Blogging By Numbers: What Can You Learn from Alexa and Quantcast

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It all comes down to numbers. At least, in the marketing world, numbers indicate strength and the higher the following or rank, the more credible your blog will appear. You can have strong visuals and compelling editorial content, but without an audience, it's like talking to an empty room.

 

The two tools that most public relations and marketing professionals use to quantify the value of a website and/or blog are Alexa and Quantcast. With these two tools, a brand can get a better sense of a blogger's worth. Remember, from a brand aspect, a blog needs to have an ROI, a measurable result or return, in almost all of their outreach efforts. Having your blog on these two platforms and working to get better marketing numbers won't guarantee that a brand will work with you but it will make you more attractive.

What exactly is Alexa?

Alexa is a web monitoring tool that houses web analytics from across the blog.

What would you use Alexa for?

  • Website monitoring
  • Competitive analysis
  • Benchmarking
  • Market research
  • Business development

Alexa will basically tell you how strong your website is in comparison to your competitors. For instance, take a look at this screenshot of Amazon.com's Alexa rating right below. You can see how Amazon.com ranks in various countries, what its top search queries are and more.

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Why you should use it?

Alexa gives you an idea of what you are doing right and what you can do better. See how your readers find your site via search queries and what countries your readers are from. The one downside to Alexa? It won't give you straight-forward web analytics, like monthly uniques and pageviews. However, it will show you how your site stacks up to your competitors. If you want to be the biggest nail-art blog, see and monitor how your blog grows in rankage.

What is Quantcast?

A PR/marketer's close ally, Quantcast “delivers detailed audience data in real-time for all forms of digital media including websites, video, widgets and advertising campaigns.”

What would you use it for?

  • Audience data
  • Ad planning
  • Measured traffic reports

Nothing gives you a more clear view of your site's traffic than Quantcast, other than Google Analytics but you don't need to share that with anyone unless you want to. This is an easy way to share site's health and also gives you an opportunity to learn more about your audience. Below is a brief glimpse at NYMag.com's Quantcast query. You can see their global and US stats as well as their demographics broken down into important segments. Those segments are not only educational but also help you with your ad planning. Should you target under 30 year old readers who make only 50K? Use Quantcast and see if your web's audience matches that segment.

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Why should you use it?

It's one of the easiest, most direct ways to find how much traffic a website gets. It's just that simple. Unlike Alexa, this platform will show you actual statistics for monthly visits, both US and Global. However, if a blog or site isn't in Quantcast, it means the owner hasn't tagged the site. Meaning you won't be able to look at their information.

Now that you have a handful of web monitoring and analytical platforms, it's your opportunity to test them out and see which one best fits your needs. The information from these platforms is seriously invaluable and it's up to you to make the most of them.

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15 Responses

  1. Sarah's Real Life

    Are these available to bloggers with free WordPress.com blogs? I recently read that Google Analytics wasn’t available for free WordPress sites (after going crazy trying to figure out how to use it), so I’d rather know up front whether I’ll be able to use these services! If anyone knows and could tell me, that would be great 🙂

    Sarah – Sarah’s Real Life

    Reply
  2. abl

    I use both, because as Taylor mentions, PR companies utilize them. Problem is their accuracy.

    My numbers with Alexa actually got worse as the traffic on my site improved. What did I do differently? Removed their toolbar. Installing their toolbar actually helps improve your ranking.

    I’ve found that Google Analytics have the most accurate stats, but Quantcast and Alexa should not be totally ignored.

    Reply
    • Grace - Stripes & Sequins

      I’m so glad you guys covered this, as am such a nerd about this stuff.

      I had the same exact experience as abl – my traffic had nearly doubled, but my Alexa ranking had totally TANKED. I did some digging and learned the same thing. Alexa only takes into account sites that have the toolbar installed, so the ranking is skewed. Alexa has some things you can do to boost your ranking listed on it’s site… installing some code, adding the toolbar, etc… but since learning this I have had a bad taste in my mouth about Alexa and do not trust it at all.

      Another good one is Compete.com. At BaubleBar, our PR agency uses this to measure blogger’s traffic. The #s are way off, but it’s a great way to rank yourself against other bloggers. I think you have to be at a certain traffic level for Compete to factor your site in, but it’s another good one to track. You have to create an account to use it (free,) but once you are in, you can set up benchmarks and automatically track your competitors / blogs that cover the same topics as yours.

      Reply
  3. Look Fabulous For Less

    Do you have to pay to use Quantcast? Or can you get a downgraded free version to check it out first before you decide if you want to “Go Premium” as it were? My blog doesn’t have enough traffic yet to warrant these kinds of analytics although it has been rising steadily. I can’t imagine that my blog would ever be the kind of Blog that would get real product endorsement or collaborations between ‘brands’ etc as I mainly deal with Charity’s and their shops, the ethos being to offer them free publicity as well as being a hobby for me. So I don’t really know if I would need to go in depth like this apart from my own nosiness!
    http://lookfabulousforless.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  4. eye4style

    Chiming in – yes, Quantcast offers a simple piece of code that you can plug into any blog template to directly measure traffic. And as a marketing pro, I also often give counsel to brands that it’s the most reliable source of traffic estimates, outside of asking bloggers for screenshots of their analytics.

    Reply
  5. Rachel

    I have a WP account, and when I tried to go to the link in the first comment [with my info] it couldn’t find it. I’m also confused on how to set it up, but I can’t wait to get it working!

    http://www.glitzyblues.com

    Reply
  6. Rhythm and Ruffle

    For some reason I could never get Quantcast to work on my blog – it’s confusing to say the least. Alexa is a paid service I think; one I’ll implement in a few months. I love Google Analytics – if you have anything have that!

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

    Reply
  7. Kyle

    I’ll take Quantcast and Cisco any day over Alexa, which has now become so uselessly inaccurate. I think any weight it still carries, is that given to it by companies looking for websites to advertise on.

    Reply