Google Analytics Benchmarking report

March 11, 2008

One of the pillars of the Analytics 2.0 theory is “Integration” and a 360 degree view, because the only thing what matters is having relevant information close to your hands. I don’t really care where does the information comes from.
Last 5th of March Google Analytics launched the beta version of “Benchmarking”, a new report that will allows you to compare yourself with any available Vertical Industry. I found this report simply amazing because it is really hard to now how your business is doing until you compare it with another company from your industry. How can you know who is the taller student from your class if there is just one student?
I know that some people will say, “They are not correctly generating clusters”, or “some of the sites from a particular industry are not well comparable”, etc, etc, but come on, do you think it is possible to have information with much certainty with the current Internet situation? I guess not. Web Analytics professionals are asked everyday to generate benchmarks from nothing, so we have to generate complicated statistical models that at the end are nothing but inferences from another inference. So, even when the information from Google is based on “sampling” and we have not enough information to guarantee an acceptable error margin (I mean, not yet) this information will give you an idea about your market. It is also important that you take that information as what it is, just a mere Benchmark.
I do also agree with the way they implemented it in every Google Analytics Account. When you login to you account you will get the following message:

In order to improve your experience with google products, google analytics is updating its data sharing policy. You now have the ability to share your analytics data with other google services. This will improve integration, enable additional features in google’s advertising services (including google analytics, AdWords and AdSense) and improve your experience with these products. Next you will see the “accept” button.

Once you accept you will see the “Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings” page from within your account to opt in to sharing your data “With Google products only” or “Anonymously with Google products and the benchmarking service.”
Regarding the second possibility Google says “If you choose to share your site’s data, Google will use the data to improve the products and services we provide you. Additionally, only users who have opted to share their site’s data with Google may use these new or improved services.”

Once you accepted to Share your site’s data, the following Message will appear to your Benchmarking Reporting Interface “Benchmarking has been enabled for your site. Data from other sites that have enabled benchmarking is now being collected and combined. Industry statistics will appear in this report within two weeks”.

I think it is just awesome, because if you want to get information from the market, you are obligated to share yours making the “sample” bigger, reducing the uncertainty. If you don’t want to share your information don’t mind, you can still use Google Analytics as you ever did.

Once the information is available you will be able to see the following report interface:

Google Analytics Benchmarking report

Remember my diagram about the Web Analytics market since Gatineau? The fight between free tools started, let’s see how “Paid Tools” will answer to this provocation. Is the market getting interesting or what? :-)