Say Yes To Google Analytics Benchmarking*

Mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) companies work together on all kinds of issues (see the operations agendas of the Investment Company Institute or NICSA, for example).

But except for the occasional conferences and other get-togethers, asset management marketers don’t have continuous access to one another, least of all their data. Well, here’s your chance. 

What would you give to know how your Website performs against its peers?

Google Analytics has resurrected its benchmarking capability (discontinued in 2011), and since September has been rolling it out to accounts. The most excellent news is that two of the 1,600 verticals are Exchange-traded Funds and Mutual Funds.

To find, just start at Channels, Business & Industrial, then drill down to Finance, Investing and then Funds.


Other sites, notably SimilarWeb (see post), provide free competitive data. Since this service is straight from the source itself, ostensibly it should be even more reliable. A comparison of traffic sources, location and devices across six metrics that include sessions, percentage of new sessions, new sessions, pages/session, average session duration and bounce rate is being made available.

In order to access benchmarking data, you need to opt in. Participating is as simple as checking a box in the Admin settings of your account. This effectively grants permission to Google to remove identifiable information about your site, combine anonymized data with similar sites and report benchmarks.


If you work on a mutual fund or ETF site with 0 to 100 daily sessions, you’re in luck! The data is right there and waiting, thanks to the fact that 20 Web properties are contributing to the benchmark.

However, traffic on the vast majority of fund company sites exceeds 100 sessions. Unfortunately, there’s no peer data for you because an insufficient number of firms are contributing.

I suppose you could benchmark your site against all Finance sites, but that might just confuse things.

(Note to the financial advisors who pop in here from time to time, you’ll be able to benchmark your Financial Planning Management sites up to 5,000 daily sessions.)

Why The *

Data in exchange for data is a common benchmarking model but in your particular case, conditions may apply. My advice: Don’t make a unilateral decision to turn benchmarking on.

Early on, I had a few go-rounds with managers of IT departments who were opposed to relying on a free service for business analytics.

Still today, despite the high number of companies that rely on Google Analytics (70% of the top 10,000 Quantcast Websites and most of the competitors you care about, according to BuiltWith), some enterprise IT people continue to have their suspicions. Web analytics is data that can provide a particular view into a business. How can we be sure that it's secure or that it will always be there for us? For that matter, what could or might Google do with it?

I am not the one to try to explain these objections or whether participating in benchmarking if you’re already a Google Analytics user elevates the risk. To be sure, just check in with your own IT management. There may be no pushback, probably won't be.

It’s going to take more than a little old blog post to get some data flowing into the benchmarks but maybe if you tell an asset management marketing friend and that friend tells a friend…we’ll get there.