Industry Benchmarks: How Do Your Numbers Compare?

One of the more frequent requests we get here at Paine Publishing headquarters is: “Are there any industry benchmarks we can check so we know whether our numbers are good or bad?” (This question is so common that we update this article each year.)

My standard response is, “No. The only things you should be benchmarking against are your peers in your industry and whoever keeps your boss, your CEO, or your board awake at night.”

But I also realize that many of you can’t afford to measure your competition. And you’d still like to have some tools to at least get a sense of whether your numbers are in the right ballpark. To that end we’ve tracked down a number of reports you might find useful:

Benchmarks for your budget

  • If you’re trying to figure out how to allocate staff or allocate your budget, see the IDC FutureScape research based on their 2016 worldwide survey of Chief Marketing Officers.

Benchmarks for your email program

  • We’ve used the IBM Email Marketing-Metrics Benchmark Study for years to get a sense of how we’re doing here at The Measurement Advisor, even though there is nothing very comparable to TMA in the data. However, it does provide some very useful stats.
  • Nonprofits will find the M+R Report incredibly useful, as it provides similar data to the IBM report, but for non-profits.

Benchmarks for social media

  • Unmetric is the first platform I’ve seen that automatically includes your competition in its social media tracking. While its price may be a bit steep for some ($1,000/month), it does an excellent job of putting your results into perspective relative to the industry.
  • TrackMaven’s 2016 report, “Social Media Industry Index” is full of great stats on average engagement rates by industry and by platform.

Benchmarks for PR

There’s very little in the way of standard benchmarks for PR, because every PR program has different goals and strategies. There are, however, a couple of reliable sources if you want to know what’s going on in the industry:

Benchmarks for content marketing

Benchmarks for event marketing

Benchmarks for digital marketing

Benchmarks for tech marketing

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Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.

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