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March 21, 2008

Google Analytics Benchmarks

Two weeks ago, Google Analytics added a new feature that lets you compare your site's traffic with average data for other similar sites. To make this feature possible, you need to enable data sharing with the benchmarking service. "Google will remove all identifiable information about your website, then combine that data with hundreds of other anonymous sites in comparable industries and report them in an aggregate form." There's also an option to enable data sharing with other Google services that will allow a better integration between Analytics, AdWords and other services.


The benchmarking data is now live and you can see it if you go to Visitors > Benchmarking (Beta). Google compares the following values for the last 30 days: visits, page views, pages/visit, bounce rate, average time on site and new visits. By default, your site is compared with other sites of similar size, but you can restrict the benchmark to general categories like: Internet, Travel, Shopping, Reference etc. Since the data is aggregated from the sites that agreed to participate in the program, it may not be representative. Google says it will add new categories once more sites will enable the data sharing option.

"When benchmarking is enabled, Google crawls the websites in the account then categorizes them by vertical and the amount of visits. The data is then made anonymous through aggregation. For sites of a similar size, a category of industry verticals can be chosen when there is a sufficient number of accounts in that category."


It's interesting to compare your site's traffic with these aggregate data as it will help you put things in perspective, but you shouldn't be disappointed if the comparison is not favorable. Each site is unique and has a different raison d'être.

15 comments:

  1. different "raison d'être" : You speak very well in French !

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  2. Might be neat if Google sets up a "stats trading" system. If we as webmasters of two sites in the same niche both mutually agree (through an interface Google would handle), then we would see these comparisons applied to these two sites. I would find it much more interesting to compare blogoscoped.com with googlified.com, searchengineland.com, googlesystem.blogspot.com, Googling Google and so on than general benchmarking of unrelated sites.

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  3. You have a lot of good info here.

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  4. So they say "sites of similar size" means "small", "medium" or "large", but where do they tell you which bucket they put you in?

    Actually, they should let you choose. Suppose they think "Medium" is 500,000 pageviews per month to 3 million, and you are at the low end - maybe you'd rather compare your self to "small" sites or "large" sites too..

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  5. A VERY good idea - if only it worked!
    It's been very erratic - it seemed that my site was slipping between "small" and "medium" at varying times, and I have no idea where the boundaries of these two sizes are.
    Now - there's NO benchmark data showing, and that's been the case for weeks.
    To repeat, I beleive it WILL be good WHEN it works.

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  6. Is there any way to find out what sites are in my benchmark? Or at least the number in the benchmark? My benchmark has been stable for 2 months but yesterday the number of visits spiked to 5 times higher - is it likely that many more people looked at my type of website yesterday, or is there maybe only a 1 or a few companies in my benchmark and they did some advertising?

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  7. This is great stuff. I just discovered it. It would be neat if google could establish a blog directory based upon the benchmark results. Seems like this would be a great way for the high performing blogs to get noticed.

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  8. Mitahimate.com
    Its a great thing but i am still not clear about , with what kind of websites the people do comparision and on what basis.

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  9. Nice idea, but it doesn't look like the information that Google provides is very accurate, or there are so many 'junk sites' that the information provided is wrong. Also, when you choose your website category, it isn't saved, so every time to exit the page, the category setting is lost.

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  10. I've just gone to analytics and the option has disappeared from the menu :-(

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  11. May be the Panda has eaten it. ;-)

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  12. I already accepted data sharing, but I can't see benchmark button.
    Is this option gone, or moved to other menu?

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  13. hmm it was there but I cannot find it now either.

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  14. this explains its loss

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google%20Analytics/thread?tid=3d0b370dc9caccaa&hl=en

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  15. how do i get benchmarks of similar online shopping websites in UAE ? I need to compare my progress.

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