String's Automotive Marketing Blog

Jump off the VDP Bandwagon and Meet Your Highest-Value Visitors

Posted by Matt Kolodziej

Jul 7, 2015 6:34:49 PM

Your analytics dashboard reports a healthy bump in visitors, SRPs, and VDPs – sounds like you’re in for a great month. But by the time the 30th rolls around, showroom traffic was flat, and so were your sales.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics, web stats, car buyers, automotive marketing, automotive marketing roi, roi

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

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,

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

Introducing the String Dealer Positioning System

Posted by Ken Kolodziej

Sep 2, 2013 11:31:00 PM

Today is a big day here at String Automotive.  Today, we launch the String Dealer Positioning System, -- or DPS -- a new solution that helps dealers leverage their data to attract, convert and retain more car buyers. As the product has taken shape over the past weeks and months, our team has gotten more and more excited to get the DPS in the wild and in the hands of dealers.  As one of our employees put it: “It’s like we got someone the best birthday present ever, and we can’t give it to them yet.” 

String Dealer Positioning System resized 600

The DPS is the culmination of more than eight years of working with auto dealers as a marketing services vendor.  We launched the company in 2005 because we felt there was a better way to help car dealers develop web sites that would set them apart from the competition; over time, we’ve added SEO, SEM, inventory management and customer reputation management to our repertoire.  But one thing has remained constant throughout our evolution and a changing car industry: A lack of transparency at the dealer level when it comes to data.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics, dealer positioning system

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

Advanced Attribution: Track the Car Buyer Customer Journey

Posted by Matthew Kolodziej

Jun 28, 2013 5:00:00 AM

Your customers don't rush to buy a car, so why rush to attribute leads to a single source? With Google Analytics' new Model Comparison Tool, you can easily pick between a number of attribution models that give credit to all sources involved in generating your web leads.  You'll be able to give credit to marketing activities that serve as "assists" as well as those that score the actual sale.

It's been almost two years since Google Analytics introduced Multi-Channel Funnels into it's reporting, but the past two weeks have delivered two of the biggest and most important changes to this feature since its launch.

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Topics: auto dealer analytics, google analytics, car buyer customer journey, conversions