Google have announced a new feature for Google Analytics named Benchmarking. The Google Analytics Benchmarking service is still in its beta phase, however aims to allow analytics users to compare or benchmark their web sites against other web sites.
The benchmarking service from Google is opt-in, not default-in. If a user would like to view benchmarking data for their sites, they must first opt-in to allow Google to use their own web statistics. Of interest, opting in is on a per account basis – not per web profile. As such, if you have 50 web profiles set up within your account – opting in will share all of your web profiles data with Google.
After opting into the benchmarking service, Google proceed to anonomise the users web statistic information. What this means is that any identifiable information within the web statistics is removed and only aggregate information is held; as such it isn’t possible to spy on your competitor directly or visa versa.
At this early stage, the benchmarking data is fairly high level but provides you comparative metrics on:
- Average Time on Site
- Bounce Rate
- Percentage New Visits
The usefulness and ultimately the success of the benchmarking service is reliant on how many Google Analytics users opt-in to sharing their web statistics with Google. If the greater user base don’t feel inclined to share their web statistics with Google in this manner, then the comparative nature of what they are offering is hamstrung to some degree.