Quantcast Sheds Light on Stock-Buyer Demographics

Posted on 3/13/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Founded in 2006, Quantcast bills itself as “a new breed of audience [measurement] service, focused on helping buyers and sellers quantify the real-time characteristics of digital media consumers.” The company’s statistics on several leading stock-licensing companies provide a new dimension of information on image buyers.

How Accurate is Quantcast Data?

The reason for Quantcast’s rapid adoption by the Internet’s most popular properties is that it offers a much deeper level of site-traffic analysis than previous segment leaders. Quantcast goes well beyond the basic numerical analytics by augmenting them with demographic, geographic and affinity information on Web site visitors.

Accuracy has always been an issue in the Internet measurement space. For instance, when using Alexa site rankings, consider that the underlying data is derived not from the total pool of Internet users, but only from those who use Alexa’s proprietary tools. Companies often complain of the resulting rankings’ lack of precision. For example, Alexa’s traffic chart for iStockphoto exhibited a downward trend during the first two months of the year, but COO Kelly Thompson says iStock has actually experienced an increase in site visitors.

Quantcast’s case may be similar. While the public data for companies such as GumGum, which is among Quantcast’s clients, is exact, statistics for other Web sites are estimated. Still, in an industry where customer information is the exclusive domain of companies whose market share is large enough to provide reliable data, even an approximation can offer valuable insight.

Quantcast has enjoyed unparalleled success in the space previously occupied by companies such as Alexa Internet. The newcomer boasts an impressive roster of big-name clients—including Hulu.com, ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV, Hachette Filipacchi, FOX, Businessweek, CNNMoney.com and People.com—and is fast becoming the online standard in audience analysis.

To those familiar with the business models of Getty Images, Corbis, Photos.com and iStockphoto, Quantcast user demographics will appear to capture important differences and similarities.

Income. For example, visitors to gettyimages.com are by far the most affluent of this group, with 36% earning over $100,000 per year—well above the statistical average. Interestingly, iStock also attracts an affluent audience, with 30% earning salaries between $60,000 and $100,000. Corbis and Photos.com, both of which place somewhere between gettyimages.com and iStock, appear to capture the $30,000 to $60,000 annual salary bracket.

Education. Stock-image buyers are overwhelmingly college-educated. All four properties boast above-average rankings for undergraduate and graduate education, in the 40% to 50% range for the former. With the odd exception of Corbis, 15% to 18% of the visitors to the three other sites hold graduate-school degrees.

Gender and ethnicity. There are no significant gender differences; however, stock-image Web sites rank cater to a substantially more ethnically diverse audience than most others. All four properties reviewed rank below average for Caucasian traffic, while Getty Images, Corbis and Photos.com significantly exceed the average for African American and Hispanic users. Both gettyimages.com and iStock have done similarly well with Asian audiences.

Age. Site-visitors’ ages vary greatly. Quantcast says that teens (12 to 17 years old) comprise iStock’s largest audience segment, closely followed by young adults (18 to 34) with 31%. Over half (52%) of gettyimages.com visitors come from the young-adult group, and 30% range between 35 and 49 years of age. Corbis has the most diverse age penetration, while Photos.com seems oddly skewed toward the middle-aged.

Traffic rank. Quantcast also provides site rankings. iStockphoto, Corbis, Getty Images and Photos.com respectively rank at 750, 1,034, 1,084 and the mysteriously distant 36,452. Corbis and Getty Images’ expected relative positions are swapped.

Such data, along with more typical traffic patterns and trends, can be accessed by entering domain names into the “find profile” field at the top of quantcast.com.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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