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Benchmarking Comes To Google Analytics

August 26, 2015

Our August 2015 Product Update email from Google Analytics broke the welcome news that Benchmarking reports are now available within the standard suite of reports.

According to our friends at Google, the reports allow you to, “Compare your performance to industry peers“. It all hinges on Analytics users opting in to share their data anonymously, which then allows Google to aggregate industry data, providing valuable context for KPIs. This has the potential to unlock powerful insight into trends occurring across your vertical, and will, for the first time, give users access to data to find out how their website is performing compared to the competition.

You can read all about Benchmarking here.

In essence, in order to see your Benchmarking reports, you need to:

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics
  2. Head to your reporting view
  3. Select the Reporting tab
  4. Navigate to Audience > Benchmarking
  5. Fill your boots

You can choose from over 1,600 industry verticals (Google Analytics will pre-select one for you, but you can narrow it down further for greater insight), and you can further drill down by country / region as well as by the volume of daily sessions, so that you can compare apples with apples.

For example, you can select ‘Food & Drink‘, ‘England‘, ‘1,000 – 4,999 daily sessions‘.

Once your parameters have been selected you will see how may Google Analytics web properties have contributed to the benchmark, so that you can make a judgement call on the statistical significance of the Benchmarking report data.

The Benchmarking reports include:

  • Channels – see how your channel split, acquisition and behaviour metrics compares to the competition
  • Location – compare where your traffic is coming from in relation to your industry peers
  • Devices – see how mobile-savvy the competition is by comparing device usage and metrics

These new reports will doubtless prove valuable for both clients and consultants, as we often get asked how to measure performance and KPIs against the competition, to which there has never really been a robust answer before now. Being able to compare key acquisition and behaviour metrics across channels, location and devices will offer up insights that have never been possible, and hopefully lead not only to trend-spotting, but trend-setting.

However, like most things, all that glitters may not be so gold with the Benchmarking reports. There are obvious gaps within the reporting suite and data set. Most e-commerce website owners will be frantically searching for the Goal, Conversion and Ecommerce data, only to find it missing, perhaps not surprisingly due to data sensitivity, although I’m sure most would be happy with relative percentages if not actual values.

In conclusion, Google Analytics Benchmarking reports offer competitive insight and trend data for the first time, which has to be a good thing.

The only bad thing I can see so far (apart from the lack of e-commerce data) is that I’ll have to update our Google Analytics training documentation!

Let us know what you think about the Benchmarking reports via the comments below, and share with us and insight that you manage to glean.

Written by Andy

Andy is Venture Stream’s Chief Operating Officer and has over 15 years’ experience in ecommerce consultancy, design and retail marketing.

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