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Today Google announced the release of some interesting additions to Google Analytics, the free website analytics offering from the search giant. Almost as many times as the topic of Google Analytics comes up, we’re asked whether or not Google is poring over your private data and sharing it among its secret circles in dark caverns. While the answer to this question has always been a resounding “no”, today’s beta releases provide a case for the positives of data-sharing within Google Analytics.

Ever wanted to know if other online stores selling the same products as you also saw a record February? What days of the week other sites like yours experience traffic spikes? How about knowing if people stay on your pages longer than they stay on your competitors’ sites? With the industry benchmarking feature, you can answer these questions and more.

Google Analytics announces benchmarking feature

Understanding how your website performs against other websites in your vertical can shed some bright light on your online marketing plans, and even looking at data across other verticals can provide valuable insights that you can turn into action items for your online success.

So how does Google Analytics get all this data on your vertical? Well, the bottom line is that for this to be an effective tool, we all have to share it. The second feature released today is the beta of the “data-sharing settings” page, where Google Analytics users can opt in to sharing their data. To dispel the paranoia that is sure to result from this option, Google is NOT making your individual data available to your market (and your competitors). When you opt-in to data sharing, your Analytics data is aggregated with everyone else in your industry vertical anonymously.

So why stop there? Google is also letting you opt into sharing your Analytics data across other Google services you may be using. Have you tried the Conversion Optimizer from Adwords yet? If so, you’re probably frustrated that you have to set up separate conversion tracking for this feature when all that data is right there in your Analytics account. Cross Google services data sharing is the first step to allowing us to solve problems like this, and we at WebShare are excited to see where this leads.

Google Analytics help Webshare is a Google Analytics Authorized consultancy and can help you make the most of this new feature and the wealth of data available to you via website analytics. From website analytics training to Google Analytics consulting, WebShare can help you with all your website analytics needs.

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