Google Analytics adds industry benchmarking feature

Most marketers accept that Google Analytics provides must-use data points that give feedback on marketing efforts and can help shape an ongoing online effort. The problem with it is that for all the conversion funnels and goals that you can set up, sometimes you can feel like you’re just viewing data in a vacuum and without a point of comparison, it’s hard to know whether you’re really doing well or not. Until now.

Google Analytics has introduced a new feature that allows access to industry benchmarking reports. Now website operators can compare their own site to those of competitors in the same industry. Being able to do so is a huge step forward in understanding where you stand in terms of success for a marketing campaign and ability to pull your desired audience – it gives a point of comparison that adds to to the Analytics vacuum. As Jayson DeMers at Forbes explains, there’s several ways marketers can take advantage  of this. But first, how to activate the new feature in the first place.

First you have to share your own data with Google in order to see the industry benchmarking data. The philosophy here “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” which only seems fair. Plus you don’t have to worry about competitors actually seeing your data – it’s just added to an anonymous aggregated pool. To turn it on, if it’s not already, sign in to Google Analytics and click on the “Admin” link at the top of the page. Go to Account, then Account Settings and click the “Anonymously with Google and others” checkbox. Save your changes and you’re ready to see data.

Once activated, the a Benchmarking tab shows up under the Audience section. Click on the “Channels” report to see the industry data and where you stand compared to other websites. The report tools at the top of this page allow you to select what vertical you’re compared against. Here’s an example of what you’ll see provided in a case study on the Google blog:

Now that you’re ready to compare yourself to the industry, here are some pointers on what strategies you can employ:

  • Focus efforts on areas where you’re significantly behind industry standards, justifying the expense of money, time, and resources.
  • Set realistic goals on what you can achieve for your own website based on what others have done. (Can you really get that time on page above five minutes if the industry average is three?)
  • Identify your strengths and create processes around the practices that have allowed you to excel in those areas. Without seeing this data, you’d be in the dark on knowing where you’re excelling compared to competitors.


Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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