Users of Google Analytics can now opt into a program that will allow them to contribute their data anonymously and in return get access to anonymized, aggregated data from other Google Analytics users in their industry, or in other industry verticals.
The new feature allows users to benchmark their site’s performance against others in their niche, or how their niche compares to another industry vertical. For instance, a user can compare daily changes in traffic on their own site with the rest of their industry, to see if the ups and downs are unique to their site, or are common to competitors as well, said Brett Crosby, group manager of Google Analytics.
“Industry benchmarking enables customers to see how their site data compares to sites in any available industry vertical,” Crosby said. “This data will provide actionable insights by providing context for users to understand how their site is doing.”
Another possibility would be for a site owner to find a complementary industry vertical with different seasonal traffic patterns, so that when one industry is down, that site owner could try advertising on the site in the up industry to try to share the wealth.
Users will be able to manipulate the industry data in the same ways they can use their own site’s data, to compare traffic and user behavior data over time or by geography, for example.
To accommodate the new features, Google has added a new data-sharing settings page in Google Analytics. A user’s data will not be shared in the aggregate industry totals unless the user specifically opts into the program. Even after that, the data is shared anonymously, in aggregate by vertical, Crosby said.
On the new page, users will be able to opt into the Google Analytics data-sharing program, or choose to share their data with other, unnamed data-sharing programs that Google is developing. Users can also choose to opt out of all data-sharing programs.
The option to share data with other services is meant as a catch-all, so that Google can more easily roll out future data-sharing programs that would allow Google to use Analytics data in a user’s other Google applications. Potential data-sharing programs could include AdWords bid management or Conversion Optimizer, Crosby said.
Integration with Audio Ads
In addition to the benchmarking and data-sharing additions, Google has rolled out integration between Google Analytics and Audio Ads. The program gives Audio Ads advertisers a better view into offline conversions driven by those ads by comparing visits, conversion, revenue, and transaction data on a site against the geography, time and reach of the Audio Ads, which are generally played on local radio stations.
That data from the Audio Ads campaign is overlaid with Analytics data so users can see any correlations between the two.
These reports will launch for all U.S. users within the coming weeks. Audio Ads campaign reports will appear automatically in a user’s Google Analytics page if they’ve linked their Analytics and AdWords accounts.
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