Google Analytics Benchmarking Review

About a month ago, Google Analytics rolled out a new feature called “Benchmarking”.
This service shows how your website’s statistics compare against other sites. The data used for this service is collected via Google Analytics from the sites that opt-in to use this service. In the beta release of this service, you are able to compare your site’s Visits, Pageviews, Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate, Average Time on Site, and New Visits data against benchmark data from categories of other participating websites.

After a wait of few weeks, last week I was able to see the benchmarking data for the first time.

Benchmarking data is available under “Visitors” section of Google Analytics (See below).

As you can see above, this site rocked it had 386% more visits then the benchmark data. Actually most of the stats were better than the comparable sites. Does that mean we can open Champagne and celebrate??? Not so fast. Let’s look at what I was comparing to?

According to Google Analytics, I was comparing to “All sites of similar size”.

So what does “All sites of similar size” mean?

All sites are grouped together under three classifications: small, medium, and large based on number of visits each site receives. You can compare yourself to other similarly sized sites but not to sites in other size classifications.
I did not find it very useful since I don’t know what the range of the stats was. If the site I was looking was being compared to one or two page personal sites then sure this site will rock compared to the other site, not very helpful comparison though. I needed to compare to my industry vertical.

Comparing to a vertical

Google provide a list of site categories that are available for the site size (based on visits) your site falls into. However I was not sure which vertical to pick for this particular site. Some sites fall perfectly in one vertical but a lot of them do not fall into any one vertical, as was the case with the site that I was looking the data for. It would have been nice if Google had allowed me to see which vertical it was categorizing my site in so that I could have picked the same vertical.

I know this is only beta release and it will get better with new releases so now I am eagerly waiting for the next release so that I can get some meaningful stats.

What are your thoughts on this service?

2 Replies to “Google Analytics Benchmarking Review”

  1. Hi Anil,

    You’re right; not so useful so far, but A+ for the effort. I too look forward to the next version. I guess other vendors with access to many clients’ data (WebTrends, Omniture, etc) should start doing the same asap.

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