How Dealers Can Uncover 3 Surprising Truths Hidden By Plug-And-Play Google Analytics Dashboards
You trust your Google Analytics dashboard to give you a clear, accurate view of what is happening on your car dealership’s website. For most metrics, that trust is well-founded. But in some cases, Google Analytics can lead you astray. Here are three surprising truths hidden by your plug-and-play Google Analytics dashboard.
Hidden Truth #1: Bounces Need to Be Redefined
In Google Analytics, a bounce is defined as any time a user visits one page of your website but does not go on to another page on your website. However, let’s say a person lands directly on a vehicle detail page (VDP) of your site. They look at the photos, watch a video, scroll up and down the page, spend 1:30 on the page, and finally click on a financing link that goes to a third-party website. With that last action, the person leaves your site after having visited only one page.
To Google Analytics, that person represents a bounce. But actually, that person is a qualified shopper. That’s a very serious disconnect, and is a way Google Analytics can give you faulty information, unless you redefine what a bounce is on your site.
Hidden Truth #2: People Are Spending More Time Than You Think
Time on site within Google Analytics is another flawed metric. Google measures time on site based upon the time people spend between pages of your website. So if a person spends 10 seconds on your home page and then jumps to a VDP page, Google tracks those 10 seconds.
But what if the person spends 2 minutes looking at the VDP page, then clicks on the CARFAX report for that car … taking them off your website? The answer: Google pays no attention to those 2 minutes, because it only tracks time spent between page of your own website. Time on site will show 10 seconds, not 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Google Analytics always records the time on the last page a user visits on the site as 0:00.
Based on Google Analytics, you might be thinking that people are spending mere seconds on your site when, in fact, they are engaging deeply with your VDP pages!
Hidden Truth #3: More Pages Per Session May Not Be Better
The final hidden truth relates to the pages per session metric. There’s no problem with how Google measures data for this metric; the problem is how to interpret the results.
Many dealers want to see a lot of pages per session. But a high pages per session metric might be telling you that people don’t know how to find what they want on your site. It might be indicating that you have a lot of people casually browsing, rather than qualified buyers purposefully shopping.
Consider the normal website progression: a visitor lands on your home page, does a search for a car that puts them on a results page, then clicks on a VDP. That’s just three pages, and that may be all you need to make a sale.
Making Google Analytics Work for Your Dealership
The good news is that you can take action to optimize the data you receive from Google Analytics. The best thing to do is add event tracking and manage it with Google Tag Manager. Event tracking will allow you to redefine what constitutes a bounce, get an accurate view of time on site, and determine how the pages in each session are being used. By customizing your Google Analytic metrics, you can gain insight to sell more cars!