Whenever we start working with a new client, the first thing we do is check their website tracking and in 100% of cases so far we improve the clients tracking. Following a blog on Tracking Marketing Spend: Do You Know Your Returns?, the team at Key Principles decided to complete some original research to see what sort of tracking had been implemented on car dealer websites in the UK. Key Principles looked at the tracking of a random sample of 650 car dealership websites. The Research Report has just been published and is available now from Key Principles.

The main findings suggest that improvements can be made. The good news is that 74% of car dealer website do have Google Analytics implemented, but poor implementation means that only 36% are correctly implemented and only 2% have a good implementation of Google Tag Manager.

A summary of the results are provided in the chart below.

Of course without access to the individual Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics accounts, it is impossible to know if there is any event or goal tracking implemented. Adding the code to the website is the first step in the process; you also need to decide what actions you want to track and set up the necessary tags, triggers, events and goals.

Key Principles has found that many businesses in the UK, not just in the car dealership sector, but probably across most sectors, set up Google Analytics and believe that their tracking is sorted. They most likely don’t implement the second stage; they don’t have set up ‘Goals’ to identify when enquiries (conversions) happen, what their source is or what type of enquiry they received, and so they are simply tracking page views and source of page views which provides very limited information. And yet many of these businesses are spending money with Google Ads, Facebook and others on pay per click advertising without any idea whether it is working to generate leads for their business or not. Quite bizarre!

Why does any of this matter? The truth is there is no reason to not know what is happening on your website; there’s no reason not to know which marketing activities are generating enquiries and which are not. However, you do need to have appropriate tracking on your website and then appropriate reporting.

How does this affect you? With the right tracking, you can make informed decisions about where you spend your time and money. The free tools available from Google to enable comprehensive tracking are there for you to use so you can make better business decisions. The costs to implement this tracking with a tracking expert are low compared to the value you’ll get from knowing where your enquiries are coming from and what is actually working for you.

The importance of the car dealer website to the car dealership cannot be underestimated. There is no doubt car dealer websites are being invested in and much is being done to improve visitor experience. However tracking seems to be behind the times and generally not optimal in implementation.

Jackie Key, MD at Key Principles said, “Based on the research, it is recommended that car dealers review their website tracking and make improvements. It is only by having thorough, effective tracking on your website that you can truly understand what is happening, to identify what is working and what isn’t, and to then make informed decisions about where you spend not just your marketing budget, but your time as you move forward.”

We know there are a plethora of opportunities for marketing activity across various channels. Your target audience are on numerous platforms as discussed in our blog, Car Dealers: Digital Marketing Priorities To Boost Your Sales. However, it is only with comprehensive tracking and reporting that dealer principals, MDs and marketing personnel within car dealerships will be able to identify what is working and what isn’t, and then prioritise their budgets, time and activities accordingly.

What do you need to do? There really is no excuse not to have good tracking on your website and comprehensive reporting. You can make better business decisions with quality data that helps drive your business forward in the right direction. Contact Key Principles for an un-biased assessment of your tracking, simply call us on 0115 880 0211 or email hello@keyprinciples.co.uk.

For a copy of the Car Dealership Websites Tracking Analysis 2018 Research Report please visit https://www.keyprinciples.co.uk/car-dealerships-tracking-white-paper/