Website statistics – what murky waters, right? You could be forgiven to wanting to avoid all the nonsensical words and complicated stats – but we believe that it’s worth taking the time to understand your website performance stats. In fact, we think it’s vital to having a successful website.
Regardless of who actually produces your dealer website, we would advocate having Google Analytics on your dealer website. It doesn’t matter whether you have access to a dedicated data platform – Analytics is a free benchmark that not only is unbiased and consistent, but which can be taken with you if you choose to change supplier at any future date.
Of course, your automotive digital agency should be fluent in Google Analytics, which can help you to understand the performance and figures – and perhaps most importantly, how those figures interact. My favourite piece of advice when training anyone on GA is to “never take a statistic in isolation” – there is no “right and wrong”, and context can influence EVERYTHING.
We’ll bring statistics packs to your meetings and can provide monthly, weekly or quarterly reports and dashboards - but even with our Client Services team being on your side to help you understand these figures as much as possible, there are some areas you’re going to need a bit of basic knowledge on.
Here are the areas we think are vital, and what they mean in the automotive marketplace:
“Overview” website statistics and what they mean to car dealers
When you log into Analytics, the first place most people navigate to is the Audience Overview section. This contains a lot of the “at a glance” stats that can tell you performance over time.
Firstly, also compare your stats - and bearing in mind the seasonality of car dealer retail in the UK, we advise comparing year on year, rather than month on month, if the data is available. Here are what these key stats mean:
This is the number of visits to a site. If I visited today, then in a week, that would count as two sessions.
This is where it gets more “unique” – I might have visited twice, but I’ll only count as one user.
This is the total views of all the pages on your website. To continue the example above, if I look at three pages on your site one week, I will count as one user with three page views.
Pages/Session and Avg. Session Duration
These two stats are related, and a perfect example of context. One the one hand, having visitors look at lots of pages and stay on your site for ages could be consider positive – they are engaged and aren’t just leaving. However, if they stay on too long that suggests you site might be overly confusing. Other stats are the only way to work out which it is!
I’m going to say something controversial here – ignore your overall site bounce rate. Bounce rate refers to when someone visits your website and leaves without navigating to any other pages. A high bounce rate could be a good thing on a PPC landing page – maybe they’ve arrived, taken the phone number and left. However, it could be really bad on the homepage if loads of visitors are failing to navigate further into your website. No matter the temptation, this is why it’s vital to only look at bounce rate at a page level, rather than as an average.
Conversion statistics – who is enquiring?
Arguably one of the most important areas of Google Analytics for any lead-driven motor trader will be the section on how many enquiries the website is generating.
Subject to the set-up of your website, this section (under “Conversions” in the left hand navigation) depends on having goals added in the admin section that represent enquiries. Most commonly, the goals are someone visiting a thank you page on your website (usually completing a form of some kind to get there), or someone completing a live chat or pressing a particular button (tracked via the suppliers own Analytics integration (ideally!) or something called event tracing. Your account manager will be able to help you set this up!
Most commonly, however, you won’t see phone call figures in this section – meaning you are likely only getting a picture of a 5th of your overall website enquiries. Phone calls can be added (suppliers such as Mediahawk Vision or ResponseTap both integrate into Google analytics), but unfortunately most dealers don’t opt for this product. It’s a shame, because think how much more data you could have!
A few key notes when looking at goals –
Once goals are set up correctly, you can see most areas of google the goals generated, usually via a drop down at the top of the page or a column to the right. Want to know leads generated by organic visitors? No problem. Social? Equally easy.
Even Google is guilty of bad maths. We recommend that you work out the conversion rate of your site yourself by taking the total number of conversions, dividing it by the number of users, and then multiplying by 100. The % figure that google give as their “conversion rate” is actually the average of all your different conversions. Like I said, very bad maths!
That’s probably enough for today – we’ll endeavour to share some more statistical insights and explain Google Analytics further in another blog. Hopefully you’d found something useful here - but if you’re still confused, get in touch and we’ll do our best to explain!