In any industry where we have to deal with numbers and data, it’s difficult to be able to know where things stand if you don’t have anything to compare them to. You need a little something called a benchmark. Based on the definition given by Google, a benchmark is defined as “a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed.”
Obviously, numbers without context doesn’t mean a damn thing. If I said I had a million dollars and there was nobody else with money to compare it to, how do you know that I was rich or not? As a marketer, if you had a ton of data in your hands, you know that data would be useless if you couldn’t compare it against competitors or the industry. It would be just a bunch of numbers and graphs and the such.
By utilizing benchmarking, it’s possible, using the data you have at your fingertips, to identify what elements of your marketing efforts are doing well, and what’s under-performing. You are able to focus on the KPIs that are important, and determine if they are important enough to be achievable.
Since it’s important to be able to communicate with those in upper management (and considering there’s a good chance that most of those aren’t really ‘digital natives’), this is where having all the necessary numbers and benchmark data is really important. Using industry benchmarks, it gives us the ability to share the appropriate perspective and framework when communicating with those in upper-management. It gives them to make informed decisions, and makes you look good.
Check out the Moz article written by Alan Coleman, E-Commerce KPI Study: There’s (Finally) a Benchmark for That. In it, Alan discusses Google Analytics benchmarking reports, data and methodology, KPIs, and why all that stuff matters. Just follow the link below to go straight to the Moz Blog article and read up on it!