String's Automotive Marketing Blog

Getting GA Goals Right: Google Analytics for VinSolutions Websites

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

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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.

As always, let’s start by navigating to the Admin tab on the far right of the navbar, and then look for the Goals link all the way on the right under your View/Profile:


Once your list of goals loads, look for the “Create A Goal” button and select the “Custom” radial button. Name this new goal “Vehicle Form Submissions” (or any other name you prefer), and then choose the “Destination” goal type.

From here, it gets a little trickier, so we’re going to break it down step-by-step:


    1. For the destination drop-down, change “Equals to” to “Regular expression.” For the URL field, paste in this exact phrase: /forms/dynamic.*autoid.*success
    2. Turn the Value switch on, and then type in a dollar value that makes sense for how highly you value an email lead from an inventory page. Even if it’s a rough estimate, this dollar value will go a long way toward helping you determine the effectiveness of your traffic channels. For a deeper dive, see our post on ROI for car dealers.
    3. Click to verify your goal. When you’re done, your configuration should look like this:



Now that the form submissions coming from your inventory are covered, let’s move onto forms completed on pages that do not have an “autoid” associated with them. This gets even trickier, so grab a cup of coffee!

Start by navigating to the “All Pages” report under the Behavior tab. Look for it on the left-hand side of the page:


Once there, you will need to click on the “advanced” link that sits next to the search bar and under the line graph:


That link opens up the advanced search filter where you can limit the pages displayed in the report. The filter defaults to “Page,” which is exactly what you need. In the drop-down that says “Containing,” switch it to “Matching RegExp” and paste this into the field next to it: /forms/dynamic.*success. 

Once that’s done, click on the “Add a dimension or metric” button – this is what it you should have so far:


Select “Page” as a dimension for your second filter, and then change the “Include” drop-down to “Exclude.” Leave the second drop-down as “Containing,” and paste autoid into the field next to it. When you’re done, your advanced filter should look like this:


Hit the Apply button, and you should be left with just those extra form submissions that you’re after. If you don’t see any pages listed, then try extending the date range. If you see pages that contain strings like “Key=contact-us” or “Key=value-trade,” then you’re almost home:


If you don’t see any results even with a bigger date range, then chances are that your site simply doesn’t have extra forms that you can track right now. Double-check with your rep at VinSolutions, and keep this guide handy just in case you add other forms later.

Copy the text that comes after the “Key=” in the URL strings and paste them into a text file. Navigate back to the Goals page in the Admin section, and start creating new goals based on the URL paths you have in that file. Follow the same steps that we outlined for the Vehicle Form Submissions, but substitute the .*autoid with whatever follows the “Key=”.

So, using the examples above, we would set up five other goals that would use these names and the following regular expression URL strings:


    1. Contact Us - /forms/dynamic.*contact-us.*success


    1. Body Shop - /forms/dynamic.*body-shop.*success
    2. Ask a Tech - /forms/dynamic.*ask-a-tech.*success
    3. Order Parts - /forms/dynamic.*order-parts.*success
    4. Test Drive - /forms/dynamic.*test-drive.*success


Remember, the bolded text should match whatever URL strings you found when using the advanced filter on your All Pages report. It could be value-trade, quick-quote, etc.


Hours and Directions Visits, Plus Mobile Clicks to Call

Visits to your hours and directions page may be a “softer” conversion, but it still shows intent to drive to your dealership.

Follow the same steps as you did for form submissions – create a new goal, and choose destination as the type. Change the drop-down to “Regular expression,” and use paste the following string into the URL field: 




That string will match visits to both the desktop directions page and the mobile directions page, giving you a more complete picture of conversions across all devices. Add a small goal value, and your finished configuration should look like this:

Screen_shot_2013-11-13_at_11.10.01_PMTackling mobile clicks to call will be trickier, and it requires VinSolutions to add some extra Javascript code to your mobile site. Reach out to your rep and ask about adding this little snippet of Javascript to the link used for your telephone numbers:


onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'phone-call', 'mobile-click', 'sales']);"


When added, the HTML for the click-to-call number on your mobile site will look like this:


<a href="tel:5555555555" class="ui-link-inherit" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'phone-call', 'mobile-click', 'sales']);" >Sales: (555) 555-5555</a>


After that, you will see all mobile clicks-to-call in the Events report in Google Analytics under the Behavior tab.


Custom Reports for VDPs and ROI

As a little reward for making it this far, we’re including a few custom reports and dashboards that we’ve created – all of them custom-built for VinSolutions sites. The first allows you to track vehicle details pageviews by traffic type:


Simply click the link above, and select a VinSolutions Google Analytics profile. Next, let’s start tracking the ROI of your digital channels. Now that you have goal values configured, the String Automotive Attribution report will provide you with a good estimate of the return on your digital spend:


Lastly, we have a high-level custom dashboard for GMs who only want a few key metrics to look at:


For this dashboard, we focus solely on the total dollar value that the website delivered, which traffic channels are showing the best ROI, as well as which vehicles are generating pageviews and conversions. All of it is tied back to dollars and cents – something every GM can understand.

Remember that since your goal values have only recently been configured, the Attribution report and the GM dashboard will need at least a few weeks of conversion data before you can draw any conclusions.

If all of this Google Analytics configuration seems like too much of a headache, remember that String Automotive’s Dealer Positioning System takes care of a lot of the legwork for you. 

Questions on setting up goals in GA for VinSolutions? Drop us a line in the comments, and we can help!


Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics