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?
But before we can arrive at value per page, you'll need to assign some values to your web conversions.
Which web conversion, you ask? Any you’d like to assign a value to. But don’t track a million stats just for the sake of it; focus on conversions that have some predictive value in terms of leading to a sale. Here are some we recommend:
- Form submissions/email leads: A clear expression of interest in a particular vehicle, and a consent to start a conversation with your dealership
- Mobile clicks to call: Indicates an interest in your dealership
- Visits to hours and directions page: Tougher to track, but suggests intent to visit your store
Never fear, we've got a relatively simple formula to help you think through the calculating value for each goal conversion.
And what is this magic formula?
So this will require a little elbow grease on your part, and may involve getting knee-deep in your web stats. But once you set up goals correctly, it will be simple to track on an ongoing basis.
In order to assign an accurate value to your goal conversions – particularly form submissions – focus on two metrics: the average gross earned per vehicle and the closing rate on your dealership's web leads.
Here’s the calculation:
So for example, a form submission from a vehicle details page might be worth $100, while a visit to your hours and directions page might only be worth $20.
So how do you arrive at those numbers?
If you gross $1,000 on average for every vehicle sold, and close 10% of the email leads your website generates, each form submission is worth $100.
In other words, because it will take you 10 form submissions to sell one car on average (and that car will gross you $1,000) each of those 10 form submissions is worth $100.
Assigning Values To Hours and Directions Page Visits
An Hours and Directions page visit is tougher to pin a firm dollar amount to. So before assigning a value, you’ll need to have a discussion at your dealership to determine a fair number.
When making your determination, consider factors such as the number of hours and directions page visits in a given month compared to the number of ups in that same month that you can tie to your website (but not directly to an email lead).
Those metrics will give you a rough idea of how many visits to your directions page it takes to sell a car.
Let's say you have 100 visits to your Hours and Directions page in a month and 25 ups that you know came from the web but did not submit a form.
For argument's sake, let's estimate that a quarter of those who visit your Hours and Directions page actually make it to the lot. (Is that fair? We'd be interested to hear from dealers who survey their walk-in traffic whether they've been able to guessimate a somewhat accurate percentage...)
If you sold two cars to those ups, you have a 2% closing rate on hours and directions visits (two cars sold for those 100 Hours and Directions conversions).
Multiply your 2% closing rate by the $1,000 average gross on a vehicle and (drumroll, please) you get a roughly $20 value for an hours and directions page goal conversion.
Armed with this information, you’ll be better able to shift your marketing budget around to focus on high-value marketing activities – and have better discussions with your vendors to ensure they are driving high-quality leads to your dealership.
These are just a few of the many goals you can define and add value to in Google Analytics. Or, if you’d prefer not to get in the weeds, String Automotive has done much of the thinking for you. Our Dealer Positioning System, a new analytics tool for dealers, makes it easy to assign goal conversions and learn what’s working for you in online marketing.
Want to learn more? Check out our Director of Analytics, Matty Kolodziej breaking down how you calculate value per lead and value per page in this Digital Dealer webinar.