Why go Gung ho over Benchmarking in Google Analytics

Are you a start up? Even if you are not, do you know if you are spending (or over-spending) money in the right the right channel?

Is your email campaign, display ads and social working well or not? How are your competitors or the industry or niche you are in faring?

None of these questions were answered in Google Analytics till now. But now they are. One of the new features in that you should drool over if you are a digital marketer is the new industry benchmarking in Google Analytics.

Now you actually have a “context”. You know if your efforts are working or not working and whether this is a industry trend and not just your predicament using the new BENCHMARKING feature in Analytics. Now you can see how your online marketing efforts are working out by putting and comparing it with a larger industrial (the sector you are in), global (country wise) and technological (devices) context.

That is the gamut of trends and context and that is why you should jump right on this new feature made available globally by Google Analytics. And the best part is that it is FREE!

Well the little catch is that you’ll have to share your data anonymously with Google.

Here’s your complete guide to Benchmarking in Google Analytics?

Analytics Benchmarking

Benchmarking in Google Analytics will help businesses focus on what’s working, and improve the channels/geographical segments and devices on which it isn’t.

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First step towards using benchmarking is to enable the data sharing with Google.

Step 1: Log into your Google Analytics and select the account for which you want to enable this feature

Step 2: Click on Admin and select Account Setting

Step 3: In data sharing setting, check the option Anonymously with Google and others

Step 4: Go to reporting

Step 5: In the Audience dropdown you will find Benchmarking

Step 6: Click and see magic!

Just above the line chart you will notice 5 things:

Indusrty Benchmark Report in Google Analytics

Compare your site’s performance with industry’s standard acquisition and engagement metrics:

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1: Industry Vertical – With this feature you could go as specific to your niche as you can. Suppose you are a travel website offering eco tourism services. You could choose the Travel dropdown, then Specialty Travel and narrow down to Eco Tourism. This you could have an insight into how your peers and competitors in the niche you are catering to are doing when it comes to search engine marketing(the 4th one in this list).

2. Country Region: With this feature you could narrow down to the exact country or city you are based in and know how your competitors and peers are performing. Again this is like putting things into “context” to get a clear picture. Suppose you are based in New Delhi in India.

You could select either India where you have say 2000 properties contributing or narrow down to New Delhi where you might have say just 60 properties. You see its just the substitution of accuracy over precision.

3. Size by Daily Sessions: Now this one is tricky. By default, you’ll see your digital performance across channels, regions and devices benchmarked only against the properties that have sessions similar to yours. With this feature you could see how the best in your industry are performing to adjust your digital marketing strategies like channels to focus on and regions to target with paid/display marketing to get more audience.

4. Number of properties contributing to this benchmark: This gives you a picture of how many in your industry have opted to share data anonymously with Google.

5: Plot Chart Vs.: Yet another thing that could provide you with some precise insights is the chart feature wherein you could benchmark your data against similar players in your industry. Here you could generate chart for your sessions vs. industry average, avg. session duration, avg. bounce rate etc. are other useful metrics to benchmark.

So what does it tell you about your peers and competitors?

Benchmarking will show you the industry vertical performance across:

1st: Channels: This is something similar to the BCG Matrix. Identify your cash cows, your star areas and your problem child. Focus and prioritize.  Balance out and see where your industry and peers are getting the most traffic from.

This grouping offers some great insights into where your efforts are leading to expected or even excellent result and the potential areas to focus on. Really handy for a digital marketer and SEM in charge! How do you know if your email marketing is working well or not? Do you need to invest more on social, display or paid medium? Are your SEOs doing a great job?

All this rather tricky questions could be answered using this feature of the benchmark. This is also good for an Email Marketer. Some great answers like the industry level performance, mean industry bounce. Avg. session duration etc. could really answer some serious questions and help focus energy on right areas.

2nd: Locations: Get a better picture of where your market is and if necessary expand necessarily. It could also help you decide on whether to go for regional language website (hreflang guys) to attract users or just keep one global website.

3rd: Devices: Are you using the same old web design when your user base has moved to tablets and mobile device? Do you see higher percentage of bounce rate across mobile devices and tabs when benchmarked against your industry?

This one gives you good peek into your website performance across devices. If you see more red in this zone, it is high time that you contact your web designer to build you an all device friendly responsive website. Or if there’s more potential in mobile, contact a developer/designer to build you a mobile website or app.

How to Utilize Google Analytics Benchmarking?

In a nutshell, benchmarking lets you identify your focus area so that you can prioritize. With this tool, you could identify the areas that need improvement. It could be your campaigns or it could be the market expansion and penetration.

Benchmarking also let you sit with your management and set realistic goals. There are limits to every channel and there are potential areas which could be exploited. All these insights could be gained from this new feature.

In conclusion, it could be said that benchmarking, if used properly with other competitive intelligence tools, will lead a digital marketer help maintain or gain definitive competitive advantage. Benchmarking gives you an insight into where you are and where you could go. The areas you are good in and the areas that need improvement.

Prior to this feature, SEOs and marketers were not aware of the bigger picture of how their peers and competitors were performing. Now you know the general direction you are moving in and the right paths to take to lead to the route of success.

So, how about you? Do you have any insight or something interesting to share about this new benchmarking feature in Google Analytics?

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