Google Analytics Benchmarking

Google Analytics Benchmarking is Back

Back on March 16, 2011, Google stopped providing its standard Analytics benchmarking thorough its Google Analytics reports; on Friday July 1st however; Google decided to provide this benchmarking data back to its users through a monthly newsletter.

If you have opted-in anonymous data sharing with Google Analytics, the newsletter is likely in your e-mailbox by now.

What is Google Analytics Benchmarking?

Google Benchmarking is a statistical analysis report comparing the data gathered from hundreds of thousands of sites opted-in anonymous data sharing with the same data gathered a year ago during the same monthly period. The historical data is considered the baseline or the benchmark for sites performance on the different captured metrics.

Here is what July 1st, 2011 newsletters have as far as site performances. [SOURCE: Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter. 2011, Volume 1, July 2011]

Site Metrics

Compared to a year ago, websites have seen reduced pages / visit, average time on site, as well as bounce rate.

  • 1- Breakdown by Geography
    Our anonymous database has aggregated geographic breakdown at the country level. Here are a few representative countries and their respective aggregate metrics. The first number in each cell represents the metric for the date range 11/1/10-2/1/11. The parenthesized number is the Year over Year delta compared to a year ago.


For bounce rate, the distribution by country is plotted below:

The distribution above is annotated with some countries — which seem to indicate a story of leisure and stage of economic development. For a related metric: average time on site, the distribution by country is plotted below:

The type of countries annotated in the average time on site graph above seem to be in reverse order as those in the bounce rate distribution.

  •  2- Breakdown by Traffic Sources
    Traffic sources below are identified by how the “source” and “medium” parameters are received by the Google Analytics collecting servers. Here is an article describing what these designations refer to.

  •  3- Conversion Rate Distribution
    Many marketers’ favorite metric is conversion rate. Here is the worldwide distribution of Google Analytics “goal conversion rate” by country.

Would anyone have guessed that states which are known for conversions are also high for their citizens’ goal conversion rate? Note that for some states with few population, the statistical significance of the conversion metric comes into doubt.

Traffic Sources

Traffic sources below are identified by how the “source” and “medium” parameters are received by the Google Analytics collecting servers. Here is an article describing what these designations refer to.

Operating Systems

Browsers and Operation Systems (OS) are identified by the “referrer” string sent by users’ browsers.

A network engineer and a security specialist with a BSc degree in Computer Engineering, MS in Computer Networks, MBA in International Business and MS in Global Management. A member of the National Political Science Honor Society and The International Honor Society for Collegiate Schools of Business. Seinfeld, That '70s Show, Monk and Lost are my favorite TV shows, and Back to the Future, 12 Monkeys and Crash are my favorite movies. I however enjoy activities like biking, golfing and reading, but I spend most of my time behind a computer screen.


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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Carla Marshall November 1, 2011, 7:43 pm

    I’m still not receiving any benchmarking reports by email – anyone else having any luck with this??

  • David August 3, 2011, 9:30 pm

    A representative from Google has assured me that the email reports are industry-specific. Yet the email itself does not reference which vertical or industry the data is from. I use Google Analytics to track web traffic for a college/university website–and the benchmarking newsletter I received has identical information to the one you have written about here. Do you also have an analytics account for a higher education website? Or is Google not actually providing industry-specific benchmarking reports?

    • Mohamed Osam August 5, 2011, 5:59 am

      Yes David, the information you provide when you opt-in is not disclosed in anyway by Google, that’s the agreement, at least the way I understand it. Google basically collects all information gathered by all sites, and then calculates the averages accordingly. Now, I am positive that they have categorization per industry or based on some demographics, but they are not sharing this at this time, they may in the future though, but that again will require some changes to their program privacy policy.

      So I guess next time we hear that they changed their benchmarking privacy policy, we would then know that changes are coming in that newsletter.

      Facebook Virus! Is it Time to Switch to Google+?

  • Eddie Gear July 30, 2011, 5:34 am

    Hi there,

    Good tutorial. This is an excellent feature that Google has introduced. There must be more detailed articles on when some one can use features like this.

  • Owen McGab Enaohwo July 28, 2011, 4:30 pm

    Where exactly do I sign up for the Benchmark data? As in where is the optin for the newsletter?

  • Suraj July 8, 2011, 8:55 am

    Very nice.
    Thanks for sharing this article!Very useful resource and informative.

  • Karan July 7, 2011, 9:12 pm

    Looks like it’s gonna be pretty handy in analysis traffic.

    Good for SEO!

  • Mark July 7, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to judge the value of a website (on the average at least) than to test a variety of metrics and use the average as a benchmark by which to judge the rest.

    Of course, the fingerprint of a relevant and well-like website would be an ongoing project, but it’s a starting point and I think that any search engine algorithm would do well to implement a system like this.

    It will take a variety of metrics because any one can be focused on and manipulated more easily.


  • Steve July 7, 2011, 11:26 am


    Wow this sounds great. Another great addition to google analytics. It will make an extremely useful tracking program even more useful. thanks for the info and the great explanation.


  • Mouh July 7, 2011, 10:13 am

    I noticed that some days ago because I got an e-mail with this subject: “Google Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter”.

  • Jobn Paul July 7, 2011, 6:43 am

    Great walk thru .. as far as conversions..I need to start marketing to Russia and the UK more haha

  • Ming Jong Tey July 7, 2011, 5:42 am

    I haven’t noticed this benchmarking function in Google Analytic yet. Seems like a handy comparison for some metric.

    What data do they collect for the conversion rate? i.e. how do they track the conversion rate?

    • Mohamed Osam July 7, 2011, 7:09 pm

      When both Google Analytics account and Google Adsense account are linked, this information becomes available. This linkage will help you manage both account through one main interface as well.

  • Vijayraj Reddy July 7, 2011, 3:34 am

    stats have changes after Google panda update for all sites…

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