The Internet functions like a taxi service for car shoppers; it takes them from point A to point B along their shopping journey. Some consumers take the Google AdWords taxi while others like the Google My Business taxi. Visual learners often take the YouTube taxi while others prefer the social media taxi. Brand loyalists might begin with the OEM taxi and migrate to the Autotrader.com or Cars.com taxi.

Regardless which combination of taxi services consumers use along their journey, eventually they will contact a dealership. This contact should trigger another set of taxi services which include the CRM taxi and the retargeting taxi. With so many taxi paths to the dealership, who is keeping track of which taxi services are providing the most qualified customers who purchase from the dealership?

Tagging Taxi Traffic

For the “taxi traffic” that auto dealers control, I strongly suggest that dealers invest in proper labeling strategies. To accomplish this, dealers need to label links that drive clicks to the dealership’s website. The Google URL Builder is a required discipline to create these labels.

A dealership should never send traffic to their website using “naked” links

A naked link does not have tracking tags (aka labels). For example, dealers using CRM templates to send emails to their prspects and customers. In these emails are links to their special pages, service coupons, or new inventory. These links should be labeled to identify the source of the click as CRM emails and which specific message generated the click.

Let me be more specific: a dealership sends an initial “lead response” email that includes a link to new inventory. The dealer may be tempted to include a naked link to their new inventory SRP, that would look like this:

http://www.rydellchev.com/searchnew.aspx

However, the correct tag would be to place the Source as CRM, the Medium as Email, and the Campaign as Initial-Lead-Response. That URL would look like this:

http://www.rydellchev.com/searchnew.aspx?utm_source=crm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=initial-lead-response  

To build this tagged URL, you use the simple URL Builder form as shown below:

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 7.58.15 AM

What Taxi Services Should You Be Tagging?

Here is a list of traffic sources that should be labeled so that you can see which traffic is generating the highest quality results:

  • – Links in CRM email templates
  • – Links used in blog posts
  • – Links used in social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • – Links used in YouTube description text
  • – Links used in your newsletter campaigns
  • – Links used in conquest email campaigns

 

When you can hyperlink text, like the links in this article, you can use the tagged URL because it is not visible to readers. However, when you have to place an open link in text, like in YouTube video descriptions, Facebook, or Twitter, I would suggest that you convert the long tracking URL into a bitly.com link. For example, the tracking link for new inventory converts to this shorter version: http://bit.ly/1368LOd 

So if a Chevy dealer posts a video on YouTube called “2015 Ford F150 vs Chevy Silverado Comparison,” they should make the Google URL Builder Campaign label “f150-vs-silverado-video” and create a tagged URL link, in the video description box, back to their website that drives traffic to an SRP of in-stock Silverado inventory. For YouTube description blocks, remember to shorten the link using bitly.com, so the link would look like this: http://bit.ly/1znQRCt.

The Benefits of Tracking Your Taxi Services

The benefits of URL tagging become very clear when auto dealers look at their referral traffic in Google Analytics or in ROI-BOT. Dealers can instantly inspect the quality of shopper traffic for their new and used car campaigns.

As shown in the ROI-BOT example below, you can see which taxi services (referral sources) are driving the most Search Results Pages (SRP) and viewing the most Vehicle Detail Pages (VDP).

referral-performance

You can see which taxi services (Campaigns) are triggering the most goals (leads, phone calls, or other valuable actions). The benefits become even clearer when auto dealers can start seeing which email templates are generating the most clicks and conversions, something most dealers DO NOT know.

campaign-performance

Also, ROI-BOT now has the ability to track referral traffic from your Google My Business Listing. In the example above, the campaign names were masked to anonymize the data. The dealership’s campaign labels would be seen on each line to clearly associate traffic with the specific message and media type.

ROI-BOT has recently added a number of referral and organic traffic widgets to give dealers insights into the ROI of their online marketing investments. Auto dealers who are looking to understand how consumers are using the Internet to find their dealership and the vehicles that are for sale must start using URL tagging. With tagging in place, the ROI discussion becomes much clearer.

If you have not had the opportunity to see the new widgets inside of the ROI-BOT dashboard for organic, referral, and paid traffic, schedule a demo today.

Advanced Marketing Insights

Join me and other automotive marketing professionals on April 12-14th in the Napa Valley at the 2015 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) in the Napa Valley. Information on this conference can be found by visiting: http://www.DigitalMarketingStrategies.org.

The event will be limited to 100 dealerships, so act quickly to attend.

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