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Analytics that tells you Gender-Age Demographics

I came across a pretty interesting stats program called user insight in Japan that was recently released by UserLocal who are also the creators of Japan's cell phone analytics program ugokuhito and nakanohito.

At first glance, user insight looked pretty normal. Heat maps, page views, gender analysis...wait gender analysis? Yeah, apparently this product analyzes what percent of your users are male/female. It also gives you information on the age range of your users (example: 20% in their teens, 30% in twenties e.t.c).

I don't know of any other stats program (except nakanohito and ugokuhito) that does this so the first thing that came to mind was how are they getting this information and is it reliable? If accurate, this kind of information would be extremely valuable. I would want to know age-gender demographics because it helps me build more usable sites but also is helpful information to present to potential advertisers so they know their target audience.

So how did they do this? After reading the article by ITMedia and a few other blogs, here is a theory.

1) User Local has a list of about 400 IPs of known corporations and organizations around Japan. (It could be more). Some other blogs said they used whois information or google maps API and matched it with IP location and registered business of that address. Either way, they some how have a list of IPs for many organizations in Japan.
2) In Japan, pretty much in any bookstore, you can easily buy thick books on corporate demographics (either for stock holders or in books for job seekers).
3) You put the two together and you have a database with 400 organization's sex-age demographics and their IP.

So if you get a visit from xx.xx.xxx.xxx and this matches with ABC all girls school, there is a pretty good chance that the visitor is female and is a student. Or you might get a visit from company XYZ, average worker age 35 and 70% male workers. Using this method you probably could also do industry analysis (IE: you get 80% of your visitors from the IT industry).

Obviously, only a small percentage would match the database but doing this you end up with a method to calculate gender-age demographics based on probability. Sort of like TV ratings or Alexa that takes a small sample of the population.

If this is their method, my sympathies go to the poor intern that did the data input but nonetheless, I thought it was pretty impressive and thought I'd share. If anyone else has any other thoughts on how they did this I would love to hear it.

I know MSN runs this but that is based off of their massive user base (I think).

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Comment by Scott Murphy on November 28, 2008 at 9:59am
Oops, posted clicktale twice. Meant to say clickheat or clicktale above.
Comment by Scott Murphy on November 28, 2008 at 9:58am
If you do, I'll be interested in what you think of it. I want to try it but am not sure if I am ready to spend 5万($500) monthly for it.

Nakanohito.jp is free and offers a similar analysis. If you add this with google analytics and clicktale or clicktale, I guess you end up with a poor man's version of this product (^_^)
Comment by Mika Leuck on November 28, 2008 at 1:18am
Wow - This is an amazing tool! Thank you for posting about it. We may use it.
Comment by Scott Murphy on November 26, 2008 at 4:13pm
I haven't read of any plans to release in the US. My feeling is that something like this was probably possible because Japan works on a smaller scale than the US and corporate information is more readily available.

As far as privacy issues, they don't report individual users. It does report that you got 20 visits from 'company XXX' and 30 visits from 'ABC University', which might be borderline to some people.

What are your privacy right regarding IPs? Anyone know?

I think many emerging software and technology can always be borderline and controversial (as in ad4u by Drecom and other apps).
Comment by Cameron Souza on November 26, 2008 at 3:06pm
This is incredibly useful. Do they intend to release a US version?

I wonder if there are privacy issues. I guess its not a big deal as long as they aren't reporting on individual users.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on November 24, 2008 at 11:05pm
Wow - that is an interesting app. I wonder how they convince customers of their accuracy without divulging their methodology.

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