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Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter

Appetite for online performance benchmarking from marketers happens to be strong, since it has been for offline activities. Whilst benchmark data can be obtained from famous brands comScore, Compete, Alexa and a complete host of niche research firms, Google arguably has the richest, deepest data resource in Google Analytics (66% market share in 2010 based on Econsultancy).

Last month Google replaced its benchmarking tool in Google Analytics with the’Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter ‘.

Data providence and sharing

I received the Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter because of enabling anonymous data sharing for my wedding website (thank you for your congratulations ahead of time!). Google have made no attempt to request confidentiality from recipients, therefore I intend to share the content with you all.

Despite the oft-repeated scare regarding Google and data, the big G isn’t aggregating every data source at their disposal. The benchmark insights only originate from sites that have offered their data for processing. As of this stage it’s worthwhile considering whether or not this affects the robustness of the insights generated as a result.

Anonymity

In accordance with Google there are currently “countless thousands” of sites causing this pool of data. Whilst we do not know specific sites or their nature, Google reverse index has “endeavoured to produce all metrics here statistically significant “.With that said, we’ll have to take all insights with a pinch of proverbial salt. From the Site Administrators perspective it’s important to state that no absolute metrics are shared, meaning that your total visit, page views or conversion numbers will not be published.

The Content

The’Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter’contains three sections:

Site Metrics
Traffic Sources
Operating Systems
The time scale analysed was November 1, 2010 – February 1, 2011 and comparison is performed with data from November 1, 2009 – February 1, 2010. The Google Analytics team provide little in the way of commentary and explanation, leaving the entranceway open for interpretation. Below I have shared the information tables and graphs from the newsletter, which follows with my thoughts/questions.

Benchmarking from Google Analytics

Thoughts and questions

Slightly fewer pages viewed per visit: Does this mean more in-page interaction via Flash/HTML5?
Overall bounce rate is slightly decreased: Are marketers getting better at targeting their desired audiences?
Bounce Rate is 47% overall: Does that imply that almost half all visits are unsuccessful?
Are search engines providing more relevant results
PPC has a lower bounce rate than natural search: Do users appreciate explicit messaging on a SERP?
Are on-site processes more effective and consequently ultimately causing shorter visits
Is there an inverse relationship between bounce rate and time on site generally in most countries?
What might this data appear to be if we added GDP and internet or broadband penetration for every country?
Will direct entry be a permanent feature, aside from search capabilities?
May be the Vatican receiving help from a greater power in pursuit of conversion?
Requests for future newsletters/benchmarking from Google

All data split out by country/sector/industry
An extended time frame for analysis
Definition of GA goal types (i.e.: content, e-commerce)
Analysis of browser types by country
Search trends split out by internet search engine
Display and affiliate data
Full data tables for many graphs
Data provided via Google Docs
Encourage the churning and sharing of analysis amongst GA users
As you will see on the Google Analytics Forum, feelings about Google’s new benchmark offering are mainly negative, with many requests to re-instate the’tool ‘.

If you’re thinking about a copy of the information shared, please enter touch through email. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in regards to the statistics offered, in addition to how you and your company would use them. What else could be useful in understanding the usage of your internet site, in context of the rest of the world?

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