3 Early Warning Signs of Falling Website Traffic

Without traffic, your website means nothing. To use an old metaphor, you’ll be shouting into an empty room.

Consequently, maintaining a strong level of relevant traffic to your dealer website is of vital importance to your digital marketing strategy. In an ideal world, you want to have a constant stream of potential car buyers landing on relevant pages of your website.

Firstly, how do you track your automotive website traffic?

If you are a Bluesky Interactive customer, you will have all of your website traffic tracked via Google Analytics, which is a transparent industry standard. If you have your website elsewhere you may have an alternative tracking system, but we would still advise adding Analytics to your website too.

It’s simple to add – simply ask your web provider to put the Universal Analytics code onto every page of your website. Google Analytics will instruct you as to where it should go.

Once you are tracking, how can you tell if website traffic is falling?

There are a few ways you can get an “early warning” of your website traffic falling. These range from alerts on traffic levels through to a few “concerns” that could suggest you will soon see website traffic start to fall off.

1. Set up traffic alerts in Analytics.

If you have the appropriate access to your analytics, you can set up alerts to tell you if traffic starts dropping.

If you don’t have access, ask your web agency to set this up for you.

Navigate to the admin section of Analytics, and under the “View” column you will see a section for Personal Tools & Assets. One of these is called Customer Alerts. This is where you can create an alert if traffic drops by a certain percentage.

For example, we’d advise setting up an alert for when sessions “% decreases more than” 5% or 10%. Set this to a period of a week or a month and you will receive an email (or a text) when traffic starts falling.

2. Are your visitors unengaged?

How well a user interacts with your website is now intrinsically connected with how well your website performs on search engines.

This means that if your visitors seem to be unengaged – such as leaving the site quickly, or only looking at pages for a short period of time – then you could start to rank worse in Google or Bing. The reason? Search Engines are trying to rank the best sites, not just the most powerful, so the sites visitors seem to prefer will be seen as the best choices.

To tell if your visitors are unengaged, look at a few key metrics. At abasic level, if the time people are spending on the site starts dropping, they visit less pages or the bounce rate starts climbing (all of which are stats you can see in the “Audience Overview” section of Analytics) then you may have a problem.

To remedy the problem, you’ll need to identify if anything has changed. Maybe you have made a form longer or more difficult to complete, have edited a page to make it less engaging, or haven’t thought about how mobile visitors see your site.

To improve these stats, try to engage people more. We find exciting content, interesting videos and clean, understandable layouts are three of the key areas.

3. You don’t feel confident of your digital marketing plan, or it’s changed dramatically without much strategic thought.

An un-thought-through change to your marketing strategy can have a big impact on website traffic, especially if decisions are being taken at departmental level without thinking of the bigger picture.

Common examples we encounter include cutting AdWords or Paid Search budgets, which are often one of the key traffic generators for a dealer website.

Another is a change in Autotrader (or another aggregate site) strategy, or the removal of referral links from 3rd party websites that could have been sending lots of visitors through to your website.

We also see that tweaks and changes to email strategy without assessing the consequences can have potentially catastrophic effects on website traffic.

Our advice? Make sure that decisions are taken strategically, and having fully considered their currently traffic levels – as well as how well that traffic converts into test drives or car sales. This is an overarching point – to think of the whole picture.

Still not sure why your traffic has dropped off? Why not speak to our eMarketing team via the form below to ask for help?

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