Tracking Digital Results For Car Dealers
As we are starting to get into the rhythm of 2017, it’s critically important that each and every dealership know exactly what they are getting from their marketing strategies. The only way to know how well your strategies are performing is to have a transparent and comprehensive reporting available to you.
There are some providers that try to force you to use their own analytics and tracking tools, we urge you to push back and require any vendor you work with to integrate fully with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Doing this will allow you to standardize all of your KPIs through one reporting platform. Google is the most widely used and trusted source of data on the internet today. There is no good reason that any web provider, SEM company, or other digital vendors that can’t pass data into Google Analytics for your independent review in 2017!
Like most advanced automotive digital marketing agencies, we have chosen to fully embrace Google Tag Manager. This allows us to only have to add code to your website one time. Any future scripts, third party add on trackers, and even tracking events can be setup at any time in the future without ever having to touch your website code again once it’s already on the site. This is a huge benefit when many of the vendor approved website providers are incredibly slow and unresponsive when trying to manipulate anything on your automotive website. They are built to scale, not for customer service. Having Google Tag Manager greatly reduced the reliance and headaches with having to continually make service request from your unresponsive website vendor.
Through Tag Manager we are able to track anything and everything. This means setting up A/B testing, setting up triggers and tags for conversion tracking, setting up call tracking scripts, etc. Google Tag Manager events allow us to setup goals in Google Analytics for many complicated things that allow you to easily see and utilize data from your website.
An example could be chats. As a website vendor ourselves, it has always been frustrating that we handle the automotive website, automotive SEO, and automotive PPC for a client, but when it comes to reporting we couldn’t paint the full picture of what our results were delivering in the past because of third party integrations with our websites such as chat, finance applications, service schedulers, etc. Now with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics we are able to get a full picture for our customers on what we are truly providing them. We can show not only intent to fill out those third party applications but also how many chat interactions and even chat leads we delivered to them through our Drive Digital Group websites!
Our Account Managers are able to get a comprehensive look at our various digital marketing channel performances and report the full picture to our customers in their monthly strategy calls. This also uncovers very interesting points that, without full tracking, you would never know about. For example we have a client that wanted a very large “schedule test drive” button as the only conversion point on the SRP (Search results Page) and displayed prominently on the VDP (Vehicle Details Page).
As you can see from the graphic above you should be tracking the following
Core Engagements Measured:
- Lead Form Submissions
- Phone Call Conversions (Sales & Service)
- Chat Conversations
- SMS/Messenger Conversions
Secondary Engagements Measured:
- Intent for Conversions Not Able to be Tracked
- Car Fax Downloads, Specials Printouts, and Window Sticker Downloads
One thing to be aware of is that even if you are being provided this level of information from your vendors, are they making any sense of it for you? What I mean by that is these goals are simply measuring all conversions on the site. They are not segmented by source or channel. For that we provide custom dashboards to our customers so that they can easily see all of the above information but only as it relates to the sources of the traffic.
Below is an example to highlight what a dashboard might look like to segment all of that goal tracking only by paid search as the source. The dashboard shows all the relevant information using the Google Analytics Goal data, but only if the conversion originated from a paid search visit to the website.
As a full service automotive digital advertising agency we use many more tools to gather data and make good decisions based on the data we collect. We are also using the Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics tools for much more than just what we have talked about in this article, this is simply a plea to car dealers to make sure that you are being provided with the necessary information you need to make informed decisions about the money you are spending to drive traffic and ultimately sell cars for your dealership.
Too often we see how loyal people have become due to relationships or habits and no one is actually looking at any real data to determine if changes need to take place. Don’t be one of those dealers! You are the customer, even if you are mandated to use certain vendors, it’s your right to get this information to be able to run your business effectively. It’s 2017 and it’s high time you start working with partners that have YOUR best interest in mind and whose livelihood depends on delivering real results that are measurable.