Digital Marketing News

New Google Analytics benchmarking reports gives insights and competitive intelligence

Sep 11, 2014

Google has announced new Benchmarking reports available in Analytics.

These reports allow you to compare your website performance against the averages of similar sites. For example:

You can filter by the following dimensions:

  • Channel Grouping (Direct, Organic, Paid, Referral, Email, Social, Display and Other)
  • Location (Country)
  • Device (Desktop, Mobile and Tablet)

You can compare the following metrics:

  • Sessions
  • % New Sessions
  • New Sessions
  • Pages / Session
  • Average Session Duration
  • Bounce Rate

On the Google Analytics Blog they show an example of Twiddy‘s results compared to peers in their industry (see image below).

Analytics report for Twiddy

The reports even use colour to show at a glance whether your business is above or below the industry average.

You will find these reports under Audiences -> Benchmarking in your left-hand menu.

If you cannot see these reports, you will need to follow these instructions.  Only if you choose to share your data anonymously with others will you be able to see the reports.

It does provide interesting data benchmarks, for example: in New Zealand, for Shopping sites averaging 1,000 to 5,000 sessions per day, Google is currently collecting data from 125 properties – the below is from these sites in August:

  • Average sessions per month: 62,000
  • % new sessions: 45%
  • Average pages per session: 6.14
  • Average session duration: 4:08
  • Bounce rate: 35%

And here is how the various traffic sources contribute to total sessions:

An observation from this limited set of data – organic search, email and direct referral sources are the biggest drivers of website visitors for NZ shopping sites.  Display and social activity on average do not drive a significant number of website visitor sessions.

Note: we have found a few discrepancies in the data that we will observe further:

1) Not all data correlates exactly with these benchmarking reports.  For example, we have a client for which they were showing 10% the average number of sessions being driven by paid search, where we know in fact they are higher than the average.

2) The sum of the channels does not equate to the sessions noted in the top line.  Just something to be aware of.

3) For smaller regions (such as NZ) data will not show for many subcategories unless there are enough contributing properties to protect the privacy of those websites.

Perhaps not perfect, but this new Google Analytics benchmarking feature provides reasonable benchmarking data that may be difficult (or expensive) to get in other ways. Take some time and benchmark your business – if you are way ahead of the average, evaluate success and ROI and if you’re getting good results, keep doing more of it.  If you are lagging behind average it gives a good indication of where you need to be investing.