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I am a vocal advocate for leveraging Google Analytics to guide a dealership's online marketing strategy. Despite my pleas, a small percentage of dealer operators have a consistent process for analyzing Google Analytics data every month to spot trends or to prioritize marketing investments.
So I thought that I would write a few articles that utilize Google Analytics data charts to show hungry automotive marketing professionals and dealer operators how to leverage this great tool.
It may seen like a silly opening question but I am very serious about your answer. Answers will vary but until you look at Google Analytics, how would you know for sure? For all dealers in the USA, the primary purpose of their website is to provide consumers access to their inventory.
In fact the new and used car inventory pages and search tools make up the MAJORITY of all website page views. You can see this in the CONTENT section of Google Analytics. Here is the data for a Ford dealer:
Since this is the case, you could easily make the case for any investments that could INCREASE the engagement on inventory and Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP). Since this report only shows the top 10 pages, you can expand the results to see the top 500 pages. When you expand the report you will see that over 80% of all page views, aside from the home page, are inventory related.
There are a number of companies that provide "plug-ins" to most popular website platforms that have been shown to increase calls, leads, and showroom traffic. If you are not experimenting with such tools, or design options from your website company, you are missing a large opportunity.
Make a point to invest in making your website more "shoppable" and engaging this coming month. The data clearly shows where the consumer "eyeballs" are staying so make the experience the best it can be.
The specific ranking of these pages will change based on the homepage design and the priorities of the dealership, but most stores will find a similar top 10 list.
A dealer that has 20% of their home page real estate dedicated to increasing Fixed Ops revenue will see their service page visits much higher as a percentage of overall visits.
By using Google Analytics to create your Top 10 Non-Inventory Page report, it makes it easy to hold your in-store merchandising team and advertising partners accountable for making these pages "pop" when consumers visit them.
For this dealer, these top 10 pages represented 2,154 page views. So, do you think that reviewing the top ten website pages each month as part of a marketing meeting or managers meeting makes sense?
So you can understand my frustration when I do an assessment of a dealership website and find the specials pages empty! More common is a very boring "Directions" page and "About Us" page, where if a video was placed on the page engagement would increase.
So take a few minutes this month to create your Top 10 list and get your team together. Brainstorm on how you can make these pages connect and convert better with local consumers.
Dealers spend tens of thousands of dollars a month to drive traffic to their website yet most could not pull out a marketing plan that identified their top ten website pages and how they are testing the on-page conversion.
Isn't it time that your dealership take merchandising its website more seriously? And for the dealers that are doing what I am recommending, Bravo! Share some insights on the changes you have made to increase engagement.
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I hope to see everyone this year at the 2013 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference, February 5-7th just two days prior to the 2013 NADA Convention in Orlando. Get access to over 30 of the best strategies for car dealers to increase success in 2013.
Brian Pasch, CEO
P.S. I am posting this article from Montalcino Italy outside of my favorite restaurant and wine shop at 9:34 pm at night. Here is my working setup with Carrie Hemphill at my side. Carrie on the phone (yellow arrow) and my computer (red arrow) connected to the wine shops Internet.