As a car dealership, you already track a lot of data. From close rates for your sales team to the inventory turnover rate, you’ve got a close eye on all your key metrics.

The same should be true for your online marketing efforts. Do you know how many people visit your website each month? How about the number of website visitors who turn into paying customers?

If you’re investing your time, resources, and energy into marketing your car dealership, you should know how well your marketing efforts are working. Google Analytics provides car dealerships with an inside look at the status of their website and digital marketing efforts.

Why Does My Car Dealership Need a Google Analytics Account?

There are several website and marketing analytics tools on the market. However, these tools often charge a hefty monthly fee.

Google Analytics accounts are available to businesses free of charge and provide a wealth of insightful marketing information.

With a Google Analytics account, you’ll be able to access data such as:

  • The geographic locations of website visitors.
  • The number of visitors your website receives in a given period of time.
  • How many users accessed your website via your marketing campaigns.
  • Which social media websites directed users to your website.
  • How much time users spent on your site.

And that’s only a handful of the data you can explore. Google Analytics is not an optional tool, it’s a necessity for car dealerships.

How to Sign Up for a Google Analytics Account

Signing up for a Google Analytics account is simple. Simply visit the Google Analytics website and click “Sign Up for Free”.

The instructions will guide you through setting up a property (your website) and various reporting views to customize your dashboard.

Once your account is set up, you’ll need to add the tracking code to your website’s HTML or content management system. To find your code, sign in to your Google Analytics account and click on the “Admin” button in the left-hand menu.

Once on the Admin dashboard, navigate to the middle column and locate the “Tracking Info” button. Click on the button and choose “Tracking Code” from the drop-down menu options.

Copy and paste this code into the tag of each website page you’d like to track. Alternatively, your website builder or program may only ask for your Google Analytics ID. This ID can be found in “Property Settings” on the Admin Dashboard as well.

After you’ve set up your account and tracking code, it will take a few hours to aggregate the data into the tool.

Now that your Google Analytics account is set up and your tracking code is in place, you need to determine which KPIs (key performance indicators) are worth tracking. We recommend analyzing the following:

11 KPIs to Track in Google Analytics

1. Sessions

A session is defined as a single visit to your car dealership’s website. Naturally, you want this number to increase as you continue to promote your business online.

Using Google Analytics, you can adjust the time period and see how many website sessions you received within that time frame. For instance, you’ll be able to track how many sessions your website received in the past 24 hours, month, quarter, year, etc.

2. Audience Data

Sure, you may have a general idea of who your target audience is. But do you know if they’re interacting with your website?

Google Analytics has an entire “Audience” section full of data on your website visitors’ locations, devices, languages, and more. Use this information to better understand your audience and deliver the content they need for a positive car-buying experience.

You can also create custom audiences to further analyze your marketing results. Follow this guide to develop your dealership’s audiences in Google Analytics.

3. New vs. Returning Users

As your sales team knows, there’s a huge difference between a cold lead just entering the buying process and a prospective customer on the cusp of signing a buyer’s order on a new car.

In Google Analytics, you can see how many users are visiting your website for the first time and how many are returning for more information. This new-to-returning visitor ratio should give you insight into how your sales team, website, and re-marketing ads are performing.

4. Top Website Pages

There’s no need to wonder if your blog posts and website pages are resonating with your visitors.

In the “Behavior” menu in Google Analytics, select “All Pages”. From there, you can sort your website pages by views, time on site, and other metrics to determine which pages your audience interacts with the most.

Knowing which pages generate the most traffic or engagement from visitors will also help guide your marketing team’s content creation efforts moving forward.

5. Pages per Session

For a car dealership, it’s not worth having a website if your visitors don’t view more than one page. The Pages per Session metric shows you how engaged users are with your website.

If this number is low, there are several potential causes. Your website copy might not be guiding users as intended. Or, perhaps your website is not loading properly on certain devices. Take time to thoroughly investigate potential problems if your Pages per Session metric is lower than expected.

6. Bounce Rate

A similar, critical data point on Google Analytics is the Bounce Rate. A “bounce” is defined as a single pageview. Therefore, your website’s “Bounce Rate” is the percentage of all sessions which resulted in only a single pageview.

Unless your website is a single landing page, you want your Bounce Rate to be as small as possible. Reducing your Bounce Rate isn’t a simple fix, however. You’ll need to analyze your website pages and determine what is halting users from continuing through your website.

The solution could be as simple as replacing a broken link or as complex as an entire website redesign centered around your users’ needs.

7. Average Session Duration

This KPI is also referred to as “Average Time on Site”. It demonstrates how long users spend visiting your site.

As a car dealership, this metric tells you how long potential customers spend reading and engaging with information about your inventory, facilities, team members, and other content.

If your Average Session Duration metric is less than desirable, consider adding more content to help guide users through the sales process.

8. Organic vs. Paid Traffic

Car dealerships engaging in paid advertising on Google, Facebook, and other platforms will have to sort their traffic metrics in Google Analytics by Organic and Paid.

Organic traffic refers to individuals clicking on a free link from a search results page. The Paid Traffic metric shows you how many visitors came to your website via any paid advertising efforts, including PPC ads on search engines, social media ads, and other funded campaigns.

Comparing organic traffic to paid traffic will provide insight into the status of both your organic and paid marketing efforts. For instance, are paid ads bringing in more traffic, but not driving ROI? If so, consider amplifying your organic SEO strategy or improving your paid search strategy.

9. Acquisition

On the left-hand menu of Google Analytics, you’ll notice a section titled “Acquisition”. This is where you’ll find out exactly how users find your website. Common sources of traffic include:

  • Organic
  • Paid
  • Direct
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Referral

When you’re analyzing your marketing efforts, use the acquisition reports in Google Analytics to determine how much website traffic each promotional channel is generating.

For instance, if your social media efforts are generating less than stellar results, you can use the Acquisition report to determine how many users found your website via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social channels.

Using acquisition as a KPI allows you to have a full understanding of how customers find your website and gives you the ability to develop integrated marketing campaigns based on this information.

10. Behavior Flow

The Behavior Flow report shows car dealerships the exact paths users took to navigate their website.

For example, using the Behavior Flow report, you can see that a certain percentage of customers took the following hypothetical path:

Home Page > New Cars > New Lease Specials > Exit

Although customers will have different paths and experiences with your website, this visual chart provides vital insight on what’s working best and how customers are navigating your site.

Let’s say you notice many users exiting after visiting your “About” page. This indicates you need to alter the design or copy of that page to convince users to continue interacting with your website.

Alternatively, you can use the Behavior Flow report to determine if users are following the right paths on your website. If not, this indicates that your marketing team needs to adjust the layout of the website to help push customers down the right sales path.

11. Exit Pages

Lastly, it’s important to also understand how and where users are leaving your website. Are they leaving your website on specific inventory pages? Are they not making it past the homepage?

Look under the “Site Content” tab in the “Behavior” menu to find your site’s list of the top exit pages.

Understanding Google Analytics KPIs for Car Dealerships

Work with your car dealership’s marketing team to identify a handful of key performance indicators to review on Google Analytics. With this insight in your court, you’ll be ready to make informed decisions about your website design, marketing efforts, and overall business strategy.

If you need assistance understanding your Google Analytics reports, contact the J&L Marketing team.