Attribution is the next “big thing” in automotive marketing – figuring out which programs drive the most leads, most conversions and ultimately the most sales.
It’s important because you want to put more marketing dollars behind successful programs and kill non-performers.
But in measuring attribution, you need to include a host of sub-metrics. Here’s my take on the top-10 marketing metrics every dealer should track.
1. Overall website traffic. It’s the obvious place to start, but more so as a benchmark for what you hope to be driving month over month and year over year. In most cases, you want to be driving more traffic over time.
2. Website bounce rate. Once traffic is driven to a website, how many people immediately leave without continuing to additional pages? A high bounce rate could indicate something lacking, misleading or unappealing. Your goal should be to reduce the bounce rate.
3. Time on site. If the average time is well over a minute or more, you know you’re engaging people and perhaps giving them the exact information they want that might influence them to come into the store even if they don’t fill out a lead form. You want time on site to increase, demonstrating visitor engagement with content.
4. Pages per session. Conversely, this measures how many different pages a unique user visits in a single timeframe. It’s sometimes misleading, because maybe some people are brought to the exact page they need right away and consequently don’t jump around. But especially when considering your homepage, the hope is shoppers will explore and eventually end up on a conversion page. So pages-per-session should be directly tied to which page they are first driven to. As with time on site, you want to see visitors go to multiple pages, indicating they are engaging with your content.
5. Vehicle detail page views. Especially with a VDP, you not only need to care that people saw it, know how long they stayed and what they did next, which will help you understand whether they are a quality lead.
6. Form submissions. Are people actually filling out your forms when they reach them? These forms should exist on VDPs and several other pages of your site. This is the genesis of a lead. If form submissions are low (or declining), look at ways to tweak content to make it more enticing for visitors to fill out a lead form.
7. Click to call/chat. Pay close attention to how successful these buttons are performing. Make sure they are front and center and doing their jobs of pulling in leads.
8. Web traffic source (organic and paid). Be able to measure which sources – such as a display ad, versus paid search, versus a particular vendor – are driving quality traffic, so you know where to focus your budget each month. This is a key to attribution.
9. Cost per lead. This centers on how you measure different vendors’ performances. Make sure you’re basing that decision on what a conversion means per vendor. That leads us to the last metric to watch.
10. Conversions. This doesn’t only pertain to how many lead forms are being filled out. It is determined by what you set as a success for sources, vendors and how consumers are being driven from your site to your store. If the end goal is a sale, so be it, but with some vendors, the goal might be as simple as a page view. Determine those definitions ahead of time so that when looking back at all of these metrics, you’re evaluating fairly based on the correct guidelines.
Many of these metrics can be tracked via Google Analytics. This free, web-based platform not only tracks where your traffic is coming from, but can also give insight into browsing behavior on several levels.
By drilling into Google Analytics, you can determine how individuals interact with your website, how much time they spend there and what pages are and aren’t working.
The most insightful Google Analytics report for most businesses is Source/Medium. It provides valuable information on how your channels perform. You’ll see several metrics that apply to each channel, including bounce rate, time on site, pages/session and conversion data.
This list should get you started on attribution – looking across all of these metrics, rather than evaluating them individually. It will help you create a mosaic of marketing-program performance.
Valerie Vallancourt is vice president-marketing for digital marketing firm Outsell.