Google Analytics Rolls Out Benchmark Reports

I can’t begin to count the number of times that I’ve presented site metrics to a client and their first response is, “Is that good? What are the industry standards?” While the answer is really, “Industry standards can vary based on many factors,” Google Analytics is in the process of rolling out benchmark data that will give users an idea about how they stack up against other websites in their industry. It isn’t currently available for every account yet, but will be for everyone who opts in within the next few weeks.  
If this news sounds familiar to you, Google Analytics actually rolled this out in 2008, but has since removed it from the standard reporting interface. In 2014, it’s back and has some really cool new features.
The new benchmarking tool has 3 parts: channels, locations, and devices. This means that all of your site visit data can be segmented by those categories. In addition, you can select the size of the businesses to which you want to be compared according to average daily sessions. This is a huge advancement from 2008, because now you are comparing your business to those who likely invest a similar amount of money in their digital efforts.
So what can you do with these benchmarking reports? In the analytics world information is only as valuable as the actions it allows you take. That being said, there are a few actionable insights that these reports will provide you:
1. Channels Report – You can see, for example, if a spike in Paid Search traffic was due to a specific campaign you ran or if other businesses in your industry saw that same spike. This provides you with a true measure of campaign effectiveness. You can then take that data to determine what you want to replicate (or change) moving forward.
2. Locations Report – This will show you where other businesses are performing well globally. If you’re considering increasing your digital efforts in another country, this report gives you a roadmap for where others have already proven successful.
3. Devices Report – We all know that the Internet is getting more mobile by the day. Are you lagging behind your competitors on mobile devices and tablets? Maybe you’ve considered a mobile design, but aren’t sure that its necessarily worth the investment. Now you can see if your competitors have experienced success on mobile/tablet devices and if the investment in a mobile site will yield the return you’re looking for (HINT: It probably will).
To enable benchmarking reports, go to the Admin section of your Google Analytics account. In the ACCOUNT column, select the desired account and click Account Settings. Check the box next to ‘Anonymously with Google and others’. Your benchmarking reports will be available in the ‘Audience’ section of the Google Analytics interface.

Image credit Loves Data


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