The rate of automotive technology is changing at a rapid rate, forever changing how business is conducted. With self-driving vehicles, changing ownerships, and heightened customer expectations, the automotive industry is on the brink of a technological revolution. As the automobile is transformed by technologies, so too are everything from artificial intelligence to data analysis. The relationship between automakers and software providers also continues to evolve.
The automotive industry continues to face a varying set of challenges, For those with the right ambition, it represents opportunities to differentiate and stand out from your competitors. One area that has the opportunity to deliver significant competitive advantage is analytics.
Analytics allows for various sets of data to be merged into visually appealing, easy to follow reporting. The ability to harness this data is enabling masses of data to be used to form customer demographic segments and individualized offers and incentives to boost sales and improve customer retention. Applying statistical models to a mass of data helps us identify the impact of marketing investments
Analytics presents a significant opportunity for automotive dealers to use quantitative techniques to support the planning of interventions across the customer lifecycle, including:
- Understanding the potential value of different customer segments
- Using that knowledge to strategically target new customers while simultaneously retaining existing customers.
- Improving customer experience to drive customer retention
Bake More Pies’ automotive team will set up your dealership with its own Google Analytics. This is an important tool that provides us with a wealth of insightful marketing information. With this Google Analytics account, you’ll have access to 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 websites
- How much time users spent on your site
- The percentage of visitors to your site on mobile and desktop
- Which pages visitors enter and exit on
- The duration of time spent on each page on your site
This is only the tip of the iceberg of data that Google Analytics offers to explore. It is not an optional tool. It’s an absolute necessity for automotive dealers.
Google Analytics Terminology To Know
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.
Audience Data: 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.
New vs. Returning Users: 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 remarketing ads are performing.
Top Website Pages: 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.
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.
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 that 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Social media
- Email marketing
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.
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.
Exit Pages: 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.
Bake More Pies’ automotive team provides you with a variety of easy to read reports. These reports track and show the performance and ROI of each ad we run. These reports are generated utilizing your data, from here, they are added to our dashboarding system. Our dashboarding system provides beautiful visualizations of your data which makes it easy to understand and follow. We break up our reports into 3 different categories for easier access:
1. Group Aggregate & Dealer
- Understanding Traffic by Source
- Yearly and Monthly Trends
- Advertising Campaign Detail
- Geographic Reach Breakdown
- Make / Model
- Interactive New and Used VDP Reports
- Conquest Performance
2. Demand Reports
- Most Popular by Source
- Shopping by Time of Day
3. AI Call Tracking
- Calls by Every Source
- Classifying & Sentiment
With these real-time reports, we are able to gain insight into the behaviors of your customers. The reports show us a breakdown of which vehicles customers spend the most time on-site looking at, how many unique users are looking at a particular vehicle, and the percent of customers who leave on this page. Using this information, we can mold your ads to showcase these more popular vehicles for more effective and precise targeting.
The site traffic reports give us a full breakdown of your total web traffic and where it comes from. From here, we can see which methods of advertising are most effective at bringing in unique visitors to your site. With this data, we tailor our advertising approach to ensure the highest level of engagement possible.