String's Automotive Marketing Blog

Matthew Kolodziej

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Anatomy of an Effective Mobile Landing Page

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Jul 7, 2014 9:10:00 PM

Dealers know that customers are relying more and more on mobile devices to conduct research, comparison shop, and navigate the auto mile. But if that's the case, why aren't more dealers spending time to optimize their mobile landing pages?  Some of our clients have made a concerted effort to turn their mobile pages into conversion machines. We tracked the "before" and "after" results in our dealership intelligence platform, the Dealer Positioning System, and used the findings to put together some suggestions for the ultimate mobile landing page.  

We've summarized our findings below and provided some examples of each of the recommended elements done right, contrasted with a version that has room for improvement.  

1. Advertise a Specific Offer at the Top of the Page. 

Too often, dealers rely on a generic image or header to generate interest.  Don't just tell buyers about your upcoming Labor Day Sale -- mention financing terms or special incentives that will help them get a full picture of what you're offering.  Doing so can boost click-to-call conversion rates by up to 91%.


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Topics: conversions, automotive marketing, mobile optimization

Credit Where It's Due: Evaluating, AutoTrader and Other Vendor Traffic in Google Analytics

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Mar 27, 2014 5:27:00 PM

The good news: every visitor that your vendors send to your website can be tracked through Google Analytics. The bad news: it doesn't happen automatically.

In order to see the true number of visitors from vendors that send your site a substantial amount of mobile traffic – like, AutoTrader, and Pandora – all the links pointing to your site need to be tagged to play nice with Google Analytics. 


As smart as Google is, it can't detect the source of a visitor arriving from a mobile app – and neither can any other analytics tool. 

Instead, Google Analytics will label it as a "(direct)" visit in its reports, which means it won't show up when you look at and AutoTrader referral traffic. Pandora traffic is an even bigger issue, since the traffic it sends is almost entirely mobile-focused – typically at or above 90% – and a huge chunk of it will come through the mobile app. So unless it's tagged, you're unable to see the impact of that traffic.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics

How to Calculate Value Per Page

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Jan 6, 2014 10:12:00 AM

Chances are, you’re pretty obsessive about tracking key metrics like inventory turn and gross margin.  And the industry has us well-trained to keep a close eye on VDPs. But there’s another metric all savvy car dealers should be keeping tabs on: Value per page. 

Taking a look at how pages are performing in dollars and cents, rather than views, will help give you a handle on the effectiveness of your various online marketing efforts – and ensure you are investing your marketing dollars wisely.  We've laid out our argument for why value per page should replace VDPs as the most important gauge of your online marketing strategy in a recent eBook, The Marketing Metric You Should Be Obsessing About: Why VDPs are Out and Value Per Page is In.  This post is intended as a follow-up for intrepid e-commerce directors who want more insight into how to actually calculate and implement this metric in their dealerships.  

So what is value per page?

Value per page tells you how much money a web page is producing for you.  Who cares how many people are looking at a page if they don't ever take any follow-up action?  Wouldn't you prefer to see your page view stats with augmented ROI information, like this?


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Topics: auto dealer analytics, conversions, automotive marketing roi

Getting GA Goals Right: Google Analytics for VinSolutions Websites

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Nov 20, 2013 5:08:00 PM

Welcome to our third installment of Getting GA Goals Right.  This time out, we'll focus on VinSolutions websites -- we'll have you tracking email lead form submissions and other conversions right in Google Analytics in no time!

Configuring Form Submissions Goals

Depending on the number of forms you have on your site, tracking all of the different submissions separately can be tricky. 


Each call to action has its own thank-you page after a shopper completes a form, so you may see URLs with strings like "Key=confirm availability&success=true" or "Key=findmycar&success=true" in the Pages report in Google Analytics:



Let's start by tracking all form submissions tied to a specific vehicle and then move onto wrangling submissions for trade-ins, Find My Car tools, and other conversions not associated with a vehicle in your inventory.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics

Getting GA Goals Right: Google Analytics for Websites

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Nov 7, 2013 3:51:00 PM

Welcome to our second installment of Getting GA Goals Right.  In this post, we'll show you how to configure goals in Google Analytics to track email lead form submissions and more on your website.

If you're a customer tired of staring at an empty Conversions tab within Google Analytics (GA), you're five minutes away from having beautiful, compelling conversion and ROI data in your GA reports.

Configuring Form Submission Goals

Tracking email lead form conversions is your best bet to start with, and it's relatively easy to set up. To get to the goal configuration menu, click on the Admin tab at the top-right of the Google Analytics navbar and look for the Goals link on the right side of the page:

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics, conversions, automotive marketing,

Getting GA Goals Right: Google Analytics for Cobalt Dealer Websites

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Nov 5, 2013 4:18:53 PM

Welcome to our new blog seres, Getting GA Goals right.  Over the next few posts, we'll provide step-by-step instructions for configuring goals in Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of traffic to your car dealership websites. These steps can vary slightly depending on your web vendor. In this first installment, we'll be addressing Cobalt.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics

Money Talks: Tracking ROI for Car Dealers with Google Analytics

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Oct 20, 2013 11:58:00 PM


Google Analytics clarifies your attribution and ROI picture – but not without a little legwork. Learn how car dealers can leverage GA to see the direct impact of digital channels on their bottom line.


The lure of Google Analytics is that it promises to answer a question as old as the web: what’s the return on my digital investment? 

While getting a perfect answer remains elusive, GA casts light into the black box that is digital marketing and brings you a more complete ROI picture. There is a catch, however: it takes commitment on the part of you and your vendors.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics

The Future of Automotive SEO is (not provided)

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Oct 4, 2013 3:15:00 PM

Organic keyword data from Google is slated to disappear permanently. Smart car dealers who embrace this change and focus instead on creating killer content have everything to gain.

Anyone who spends a signifcant amount of time in Google Analytics or website vendor dashboards has experienced a slowly creeping scourge over recent months: (not provided) keyword data. After its recent announcement that it will no longer be providing information on specific keywords, the Big G has businesses who rely heavily on search marketing in a tizzy.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics, automotive seo

How to Stop Bots from Polluting Your Google Analytics Data on Cobalt

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Sep 17, 2013 2:35:00 PM

Car dealers with Cobalt sites across the country are seeing massive traffic spikes in Google Analytics reports over the past few months, and the culprit is a bot arriving courtesy of Microsoft. Learn to block the bot from your Google Analytics reports by setting up a filter in a few easy steps.

Cobalt is currently sending out instructions on creating an advanced segment to dealers who have inquired about the traffic, and Brian Pasch posted similar advice on Digital Dealer. While this is a great way to segment out the traffic from your existing data, String recommends going one step further by setting a filter to prevent the bot from ever being recorded in your GA again. 

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics, automotive seo

How Car Dealers Can Take Advantage of the New Google Maps

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Jul 22, 2013 10:46:00 AM

A new Google Maps means new opportunities to reach in-market buyers. Make sure your dealership is there.

This week, Google opened the doors to their new Maps product, and the changes are more than skin deep. Along with its prettier, full-screen facelift, the new Google Maps moves business listings from the left sidebar and places them directly on the map itself. That means more exposure for your dealership on every local search...but the strategy for sem and customer reputation management for car dealers may change slightly.

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Topics: google analytics, sem/ppc