Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Google Analytics adds benchmarking option

The Google Analytics blog has announced the inclusion of a new benchmarking option, where site owners can compare their data trends against the averages for their own market sector, or for other industry sectors. The option has just been made available as a beta and the blog says that it may take some weeks for full data to be available. There is a new FAQ section added for this benchmarking service.

At the same time, Analytics users will notice a new option when they login to their accounts to share their data with other sources. This is the way that Google will aggregate data from similar market sector websites and so they are hoping that many websites will allow their data to be used in this way. For those who are already paranoid about sharing their traffic data with Google through the free Analytics service, this move will potentially be a step to far. However, Google stress that they aren't sharing individual site data with any competitors, but rather the information is being combined into broader industry vertical stats that anonymize and aggregate the data.

Analytics users can also now elect to share their data with other Google services which, according to the blog and accompanying FAQs, will allow Google to provide additional new features to the Analytics package, such as integrating the AdWords Conversion Optimizer data. As an extended information tool, this move appears to give website marketers more valuable data to support their online activity, although many may want to hold off for a few months to see the reaction and impact from this move.

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