By Brian Pasch, CEO of PCG Consulting

vdpviewsLately I have been writing about the importance of tracking Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) views on a dealership website and on third party classified websites.  Research from Autotrader.com, Cobalt/ADP, and Dataium all have shown a direct correlation to VDP views and car sales. In regards to dealership websites, one has to look into Google Analytics to see true VDP trends, for new and used cars.

There are some limitation with Google Analytics, especially in the number of “pages” it reports associated with VDP views.  Unless you know how to setup custom reports in Google Analytics, or use an executive dashboard tool like ROI-BOT™, you can get false information on the number of VDP views per customer session.  The beauty of ROI-BOT™ is that it simplifies the tracking, charting, and alerts associated with VDP trends.

Dealer.com Implements Google Analytics Events

Dealer.com is one of the few companies in the automotive space that have fully implemented Google Analytics “events” to track specific actions on their website platforms.  The use of “events” allows for a cleaner tracking of specific website behavior.  To track VDP view trends on a Dealer.com website, you want to locate the Analytics event called “inventory”.  Dealer.com made it very easy to give their customer clean data for inventory page views!

 

Google Analytics Events on Dealer.com Websites

In the example shown above for a 30 day time period, the “inventory” event was triggered 8,234 times.  Of course you will want to see the VDP trends over a longer period of time, and reduce the plotting period to weekly data points.

Dealer.com VDP Trends

In the example above, I plotted “inventory” events from September 1st and drew a red line at the 1,500 VDP views a week mark.  As you can see, this dealer is bouncing off the 1,500 VDP views  line and has not created a sustainable trend of higher VDP views.  I see opportunity!

At first glance, this dealer is not increasing the efficiency of the marketing dollars to sell more cars.  Once this dealer starts focusing on VDP trends, they can start shifting dollars to make this trend average 2,000 – 2,500 VDP views a week!  That would be new sales records for sure.

You can drill down into the “inventory” event feature to see which specific VDP’s are getting the most action, as shown below:

VIN Specific VDP Trends on Dealer.com Websites

The report shows that 8,234 VDP’s were viewed in this time period, and the top vehicle that had the most views was a 2013 Honda CR-V.  The nice thing about the Dealer.com platform, is that by using event triggers, the data is much cleaner than trying to decode VDP views from the actual VDP URL pattern.

So if you are a Dealer.com customer rejoice in the news that your website activity is well documented and very transparent to custom reports and tools like ROI-BOT™.

Measure Google Adwords Campaigns Designed To Sell Cars

Make sure you use these “VDP events” to look at the effectiveness of your paid search campaigns designed to sell cars.  You should see how well your paid search campaigns are generating VDP views.  It’s easy now that you know what to look for!

For example, take a look at your used cars campaigns and see how many Adwords “clicks” actually visited a VDP.  Look at the display campaigns designed to sell new or used cars and see how many clicks looked at VDP’s.  Doesn’t that make complete sense if more VDP’s will result in more car sales?

Obviously, branding campaigns may not be designed to generate VDP views, but campaigns designed to sell cars should be VDP factories.

See You At The Automotive Boot Camp

If you enjoyed this example of using Google Analytics to better measure the effectiveness of your website and marketing dollars, join me at the 4th Annual Automotive Boot Camp in Philadelphia, May 14-16th.  You can register online while space is open:  http://www.automotivebootcamp.com or by calling Carrie Hemphill at 908-601-6475.

I’ll be conducting workshops on Google Analytics at Boot Camp. You can also get a private demo of ROI-BOT™ and see how this software will simplify data reporting and strategy for your dealership.