Top 10 Google Analytics Goals for Car Dealers

Top 10 Google Analytics Goals for Car Dealers

In the automotive industry, we talk a lot about goals — business goals, marketing goals, sales goals, goals to set goals. . . 

But what exactly are these elusive goals we keep mentioning? 

Your general dealership goal is clear-cut: sell more cars

Your marketing goals are more granular; they track the smaller successes that contribute to selling more cars. This is where Google Analytics goals come into play.

Setting up goals in Google Analytics will help you track the most important actions taking place on your dealership website — the actions that are most likely to lead to sales. Here’s what you should be measuring in Google Analytics for car dealers. (Hint: it’s not all about VDP views.)

Note: This post is about Universal Analytics. In March 2022, Google announced it would stop processing data for Universal Analytics and instead, new data will only flow through Google Analytics 4. Bookmark this post for updates on setting up these goals in the new Google Analytics.

10 Google Analytics Goals Your Dealership Should Set Up

The following 10 Google Analytics goals are specific to an automotive website. If you’re paying for digital marketing that doesn’t complete any of these goals, you are spending money in the wrong place.

  1. New vehicle detail page (VDP) views
  2. Used VDP views
  3. New search results page (SRP) views
  4. Used SRP views
  5. Video views
  6. Credit application submissions
  7. Trade-in appraisal submissions
  8. Contact form submissions
  9. Clicks to Call
  10. Service appointment submissions

To set up these goals, log in to Google Analytics, and navigate to the Admin tab on the bottom-left side of the page. Under Admin, you can select Goals (listed under the View column).

Then, you have the option to either create a new goal based on a template or create a custom goal. Most, if not all, of your goals will require a custom setup.

Pssst: Is this a little too overwhelming? We put together a free eBook that teaches you all about search engine optimization (SEO), which is a great place to start before digging in to your Google Analytics goals. Download it now!

How to Set Up “View” Goals

How to find Google Analytics Goals

To track specific page views, use a destination goal based upon the page’s URL. For example, if you wanted to track new Ford VDP pages, and your URL structure begins with /new/Ford, you would create your goal based upon that destination page. You just need to make sure the URL structure is unique to the pages you want to track.

vehicle detail page Google Analytics goals

Keep in mind that these are the goals, but what you actually need to measure is the percentage of people who convert on these goals. Look at your goal conversion rate when deciding whether or not particular traffic sources are working for your dealership.

Also, be aware that Google Analytics allows only 20 goals total, and goals can never be deleted. They can be altered, though, so you can still tweak your goals or entirely change them if needed.

goal conversion rates digital automotive marketing

About Event-Based Goals

Event-based goals can help your marketing and sales teams see further down the digital sales funnel. This type of goal is based on interactions browsers take. It could be clicking the phone number on your website or filling out a form.

You will need to install Google Tag Manager (GTM) to start this process. (If you have a lot of tags or pixels on your site, GTM might already be set up for you). 

More often than not, when someone submits a form on your site, the website gives them a “thank you” message within the pop-up form or just changes copy on the same page. This doesn’t allow you to use the Destination goal in Google Analytics.

That’s where Google Tag Manager takes over. You can work with your developer, IT manager, or your digital marketing agency to sift through the code and be able to track how many people have submitted forms, played a video, clicked your phone number, and so much more.

Because this type of goal is very unique to each intended goal and the website, we won’t go into how to set these up, but you can check out Google’s support about GTM.

Why You Should Set Up Google Analytics Smart Goals

In addition to the manual goals discussed above, Google offers Smart Goals. These goals automatically measure your most engaged visits and then use data from those visits to determine bidding strategies for your Google Ads

Smart Goals are easy to set up. Even if you are unsure about using them for your Google Ads account, there is no harm in at least having them in your back pocket. The sooner they start collecting data, the better.

To be eligible for Smart Goals, your Google Analytics account must be linked to a Google Ads account. The linked Google Ads account must also send at least 500 clicks to your website over the last 30 days.

Learn more about the setup process from Google. The Smart Goal option can be found under the regular Goals tab in Google Analytics (Admin > View > Goals).

smart goals google analytics for auto dealers

How 9 Clouds Uses Automotive Analytics

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re data nerds, and we love to talk about analytics! Transparent data is one of our core values.

If you have struggled to find the right data for your dealership’s goals, reach out to us for a complimentary digital audit

Check out our free search engine optimization (SEO) eBook to help get your website in good health so you can track your Google Analytics properly.