String's Automotive Marketing Blog

Getting GA Goals Right: Google Analytics for Websites

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

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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:

After that, click the "Create A Goal" button and pick the "Custom" radial button. Name your goal "New VDP Form Submissions" (or whatever name you prefer), and then choose "Destination" as your goal type.

Now the process gets a little more complicated, so here's a step-by-step guide:

In the Destination drop-down, change "Equals to" to "Regular expression." In the URL field, paste in this exact phrase: confirm(.*)new_details

Turn the optional "Value" slider on, and then enter a dollar value that makes sense for how highly you value an email lead from a new vehicle details page. For a quick tutorial on how to calculate goal values, see our ROI post.

Click to verify the goal. When you're finished, your goal set up should look like this:


Next, let's start tracking form submissions coming from used vehicle details pages. Create a new goal and follow the steps above, but when it comes to filling in the destination URL field, use confirm(.*)used_details instead. Note that this will capture all pre-owned VDP leads, including certified.

Pick an appropriate goal value, and your goal details should look something like this:

You're on a roll now, so let's power through a few more form submission goals!

The following list includes the type of form submission and the URL strings that you need to use when creating each new goal. Remember that not all of these will apply to your site – these will depend on whether you have form submissions coming from inventory search pages, whether or not you have a quick quote page, incentives pages, showroom pages, etc.

Don't forget to set the drop down to regular expression and to add a goal value for all conversions:


    • Inventory Search - confirm(.*)inventory_listing
    • Finance - confirm(.*)finance
    • Quick Quote - confirm(.*)quick_quote
    • Contact Us - confirm(.*)contact_default
    • Incentives Form - confirm(.*)incentive
    • Showroom Form - confirm(.*)showroom
    • Service Form - confirm(.*)service
    • Parts Form - confirm(.*)parts

Hours and Directions Visits, Plus Mobile Clicks to Call

Now that all of your form submissions are being tracked, let's add visits to your hours and directions page as another conversion. 

Follow the same steps as above – create a new destination-type goal – but instead of choosing "Regular expression," pick "Equals to" and use the URL string /dealership/directions.htm:

Tracking mobile clicks-to-call on your mobile site within Google Analytics currently isn't possible. In fact, tracking most of your site's mobile traffic within GA isn't possible, due to the way has its platform configured.

This is because the mobile subdomains that users are sent to –, for example – do not contain the Google Analytics tracking code. And if that code isn't there to register pageviews and actions, then GA doesn't know that those shoppers exist.

In the event that changes their mobile platform to include Google Analytics tracking code, then all that's required to see your clicks-to-call within GA is wrapping the following bit of Javascript around your phone numbers:

onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'phone-call', 'mobile-click', 'sales']);"
Change the 'sales' element to 'service' or 'parts' depending on the different numbers you have listed on your site. The code can be included in a <span> tag or an <a href> tag.

Custom Reports for VDP and ROI

Want to see your vehicle details pageviews by traffic type? Click the link below and select any website profile in GA:

Once the report loads, you can dive into any of the types of traffic to get a more detailed view of the source, campaign, or keyword that drove those vehicle details pageviews.

Now that you have goals configured and values attributed to each one, another tool that will shed some light on which digital channels are performing best is the String Automotive Attribution custom report:

Once you have a solid month of conversion data to draw upon, the Attribution report will tell you which vendors are delivering a return on your investment.

To wrap up, we also have a higher-level custom dashboard for the GMs:

This dashboard reports the total value generated by the website (according to the goal values that you assigned), along with the top new and used vehicles in terms of pageviews and page value. After all, just because a car receives a lot of traffic doesn't necessarily mean that it's grabbing any conversions!

Remember that these reports will need conversion data to be actionable, so check back a few weeks after you've configured all of the goals above. And if you have any questions about setting up goals for websites, let us know in the comments below!






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