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Do You Know How Many VDP Views A Month Occur On Your Own Website?

It is no secret that consumers research cars online and that there is a STRONG correlation between inventory Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) views and car sales for a dealer.  

The more times a dealer's VDP's are viewed by in-market consumers, the more likely the phone will ring, an email lead will be submitted, or a showroom up will be generated.  

It is very common to judge third party classified websites, like Cars.com and Autotrader.com,  by the number of VDP views they generate per month for their monthly fee.  

Let's turn the tables for a minute.  

Do you know how many VDP views your dealership's marketing budget is generating each month on your own website(s)?  The answer may shock you.

So, would you like to know how to quickly generate reports on VDP views for your website each month?  I will show you how to quickly setup "Advanced Segments" in Google Analytics to generate accurate, monthly VDP reports that can be used for marketing discussions.   This tutorial can also be modified to generate reports on Search Result Pages (SRP's). 

 

Google Analytics Reports on VDP Views For Most Website Platforms

Google Analytics will show dealers where their website traffic is coming from, during any period of time.  Here is the standard "All Traffic" dashboard on Analytics, which is found under the menu choice "Traffic Sources": 

 

Take notice at the top of this page, where the Advanced Segments menu choice is displayed.    For this tutorial, you will want to click on this menu choice to add a number of custom "segments" which will show you which visitors viewed Used Car VDP's and New Car VDP's.  In fact, you can create segments to look at any subset of your visitors based on a number of factors, not just which pages they viewed.

Using Advanced Segments

When you click on "Advanced Segments", you will see a list of Default Segments that you can click on to fine-tune your charts with subsets of all the traffic a website receives.  If a dealer creates Custom Segments, as shown in red, they can create custom graphs to show specific visitor behvaior.  

In the example below, I have created three Custom Segments to show visits to any Specials Page, any New Car VDP, and any Used Car VDP for Dealer.com websites.  I will also show you how to create custom Segments for other website platforms.

Creating Custom Segments

To create a Custom Segment, click on the button on the lower right corner, as shown above.  When creating a Custom Segment, you will need to know how your website platform "formats" VDP's.  Some website platforms are very easy, and some others are difficult.  See below for an example of how to create a Custom Segment for Dealer.com New Car VDP's:

 

You will notice that you NEVER put in the domain name.  All page segment rules start with a "/".  For Dealer.com, all New Car VDP's start with "/new/" which is shown in the RED BOX.  You name the segment as shown in the green box.  When completed, you click on the "Save Segment" button, shown in the blue box. 

Here are some "Segment Rules" for popular website platforms:

Vendor VDP Type Rule
Dealer.com New /new/
Dealer.com Used /used/
Cobalt New /VehicleDetails/new-
Cobalt Used /VehicleDetails/used-
Cobalt Certified /VehicleDetails/certified-
DealerFire New&Used /vehicle-details/
Dealer eProcess New /details/new
Dealer eProcess Used /details/used
Dominion Dealer Solutions New /new/
Dominion Dealer Solutions Used /used/
DrivingForce New /new/details/
DrivingForce Used /used/details/

If your website vendor uses local "keywords" in the VDP URL, like KPA and VinSolutions, you may need to create rules based on your special local URL designs.  

 

See Your Custom Segments in Action

Once you click on your Advanced Segments, and activate your Custom Segments you can get get great insights on how your MARKETING BUDGET is creating VDP views on your own website, as shown below.  The example shows that I activated and applied the New Car and Used Car VDP rules on the traffic in the last 30 days.

Are you asking: WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT VDP VIEWS?  

 

Well, to start, you can ask yourself how efficient is your current marketing budget that directs traffic to your website, in generating VDP views.    How does YOUR cost per VDP compare to what other partners can generate?  Mmmmmm....

Creating One Segment For All VDP Views

You can use the "Matching Expression" feature, shown in the blue box below to find all VDP's using one segment statement.  The key is to use the "pipe" symbol (the vertical bar) which functions as an "OR" statement.  The matching phrase I used in the red box  contained three matches separated with a pipe symbol:

used-inventory|certified-inventory|/new/

which will find all new,used, and certified VDP's on a Dealer.com website.  Your own website platform may have different syntax but it is easy to decode in most cases. 

VDP Views By Traffic Source

 

As you scroll down this report, you can also see how each traffic source varies in its "interest" and engagement with VDP's, as shown below:

 

Getting Your Analytics Strategies For 2013

 

If you like this topic of data analysis and Google Analytics, I encourage you to come out to the 2013 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC).  

 

Download a copy of the color brochure as A PDF.

 

I will be conducting a number of workshops showing dealers how to measure their marketing efforts using Google Analytics.   There are a number of profound "ideas" that can be extracted from better knowledge of how to setup Google Analytics for car dealers. 

 

I will also be sharing ground-breaking research on the influence that third party classified websites have on dealership website traffic.  

If you want to leverage a special "ISM" discount for DMSC, call Carrie Hemphill at 908-601-6475 while tickets are available.  Only 250 dealership employees will have access to DMSC this year.

 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on Google Analytics, so please share it on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

 

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting

732.672.2356

 

 

 

Views: 323

Tags: advertising, cars, inventory, marketing, vdp, vehicle detail views

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Join Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Comment by Cathy Nesbit on November 16, 2012 at 12:53pm

Thank you :)

Comment by Michael Cirillo on November 16, 2012 at 11:15am

Great article Brian. Thanks for taking the time to post it. Data is such a crucial element to making profitable marketing decisions!

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