Thursday, April 10, 2008

Google Analytics: Benchmarking beta

Benchmarking a business' performance is a time-tested approach for understanding where one's business stands in relation to peers, partners and clients.

Google launched a set of benchmarking tools (free and in perpetual beta, of course!) for its web analytics offering in Mid March. By agreeing to share your site data (anonymously), you can compare your website performance against the industry category of your choice.

Here's a screen shot from our site for one month:

We've been testing out the becnhmarking feature on the R+K site for a couple of weeks and the results look very promising. We're able to compare our site metrics in several commonly used analytics areas including:

1. Visits
2. Pageviews
3. TIme on site
4. Pages per visit
5. New visits
6. Bounce rate

Users can drill down in each of these areas for more detail including conversion rates, traffic sources and visitor loyalty. We can see how our site stacks up against PR, Marketing and even client industry vertical category sites.

All of the usual Google Analytics dashboard features (such as easy to read graphs, flexible report configuration and point and click interaction) are available in the benchmarking toolset.

One downside appears to be in the way that Google categorizes peer sites in each does so by site size, using the uber-technical categories of small, medium and large. Unfortunately, you cannot benchmark your site against industry vertical sites that are smaller or larger than yours. I understand the value of the categorization by size, but I don;t understand the restrictions on viewing your site data against sites from different size categories.

So if you aspire to create small, efficient sites, you may find that your peers who have bloated inefficient (but large) sites are not part of the benchmark group to which you belong.

For the complete FAQs on Google Benchmarking, see this

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