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With your digital marketing strategy in motion for the year, you are likely reporting on progress monthly or incrementally in your campaign. A great part of your measurement plan should be using benchmarks. You’ll want to use them if you don’t have past performance data or other insights for setting digital marketing campaign goals and will want to regularly compare current performance against them.

Benchmarking takes some of the guesswork out of determining what performance we should expect and strive for. There are number of great industry resources for finding them and I’m excited to share a few of my favorites with you.


One of the two top sources (along with Google Search Console) for measurement of SEO efforts is Google Analytics. It is also a great resource for benchmarks. Navigate to the benchmarking report in the “audience” section and you’ll find the option for “channels.”

Here you can set your date range, select the most relevant industry vertical, and other attributes. Now you can use the table to compare your current performance to the industry averages. I love the simplicity of this report and the aggregate benchmark data. Plus, the we have the ability to toggle the settings like industry vertical segments to see how the benchmarks change.

Benchmarks Google Analytics example

Note that this information is helpful for traffic and behavior benchmark data for paid search, social, and email as well.

Paid Search

I like to start my benchmarking in paid search in the ad planning tools provided by Google, Bing, or relevant advertising network. Whether it is the keyword or display planning tool, I find that these are helpful to show me what I should expect at different levels based on my keyword, targeting, bids, budget, and more. I can use this to set the expectation of what is available in the marketplace and benchmark that against my actual performance.

Beyond that, looking at the industry as a whole, my favorite resource for paid search benchmarks is Wordstream. Their position as an industry tool and connection with a large volume of paid search accounts gives them a wealth of data and I’m thankful that they share it with us and regularly update it.

Email Marketing

Much like the Wordstream resource for paid search, there are many third party email sending platforms that have a wealth of data and are willing to share it. Getting benchmarks by industry, message type, and other meaningful comparisons for open rate, click through rate, and the other email performance stats are valuable.

My personal favorites include:

Social Media Marketing

Social media can seem to have the most elusive comparison models. We never want to be doing social media just because we feel like we need to. The questions about how much engagement and traffic, plus how often we should be posting, are the most common we get.

RivalIQ is the best third party resource to help answer those questions and set expectations. Using data like theirs gets us outside of our own echo chamber and away from having to assume that our competitors are doing it right. Sometimes comparing to our closest competitors or peers can be misleading.


A big component of measuring performance and using data to set goals is making a valuable comparison. Digital marketing benchmark data does exist and there are great resources for it. Knowing where to look and grab trusted insights can help further advise strategy and performance objectives. It can be tough without this data or misleading to just assume that competitors are doing it right or well and that we should follow their lead.

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