How do you know your SEO, GMB, and SEM efforts are paying off? How many customers can follow the breadcrumb trail to your dealership? Analytics and tracking are vital to be able to make sense of your campaigns, budget, and sales/marketing efforts. Think of it as the mortar that binds the building blocks of your marketing strategy. With this data at your fingertips, you can assess whether you’re getting an ROI or if you need to make adjustments. The problem is, there is often a flood of data with any analytics and measurement tool, and trying to find actionable items can be overwhelming. In this article, we will discuss how to find the relevant information that will help you make a success of your campaigns.
An Analytical Match Made in Heaven
Whether you use Google Analytics or another measurement tool, it’s important to set-up clear goals. GTM, Google Tag Manager, is an often underutilized free system that allows you to add snippets of code to your website to help push data to Google Analytics. (If you are confused about the difference between Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager you’re not alone. This article does a good job of explaining it.) It will work behind the scenes to provide you with up-to-date information. This is where SEO and SEM come in. Unless you are paying SEM on a higher level and also providing SEO on a local level you will completely miss some potential leads. Tracking both and setting up goals will help you get accurate reports and see clearly how your current strategy is performing.
If you need to set up Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, or connect your Google Ads account then watch this video for a straight-forward set-up guide.
Deciphering the Data
It can be hard to pick out the actionable insights while looking at the text/number heavy interface of Google Analytics. Luckily we can use another tool to build a live customized report with only the information you want to see. And trust us, it’ll be much easier on the eyes.
To get started, log in to your Google Analytics account and click on the all accounts drop-down menu at the top.
Then click on the icon that looks like three offset dashes and click on "Get Started". This will take you to the Google Data Studio home page. Google Data Studio allows you to create and customize beautiful dashboards that update with live information. To create a report from scratch click the Create button. Or you can start with a template and modify it to suit your needs. When creating a new report you will be asked to add data to the report. Connect it to your Analytics account by selecting which account, property, and view you would like to pull data from. Then click add to report.
For each element you choose to add to the report, you will be able to customize the dimensions and metrics that you wish to track. For example, if I add a chart, I can choose to see how many new users there are per page or change these data points to reflect something completely different depending on my goals.
Click on this link to view the full sample report.
Every company has different goals and campaigns which makes building a report a unique process. Below are some key metrics that may be helpful to keep in mind when building your reports.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – The amount it costs to generate each new lead. This metric will help determine the amount of acquiring new leads. CPA= $ campaign/ number of leads gained. These are Benchmarks: (i.e: forms, phone calls, etc.)
Conversion Rates By Channel – A percentage of users who followed the breadcrumbs to an action (i.e: submit a form, view a VDP, etc.). Track conversion rates separately for paid, organic, and social, so you can see which is a more successful channel and budget accordingly.
Conversion Rates by Device – This is less about proving that mobile is doing more work for you and more about making sure that you’re not investing money unnecessarily in non-mobile marketing.
Customer Lifetime Value –This estimates how much each customer is spending with your dealership (i.e a happy customer). Once a customer purchases a vehicle, there are often years of dealer maintenance services provided that will increase a customer’s lifetime value. Optimize marketing investments by focusing on customers with the highest CLVs. Customers that spend more money upfront but never come back will help but shouldn’t be the focus of marketing budgets.
Branded Search Lift – What increase in searches that include your dealership’s name should be measured? Each month is your branding positively impacted by your digital marketing efforts on customer searches? If your dealership is searched more frequently, it’s a powerful indication that your digital marketing efforts are producing positive results and driving traffic to your site and your store.
Don’t forget to use sales as a metric, too. Growth rates, vehicles sold during a digital marketing campaign compared to previous campaigns. This metric isn’t exactly correlated with digital investment because it blurs the lines between your digital strategy and in-store sales process. A higher ratio of internet leads relative to sales (low closing ratio) might indicate a breakdown in your sales process. On the other hand, a low number of internet leads and a high closing ratio might indicate issues with your digital strategy.
By comparing these KPIs year over year, you will determine how well your marketing efforts work across channels and can be prepared to deal with how uncontrollable elements like weather, OEM/Incentives, or pandemics affect your business from the outside.
TIP: Share your reports with people in your organization easily with the Share button. Edit whether you want someone to be able to view the report or help with editing it. Google also has a free course if you would like a more comprehensive overview of how to use Google Data Studio.
If your strategy is not holding up then shift to what works. Some results are not as easily trackable. Try taking a look at the results in your inventory. Are you seeing a spike in Tacomas? Then you know that campaign is working. Or are you getting a bunch of leads on one specific vehicle? These leads could have been better directed to a variety of inventory to increase the chance of a purchase. Or maybe this is a good idea of how many people in the area are willing to buy that brand if you purchased more. What are people telling you they want to buy?
TIP: Google has made several recent improvements to Google Analytics to help you automatically predict actions that a user might take. The new metric, called churn probability, helps identify valuable customers you should re-engage to avoid losing their business. Do not wait to improve your measurement system, now is the time!
Picking the best tool and person for the job
It’s important to pick the best tools to help you accomplish all of these tasks. You could technically use a screwdriver to “hammer” in a nail, but you will end up wasting a lot of effort. The same applies to making sure you are using the right software and working with the right people to help you make a success of your SEM and SEO strategies. It can seem expensive to hire an account manager and provide tracking software, but it will pay for itself in the long run and save you many frustrating hours. We recommend Vistadash. "Stop leaving money on the table. Find out how you can finally measure engagement, save time & money, and finally hold your vendors accountable with Vistadash."
TIP: If you are looking for a qualified consultant to provide you with DIY tools that will help you manage digital marketing, google analytics, and google data studio we recommend Smart Target.
In the end, all of the key elements we’ve talked about over this article series work together to build a strong marketing strategy across several digital channels. Let your SEO, SEM, and GMB profile work for you while you collect relevant data that will inform your future campaigns. The next article will discuss a hidden opportunity that can help your digital marketing strategy.