Over the years, “big data” has shifted to focus more on actionable data. To accurately capture actionable data, marketers, agencies and businesses of all shapes and sizes have seen the value and ROI in investing in analytics platforms.
Analytics platforms can help provide data and insights around website traffic, audience and visitor demographics and other buyer patterns and trends, helping marketers and businesses to make more informed decisions.
Although there are many analytics platforms available today, many aren’t necessarily easy to set up and use, or provide accurate data. Furthermore, analytics platforms with robust audience measurement functionality are hard to come by. However, there are two primary analytics platforms that stand above the rest when it comes to audience measurement: Google Analytics and Quantcast.
In this article, we will compare Google Analytics vs. Quantcast to see how each serves its own purpose.
Choosing an audience measurement and analysis platform: Quantcast vs. Google Analytics
Most marketers have used or at least heard of Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a great tool and provides some powerful and free functionality into your website audience.
Google Analytics also allows users to create goals, record the number of users that land on and interact with your website each day and some rather robust audience measurement reporting including demographic information (such as age, gender and location) and psychographic information (such as shopping affinity and other interests).
On the other hand, few marketers have used Quantcast, or have even heard of it. Believe it or not, Quantcast has been around since 2006. This tool offers similar functionality as Google Analytics but takes it to a whole new level, focusing primarily on audience measurement functionality.
Quantcast is designed with predictive modeling and AI technology to help content marketers determine the demographic and psychographic measures of those consuming their content.
As an avid content marketer myself, I have used both Google Analytics and Quantcast, and I can say from experience that Quantcast is a much more powerful tool for measuring your audience.
Even though Quantcast requires a financial investment if you want to use it for targeted advertising, most of its audience measurement tools and features available for free. It accurately captures user behavioral data as well as technographic profiles of users to provide a clear, in-depth view of your website audience.
Here are the following criteria that I used to “grade” each platform:
- Time to get going. If you are new to using analytics tools and platforms, and you aren’t exactly a data scientist, using a new platform can be a little overwhelming. How difficult is it to start using this platform? Are there any resources, tools or training videos available?
- Ease of use. How easy is it to set up, install and begin using the platform?
- Feature richness. What features are available? Are the features helpful? Do the features provide value for the cost?
- Data accuracy. Does the tool provide accurate data? Is the data consistent and reliable over time? Are there any data reporting features available?
- Price. How much does the platform cost? What is the overall cost versus value?
At the end of this article, I will provide an overall grade and assign a winner to one of these platforms.
Deep-dive review: Google Analytics
Google analytics strengths:
- Price: One of the reasons why so many marketers and businesses use Google Analytics is because it is free. Google Analytics does offer a premium upgrade for larger enterprises, however, the free version offers enough features for small businesses.
- Ease of use: Google Analytics is relatively easy to set up and use. By simply copying and pasting the analytics code in the back end of your website pages, you can begin tracking data almost immediately.
- Feature richness: Google Analytics allows you to access a number of features — even with the free version — such as basic metrics, reporting and setting up goals.
- Training resources available: If you aren’t sure how to set up or use Google Analytics, there are how-to articles and videos on how to do this. Even if you aren’t able to find help for what you’re looking for in Google Analytics’ library of resources, there are a ton of third-party articles and videos you can find right on the web.
Google analytics weaknesses:
- Time to get going: Google Analytics is a great analytics platform, rich with features and functionality for bloggers, marketers, entrepreneurs and small businesses. However, it can be incredibly overwhelming for a new user, even with training resources available.
- Limited audience measurement: Google Analytics does a lot, and does it well. However, with doing so much and reporting on such a widely varied array of online measures, it leaves quite a bit to be wanted when it comes to audience measures. Generally speaking, it provides you with demographic measures (gender, age, location) and some very limited psychographic measures (interests and shopping affinities), but lacks the whiz-bang audience measurement set provided by Quantcast.
- Data accuracy: Google Analytics uses data sampling, which means that you are only looking at a small portion of your total website traffic. Unfortunately, this is a huge disadvantage for Google Analytics as this greatly hinders overall data accuracy.
Google Analytics audience measurement functionality grade:
B+ (3.4 out of 5 possible points)
Deep-dive review: Quantcast
- Data accuracy: One of the top benefits of Quantcast over Google Analytics is data accuracy. Quantcast provides access to data and information from over 100 million sources on the internet. Because of its high-powered data intelligence capabilities, Quantcast also analyzes billions of data points every day, providing users with an accurate view of their website traffic, audience and buyer behavior.
- Feature richness: In addition to basic metrics, such as page views, time spent on page and insights into content performance and geodata, Quantcast also provides some interesting, valuable reports. Some of these reports provide data and insights related to shopping interests, media interests, as well as visitor and customer occupations. This provides users with even deeper data about their audiences and customers’ preferences.
Quantcast also offers data tracking for apps, such as overall total app traffic, app visit frequency, visitor and user country origin and more. Therefore, for businesses that want to receive data and insights related to their website and their app, Quantcast is the way to go.
- Time to get going: Because Quantcast is super powerful, this might lead users to believe that it is difficult to set up, use and navigate. However, many users have claimed that Quantcast installation is easy.
- Training resources available: Quantcast offers a number of resources to help its user base, such as a library of how-to articles, a blog and even a help center designed for different users. Quantcast also offers live help support via chat right on their website.
- Time to get going: We included “time to get going” as both a pro and con for Quantcast because this really depends on the user. Many users claim that installation is easy, however, for less tech-savvy professionals, Quantcast might require significant setup time.
In some cases, users have claimed that setup isn’t as simple and straightforward as copying and pasting a code snippet; some code customization may be needed, and the instructions may not be as easy to interpret for everyone; however, how your website is designed and built is a huge factor here.
- Price: As we have alluded to throughout this article, Quantcast is a high-powered platform, but it comes with a cost. Quantcast does offer a free version of the measurement tool, which already has more audience measurement functionality than Google Analytics, but if you’d like to use the platform for targeted advertising you’ll need to speak with a salesperson about pricing.
Quantcast audience measurement functionality grade:
A- (4.3 out of 5 possible points)
The winner: Quantcast
For the purpose of understanding who your website visitors are (demographics, interests, buyer behavior patterns, trends and so on), Quantcast is the winner.
Quantcast is also easier to set up, use and navigate, and provides more accurate data. And in today’s digital age when big data drives most business decisions, marketers and businesses are better off investing in a tool that does just this.
Even though Quantcast has a slew of excellent and free measurement features, if you want to pair it with targeted advertising it will require a financial investment. That said, they also have the option where you can sign up for a free trial to get a feel for the advertising platform and to see firsthand if it is the right tool for you.