Imagine knowing exactly how well your website is performing against competitors’ sites.
Knowing, for example, how many more (or fewer) visitors you’re getting. And how much longer (or shorter) people are engaging with your content.
If someone sent a brochure for that service, you would probably read every word. And maybe even sign a check.
Well, put your checkbook away. Because Google, quite quietly, has made this service available absolutely free with Google Analytics.
According to the official Google Analytics blog:
Industry benchmarking is a commonly requested new service that enables customers to see how their site data compares to sites in any available industry vertical. We believe this data will provide actionable insights by providing context for users to understand how their site is doing. For example, if you have a travel website and you get a spike in traffic on Mondays, you may want to know whether other travel sites get that same spike on Mondays.
Sounds great, right?
Well, we decided to test it out.
And being quite thrilled with the results, we thought you might want to give it a go.
Interested? Here’s how:
Step one: Get started
First, you’ll need a Google Analytics account, which is completely free.
You’ll then need to set up your website profile. (Which is, obviously, beyond the scope of this post, but quite simple. You can find help on the Google Analytics site.)
Once you have that, log in and click the link that reads "Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings." It’s here:
Step two: Share your data (anonymously)
Benchmarking goes both ways. So, to see data, you need to share data.
Google affirms that the data is aggregated, anonymous and stripped of any identifiable features.
Here’s the box you need to click:
Step three: View reports
Once you’ve shared your data, click to view reports as you normally would. Just hit this link beside the appropriate profile on your start page:
Step four: View benchmarking
Once viewing reports for a particular profile, you can navigate to the benchmarking tab.
You’ll find this under the "Visitors" link in the left-hand navigation:
Step five: Choose industry
To see benchmarking data, you now have to select an industry.
To compare against competitors, choose your own industry. For a broader perspective, you can also compare against any industry.
Simply choose like this:
Step six: Compare statistics
Once you choose an industry, you can compare statistics.
And now the fun begins.
You can see how well your site stacks up against the competition in such areas as unique visitors, page views, bounce rates and average time on your site.
For example, according to the benchmarking service, visits to this website compared to other marketing service industry websites looks like this for March (ours is blue, theirs is gray):
Of course, there are caveats.
The data depends on which sites are using and opting in to Google Analytics.
But with features such as benchmarking at no cost, the number of such sites should only go up.
So, is Google Analytics benchmarking in your site’s future?
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