What's the typical audience composition for a Technology blog? We didn't know, so we vowed that we would move mountains to find out. But several months with a shovel in the Sierra Nevadas produced little in the way of usable data. And so we moved on to Plan B, and sought out the services of the Quantcast website metrics gathering service.
We will discuss Quantcast's model in greater depth later this week, but ithere are two key things you need to know. First, it grabs raw metrics directly from the site. That is to say, from some sites. You can opt in to be measured directly by embedding a snippet of code, and Quantcast will measure every click on your domain. The company calls these 'Quantified' sites, and there are a few million of them.
Secondly, the company publishes demographic breakdowns of website readership along gender, ethnicity, income etc. Quantcast only publish figures on U.S. demographics, and so our figures profile only the reader which hails from the United States. Demographics figures are based on panels, Census data and so on, all of which is bundled into an elaborate Mass Inference Algorithm. How good is is the model? The jury's still out, but right now it looks like the best we got.
In our analysis we looked only at Quantified websites only and disregard all others. We'd like to have done fifty, but there just aren't all that many Quantified websites with the slant we wanted, and which attract significant audiences. Then there are a lot of Quantified sites we'd have loved to profile but which have only partial data displayed (eg Techcrunch). So we've surveyed 11, across a wide range of fields.
Based on uncertainties regarding Quantcast's demographics modeling and a small sample size, we describe all that follows as a dirty analysis. But, we think, a good baseline which paints an interesting picture of just who reads Information Technology and Internet technology blogs and news websites. And how they differ from other readership groups.
What's a Technology Blog?
But before any of that, we had to define what a Tech. blog is. When we say Tech, for our purposes we mean Information Technology, hardware, software, Internet technologies and Web publishing. We drew the line at Gadgets, so Gizmodo and co. were ignored. When we say blog, we use the term loosely, and include more traditional magazine-based resources like ComputerWorld.com. If it's a Website where you go to primarily to read technology articles, and there are new articles being produced on a regular basis, that's good enough for us.
After crunching the numbers, this is what we got:
* 63.2% of visitors come from the USA
* Visitors Average Page Views per Visit (PVV) = 1.89
* Gender: 64.2% of visitors to a technology blog are Male. 35.8% are Female
18-24 = 11.8%
25-34 = 18%
35-44 = 15.8%
45-54 = 18%
55-64 = 22.4%
65+ = 13.3% **
* Reader Income
$0-30k = 17.60%
$ 30-60k = 30.09%
$ 60-100k = 29.18%
$ 100k+ = 23.7%
6% African American
2.3% Other * Addiction rates:
'Addicts' are those who visit 30 times a month or more. The median score for the amount of Addicts for our surveyed websites was <> However, even 1% of addicts tended to contribute anywhere between 16% and 23% of total visits.
When all is said and done, we reckon Joe TechBlogReader looks like this guy: He's a he. He's American. He's White. It's kinda hard to put an age on him, and equally it's hard to know from looking at him, what with the sneakers and all, how much he earns. (Of course we all know that Steve falls into the $0-$30k range...)
He's not the sort to hang around. If he hits two pages, you're lucky. He won't be coming to check in on your content every day.
The full list of websites and the raw data is included at the bottom of the page.
Meanwhile let's look at Joe and compare him with the readers of some other, disparate blogs and news websites:
Technology Niche Versus The Blog Monsters
Perez Hilton is the blogosphere's premier gossip/celeb scandal rag. Huffington and Drudge are of course kings of the political news blogs. And Lolcats is, er, the one with all the cats.
All are Quantified sites, so we are comparing like with like here.
Points to note:
* OMG look at the Addiction bit at the bottom. 15% of visitors love Perez Hilton and Drudge so much, they 30 times a week or more. And thus these 'Addicts' account for a massive 3/4 of total views.
* OMGG compare Joe's and gossip king Hilton's readership income figures. You mean to tell me that fewer in the "Under $30,000" bracket and more in the +$100,000 go read about Brangelina than about the latest hot Linux kernal release? Hang on, maybe that's not so crazy after all.
* We're getting killed on page views. I mean these Drudge readers must spend half the afternoon trawling around. But maybe this isn't exactly a bad thing. Also, do more Tech. readers come in through Aggregators and feeds etc. than non-tech readers? Probably.
* There's a great spread throughout the age range for all the sites. Perhaps the Blogosphere truly has grown up. 13.3% of your Technology website readership is going to be over 65? Great - go tell your advertising partners. That's the demographic with all the money...
Reviewed sites's Metrics @ Quantcast: TechdirtKillerStartups.comValleyWag.comScobleizer.comReadWriteWeb.comLifehacker.comComputerWorld.comPCWorld.comMacWorld.comAppleInsider.comAlleyInsider.com* We did not weigh user demographics figures etc. against site/blog popularity. So that, for example, figures from relatively low-traffic (but highly influential) Scobleizer.com are given equal weight as figures from the high-volume PCWorld.com site. **A quick point to note: Quantcast's published percentage figures, in general, do not always add up to 100. We suspect something goes awry with their rounding-of of dynamic data.