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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 insights, which should be used in setting digital marketing campaign goals. In digital marketing, you will want to regularly compare current performance against past data. 

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


One of the top resources (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, it allows the ability to toggle settings such as 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 paid search benchmarking in the ad planning tools provided by Google, Bing, or other relevant advertising networks. Whether it is the keyword or display planning tool, I find these helpful in showing me what I should expect 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 their connection with a large volume of paid search accounts gives them a wealth of data. 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 their data tools gets us outside of our own echo chamber and away from having to assume that our competitors are doing it right. Sometimes comparing ourselves 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, and ultimately misleading to just assume that competitors are doing it right and that we should follow their lead.

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