Google Analytics Benchmarking Report â A Step Closer to the Analytics Edge of Chaos | DMA

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Google Analytics Benchmarking Report â A Step Closer to the Analytics Edge of Chaos

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Back in September 2014 Google decided to re-introduce the concept of benchmarking reports in Analytics. Briefly, to enable them you have to go to your account settings and check the following box.

Google Analytics benchmarking settings

Now, under the Audience section on the left-hand navigation you will be able to find data in the Benchmarking reports. And you got super excited when you first discovered this, right? But 15 clicks later you were bored and you realised that you didn't have enough information to please your analytics thirst… and most importantly why couldn't you see the conversion rates of your competitors!?! So eventually you forgot benchmarking and never came back to that black hole of GA.

Were you wrong? Yes, indeed!

Benchmarking reports are not here to give you straight answers, they are here to bring you a step closer to the Edge of Chaos*

* Complexity theory: The balance point – often called the Edge of Chaos – is where life has enough stability to sustain itself and enough creativity to deserve the name of life. The Edge of Chaos is where new ideas and innovative genotypes are forever nibbling away at the edge of the status quo.

People and businesses need to compare in order to fully understand how good or bad they are performing. For example, having a 40% bounce rate makes you feel happy and confident that your site is performing well. Are you still happy though if you find out that your industry's benchmark is 30%?

Back to the benchmarking reports

So now go back to these reports and give context to your metrics. Questions you should be able to answer once you see benchmarking with another eye:

- What are your industry's extremes in both ends (high and low)? That will that help you forecast and make better budget decisions about upcoming seasons.

- What are your industry's standards? You will get better information to improve your trending strategies and understand how far back you need to prepare for high seasons.

- Is there any low hanging fruit for your site? Comparing your site with competitors will reveal areas where there is potential that you haven't been taking advantage of.

- Channel specific – how good is your affiliate strategy compared to your competitors? Should you invest more in paid advertising? Do your email campaigns perform well?

- Device specific – how better optimised is your mobile site? Does your breakdown of device categories match your competitors?

- Location specific – do you target the same areas as your competitors? Can you map your competitors' offline campaigns and their engagement efficiency?

Conversion rates?

Finally, not having conversion rates in benchmarking reports is a blessing. Imagine if your competitors don't have experts like those at Periscopix helping them with Analytics. They could be reporting conversions based on duration, pages per session or even worse based on an incorrect implementation - how could you compare yourself to that? Also, you probably have multiple goals (micro and macro conversions) set up in your GA – would it make sense to benchmark newsletter sign ups and twitter follows with ticket sales and bookings?

To sum up, don't take these reports at face value. Dive deeper where all the useful insights are hidden and let us know if you need any help :)

To view the article as displayed on Periscopix's website, please click here.

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