Quantcast: intelligent web reporting for the masses
In affiliate marketing, it's important to know how many people visit a site. This helps us figure out which sites to work with – sites that get 10,000 or more unique visits per month usually make much better affiliates than sites that get less than 2,000. The problem lies in actually getting accurate reports on that data. There are a few online web reporting tools that can help us determine these numbers; but there are some fundamental flaws in these tools.
The numbers that these tools give are slightly skewed because of the demographic that they're gathering their data from – webmaster-related sites score much, much higher than they should, and many sites are misrepresented. Also, scripts have been written to spoof these tools, making it look like tens of thousands of extra visitors are coming to these sites. These tools can be good for getting rough estimates, but for examining web sites that make their owners a living by convincing others that a ton of people are visiting their sites, the margin for error is just too significant.
Enter Quantcast, a new web reporting and web analytics tool available to web site owners for free. Like these other tools, Quantcast extrapolates data from a panel representing a random sampling of the American Internet-using public. If web site owners are upset because their numbers seem off, though, they can install a tracking pixel to get 100% accurate data on their web site made available to the masses.
Even more fun, though, is Quantcast's web analytics feature, comparable to Google Analytics. In addition to providing basic data to the masses, Quantcast's tracking pixel can provide you with more detailed information on where in the country your visitors are coming from, what keywords they use to get there, and how many of them are repeat visitors. This marketing data can help web site owners determine what marketing is actually getting users to the site and what their biggest draws are.
Quantcast is relatively new on the market, but a great many sites are already choosing to quantify their traffic (by installing the tracking pixel), and it's emerging as an invaluable tool to investigate the reach and demographic of a web site. If you're into that sort of thing and you haven't checked it out yet, you really need to. We did, and we feel smarter already.