Blogged in collaboration with Samantha Ngo, Senior Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.

You’ve heard us saying a thousand times: the buzz about big data isn’t about the amount of data you’ve collected; it’s how you digest that data and turn it into actionable insights. With the revamp to Google Analytics’ (GAs) benchmarking, Google is taking the next steps in allowing us common folk to process data in a platform with a simple UI, built to enable you to draw insights to catalyze actionable improvements to your marketing program.

Google’s vision is there. GAs extended benchmarking capability  – available to free and premium users – offers some sparkly new features such as 1600 industry categories (previously 26), size buckets, and location filters that allow for basic segmentation; and, the tool can automatically place you within one of these categories according to your web traffic, etc. Also, you have to give to get: Opting out of allowing Google to collect your information anonymously means you won’t have access to benchmarking features. Given GA’s huge deployment footprint — we’re talking about big time big data and a great opportunity for firms of all sizes and verticals to compare themselves to relevant markets.

But as you excitedly dive into Google’s benchmarking big data lake you should consider that;

  • This isn’t quite ready for enterprise. For the moment the benchmarks can only be viewed via Google reports; and digital marketers will not be able to suck this benchmark data (via APIs etc..) into their favourite dashboarding or BI tool.
  • So which benchmarks vertical applies to you anyway? As you eagerly build out your benchmark reports you will soon be asking for good descriptions of a least some of the 1600 newly available industry verticals. But the discerning CI pro wanting to make important digital benchmark related business decisions will be disappointed with the level detail provided.

It is certainly heading in the right direction – but this release of GA’s benchmarking capability isn’t as disruptive as it promises to be – yet. While it certainly improves the access that CI pros have to understanding how their digital properties compare in their respective markets, Google must build out integration capabilities; be more explicit on what each vertical means; and find cool ways of making benchmarking actionable – this will truly shake the market.