Benchmarking your site in Google Analytics

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Have you ever had your CMO/CEO/Head Cheese ask you, “So how does our marketing program compare to the industry average?” Despite the fact that industry averages are notoriously questionable and generally a waste of time, when the boss asks, we typically need to answer with something more than a “stop wasting my time”.

To provide a slightly more meaningful answer, Google Analytics now has the ability to display industry average benchmarks inside the application, to compare your web analytics to other typical sites in your vertical. You’ll find it under the Audience menu on the left side; once selected, you have to choose your industry and subcategory from the top submenu:


From there, the software will attempt to match your traffic pattern to the pattern of the size of businesses in your peer group. For example, for marketing websites like my blog, there are 292 other sites with 100-500 sessions per day:


This is useful for getting a little closer to apples-to-apples comparisons; it would be grossly unhelpful for me to compare my personal blog to, say, a major content site like MarketingProfs or Content Marketing Institute.

Once you’ve got the basic settings in place, the red/green grid shows you where you’re ahead of your peers and where you’re behind.


If I were running my blog as a full time business, I would judge from this table that I need to add some paid search advertising into the mix to acquire new audiences, some display ads, kick up my email marketing efforts, and hire a PR firm to get me some more referral traffic. Conversely, I know that I’m doing a better job than average with social media and search, so I don’t need to remediate those right away.

Try out benchmarking to see how your website compares to others in your peer group and see if it gives you any quick ideas about what else you might want to pursue in terms of marketing tactics to bring in more audiences, as well as where competing sites are ahead of you.

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