String's Automotive Marketing Blog

Measure What Matters: Google Analytics for Auto Dealers

Posted by Matt Kolodziej

May 15, 2013 4:30:00 PM

You have Google Analytics implemented on your sites. You know that data grows more important to your dealership every year. You may have even heard Google's Avinash Kaushik railing against traditional web stats at last week’s Digital Dealer conference in Orlando. But you're not sure how to measure what matters.

The good news is that you're not alone. Everyone outside of Amazon and Netflix is playing catch-up. But whether you're selling streaming video or sports cars, the only data that really matters are numbers that impact the bottom line. And if you're not paying attention to those and doing what you can to sell more cars and push the needle upwards, you won't last long.

To help you make sure you’re using Google Analytics to full effect, we put together some handy tips to set yourself up for success.  We’ll be rolling out some best GA practices over the next few days, so stay tuned for the rest of our Auto Dealer Analytics series!

The Bottom Line

Before you dive into any segmentation or analysis, make sure you're tracking conversions that matter. 

google analytics for auto dealers

Start by navigating to the Conversions tab at the bottom of GA's sidebar and click the Overview link within Goals. If you're greeted by a page telling you that "this report requires goals to be enabled," then you have no way to chop up your data and see which visitors are converting into leads, how they arrived at your site, and how they interacted before converting.

If goals are enabled, then you're halfway home. Only track goals that focus on the tangible, which means ditching any that focus on engagement metrics. Time on site, pages per visit, inventory pageviews, and other soft goals pollute your stats and give you artificially high conversion rates. There's a reason why the top 50 sites on the web average a 2% conversion rate: they're only tracking goals that directly impact their bottom line.

What Constitutes a Conversion

Start with form submissions for price quotes, test drives, and financing. Add clicks for directions. If your platform allows for it, track mobile clicks-to-call. Talk with your vendor about adding goals that you can honestly tie to revenue, and then add appropriate dollar values to each conversion type. 

Conversions in GA

With that foundation in place, everything you look at in Google Analytics can be examined through the "what matters" lens. Look for the handy "Goal Set" links near the top of nearly any page in GA, and you can immediately see the last-click conversion rate and value of any traffic source, keyword, city, etc.

In tomorrow's post, we'll focus on tracking your buyer through the funnel and understanding how they move from lead to customer.

Image credit: Bruce Clay, Inc.

Read Part Two of Measure What Matters series>>


Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics, digital dealer