Beyond VDP Views: Dealership Goals in Google Analytics

Beyond VDP Views: Dealership Goals in Google Analytics

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 your dealership should be measuring in Google Analytics. (Hint: it’s not all about VDP views.)

What Google Analytics Goals Auto Dealers Should Track

The following 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.

  • New Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) Views
  • Used VDP Views
  • New Search Results Page (SRP) Views
  • Used SRP Views
  • Average time spent on VDPs
  • Video Views
  • Credit Application Submissions
  • Trade-in Appraisal Submissions
  • Contact Us Submissions
  • Clicks to Call
  • Service Appointment Submissions

To set up these goals, log in to Google Analytics, and navigate to the Admin tab on the top-right 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.


google analytics goals setup


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 began 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.


vdp 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


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 Google Ads

Smart Goals are easy to set up, and even if you are unsure about using them for your AdWords 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 an AdWords account. The linked AdWords account must also send at least 500 clicks to your website in 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 to Best Use Your Google Analytics Goals

The best way to quickly measure your dealership goals is by setting up Google Analytics Dashboards. Rather than getting bogged down in all the data Google Analytics throws at you, these dashboards give you the power to collect what’s most important to your specific dealership goals. 

We wrote a full blog post just about the setup process for Google Analytics Dashboards, so check that out before attempting to make your own.

There is also a gallery full of dashboard templates, so you don’t even have to make your own. We have a couple of 9 Clouds dashboards available in the gallery as well. Navigate to the +New Dashboard screen in Google Analytics, and then click Import from Gallery. We have a Facebook Advertising dashboard and a Management dashboard — both specifically created for auto dealership marketing.


google analytics 9 clouds dashboard


How 9 Clouds Uses Automotive Analytics

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re data nerds, and we love to talk about analytics.

Learn more about how 9 Clouds puts data to work for automotive marketing by clicking the button below.

Banner image: Ed Bierman