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A Lack of Analytics Integration in the Automotive Industry

[Originally a blog comment response to JD Rucker's article: The Three Numbers to Watch on Facebook Posts - my comment became too long so I turned it into an industry Question piece.]

The automotive industry is lacking the tools it needs to achieve excellence in data management and insights to better business decisions in the digital marketplace.

This post started as I respectfully disagree with Dennis Yu's feedback on Google Analytics (or other analytics data services) not being able to properly track dealership metrics and instead I would like to put the responsibility back on the automotive industry's slow adoption to the functionality GA can provide any business.

When vendors in the automotive industry make an effort to integrate as much data as they can with GA, the experience changes, data becomes reality. GA goal tracking and Multi-channel sales funnels are heavily under utilized by most website, phone, chat, coupon, incentive, crm, dms or video provider in the automotive industry. They've become better over the last 3 years, but not enough to stop the frustration a dealership employee has when looking at Analytics and going "so did this sell me more cars?".

Getting Analytics Right, its not that hard to do

Goal tracking is my biggest automotive industry peeve. Thank you page tracking, either on-site or off-site from a finance or service form provider, many times is not set up in GA. This has to stop, no matter the service the vendor provides, they should be able to integrate your Google Analytics code as an Event or Page View. "High Funnel" and "Low Funnel" tracking doesn't track a sale, at best it tracks "interest"... or as I believe the automotive industry calls it, tire kickers.

There are now dynamic phone tracking vendors that get down to the keyword/referral source level to tell you where calls are coming from, and fire off virtual page views when they're called. Unfortunately, the majority of dealers are not demanding this level of technology integrations from all vendors and therefore receive 10 or 15 different reports, focused on different metrics.

CRM & DMS data buy in needs to happen

And finally CRM or DMS integration. There are few providers in the industry that have made the proper strides in big data tracking, they're out there, but I still don't see any Ecommmerce style integration with Google Analytics. Even if dealers do set up Goals, I almost never see a $$$ value put in to properly track ROI. Guys, most of you know how much a lead is worth to you, when a form is submitted, use that value in Analytics to your benefit.

It is happening in many industries outside of the automotive vertical, the team and I attend non-auto conferences yearly to make sure we're ahead of the automotive curve. While dealers continue to be content with a mediocre level of integration, they'll continue to be frustrated by this lack of actionable data.

What is your feedback? Do dealers ask for this? This forum may be a more technically-minded group but I'm still looking forward to your opinions.

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Comment by Dennis Yu on November 6, 2013 at 2:03am

Matthew-- thanks. Wildfire has some decent analytics especially with tying in Google Analytics. Also very nice that Google Tag Manager is integrated.

Doesn't solve the attribution issue that has hampered us the last few years on Facebook, however.

Comment by Matthew O'Such on November 5, 2013 at 9:31am

Dennis, we've actually been able to tie in Google Analytics and Facebook metrics with our SocialFire services for dealers (using Google Wildfire)! The metrics of the campaigns actually show up in GA!

Comment by Dennis Yu on November 5, 2013 at 9:24am

Matthew-- respectful disagreement is a good thing!

We've not been able to tie Facebook-reported conversion pixels and general engagement data to Google's funnel conversions, social, or attribution.  This is for hundreds of e-commerce sites. And other specialists in social analytics see the same.

Would love to hear about how you do it!

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