If you take a peek at http://www.quantcast.com/aplawrence.com you'll find some statistics about the other people who visit this site. Supposedly visitors here are mostly male (69%, they say), mostly over 35, childless, and make under $60,000 per year.
Actually, the figures you see may be different - I looked at this on November 4th, 2008.
How do they think they know this?
They are tracking ip's across multiple sites. Like Alexa, they are ranking sites while they are at it, but the Quantcast tracking is mostly done by code that websites install in their pages. I say "mostly" because they may have some information about you if a site they do track links to you, but that's likely to be very inaccurate. The statistics come from cross referencing: if your ip has also been seen at other Quantcast enabled sites that seem like they might be of more interest to men, then you'll get classified as a man. If you never visit sites with expensive gadgets, you'll probably be classified as low income - even though you may just be cheap like me..
Is it accurate? Shrug.. probably somewhat. I can say that either Quantcast is undercounting visitors here or Google Analytics is overcounting - there's 125,000 monthly visitors missing from the Quantcast count if Analytics has the right data. That may be because I just added the Quantcast code a few days ago while I have run Anaytics for years. Possibly they just don't have enough data yet to make a good projection.
If you go look up your site, remember that it will be nearly meaningless until you add their code to your pages. The breakdowns are obviously subject to some margin of error even after adding the code, but figures on U.S. visitors vs. Global and the percentages of "addicts" and "regulars" should be fairly accurate and of course interesting.
And the other stats are probably useful enough. If this measurement thinks your audience is 70% male, it certainly is unlikely that it's actually 70% female. If you WANT it to be 70% female (because you are selling women's products or writing for women), seeing the opposite stats might prompt some changes.
I'll be watching this over the next month or so to see if it gets in line with Analytics. I'm particularly interested in its estimation of recurring visitors vs. Analytics stats for the same. You would expect these to be similar over time, but so far there's a big disparity. Again, that's probably just because I have only had their code in place for a few days now, so we'll see.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2012-07-16 Anthony Lawrence