unfortunately, that’s the atti­tude adopt­ed by busi­ness­es seek­ing to under­stand vis­i­tors to their sites when the busi­ness­es don’t real­ize bet­ter tools area avail­able. Even less infor­ma­tion is avail­able to under­stand who looks at their ads on oth­er web­sites. For most busi­ness­es, the win­dow into their audi­ences might as well be opaque.

Quantcast Measure draws back the black­out cur­tains and lets you gaze in at your audience’s lives. Far beyond income and edu­ca­tion lev­el, Quantcast Measure present’s deep demo­graph­ics such as gen­der, eth­nic­i­ty, and polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions and engage­ment. By col­lect­ing data and mon­i­tor­ing from thou­sands of sources, demo­graph­ics are giv­en mean­ing with data on audi­ence inter­ests and pur­chase behav­ior. It pro­files people’s online activ­i­ties beyond neb­u­lous “spent X min­utes on Facebook” ana­lyt­ics; Quantcast Measure iden­ti­fies, cat­e­go­rizes, and makes avail­able to busi­ness­es online behav­iors such as the num­ber of times audi­ence mem­bers have post­ed some­thing new to Pinterest ver­sus when they sim­ply repin, tax­onomies for their Instagram con­tent, and what times of day they post what tags, in new or re-shared con­tent, to Twitter, Facebook, and every­where else.

Content pub­lish­ers like CNN, the Onion, BuzzFeed, of course, and many oth­ers can use Quantcast Measure to com­plete­ly under­stand and pro­file their vis­i­tors based on vis­i­tor activ­i­ty out­side the publisher’s own sites. That data is gold­en, form­ing hard num­bers and audi­ence pro­files the sales team can use to lure adver­tis­ers.

Quantcast Measure aggre­gates the vis­i­tor data from thou­sands of sites and sys­tems, see­ing the aver­age U.S. online user more than 600 times per month. Everything that aver­age user does online is record­ed, cat­e­go­rized, and aggre­gat­ed to pro­vide the mas­sive and deep-search, cross-reference capa­ble Quantcast Measure for the ben­e­fit of all of Quantcast’s pub­lish­er clients and more.

Quantcast Audience Grid Provides Constantly Fresh Consumer Behavior Data-Free

Audience Grid is the data set that dri­ves Quantcast Measure, and its free. Publishers and adver­tis­ers can con­nect to Audience Grid and inte­grate it into their own sys­tems. That means every­thing Quantcast col­lects about online users, wher­ev­er they go, what­ev­er they do, is avail­able to any developer’s app. Lifestyle data, shop­ping his­to­ry, tele­vi­sion view­ing habits, and more can be fil­tered, cross-referenced with oth­er data points, and pulled in real-time to tar­get the cen­ter of the bulls­eye of a mar­ket even as that bulls­eye changes posi­tion from minute to minute.

A game devel­op­er, for exam­ple, may use Audience Grid to under­stand the best mar­ket seg­ments for ini­tial sales, but also per­form per-user, in-app cus­tomiza­tions of upsell and micro-sale oppor­tu­ni­ties. Audience Grid can pull TiVo Research data to iden­ti­fy the tele­vi­sion shows peo­ple watch. That data set can be fil­tered to include only users who watch Game of Thrones, Versailles, and Vikings, view­ers of which are most like­ly to be inter­est­ed in the new peri­od game from the devel­op­er. The qualifying-viewer set can now be fur­ther refined by wealth indi­ca­tors such as income, car mod­els owned, how often new cars are pur­chased, and invest­ment data to build tiers of micro-sale cam­paigns. Language, eth­nic­i­ty, gen­der, and oth­er fac­tors can fur­ther divide the audi­ence and inform the cre­ation and refine­ment of sales tiers and cam­paigns. If the game devel­op­er is care­ful in using the data avail­able from Audience Grid, no mon­ey should be wast­ed deliv­er­ing sales mes­sages to audi­ences who respond to dif­fer­ent sales mes­sages.

Publishers Thrive with Quantcast Data Powering Their Efforts

BuzzFeed sky­rock­et­ed to pop­u­lar­i­ty because Quantcast Measure gave the pub­lish­er the audi­ence insight it could­n’t get from web­site ana­lyt­ics. With all that data col­lect­ed by Quancast from pub­lish­ers, etail­ers, social media, and vir­tu­al­ly every oth­er kind of pub­lish­ing, broad­cast­ing, and retail enti­ty, BuzzFeed was able to get inside the heads of its vis­i­tors and poten­tial vis­i­tors. BuzzFeed learned about peo­ple far beyond what they did on BuzzFeed​.com itself, and it used that infor­ma­tion to fig­ure out, and pro­vide, what peo­ple want­ed, what would get them click­ing, shar­ing, and talk­ing.

With the site’s data-driven rise to the top 10 web­sites in the United States, BuzzFeed turned Quantcast data into a revenue-maker. It used its now deep insight into BuzzFeed read­ers to cre­ate a valu­able plat­form of spon­sored con­tent that lets adver­tis­ers hone in on their ide­al demo­graph­ics with­out blind­ing throw­ing darts at the wall, hop­ing to hit the occa­sion­al desired prospect.

Tami Dalley, BuzzFeed’s Senior Director of Research put it best: “We use Quantcast to mea­sure audi­ences for indi­vid­ual posts on BuzzFeed. Getting audi­ence insight at the post lev­el helps us demon­strate to adver­tis­ers how spon­sored con­tent can deliv­er their spe­cif­ic tar­get audi­ences.”

And BuzzFeed isn’t the only pub­lish­er to have ben­e­fit­ed from Quantcast’s mas­sive and metic­u­lous­ly cat­e­go­rized data set. Sprint, AccuWeather, American Express, the Walt Disney Company, NBC Universal, and the rest of the Who’s Who of con­tent and app pub­lish­ers also peer into and learn about their audi­ences and cus­tomers with Quancast Measure and Audience Grid.

Pariah Burke

Author, consultant, trainer, guru: Digital Publishing, ePub, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark. Empowering, Informing, Connecting Creative Professionals™