What is the GA4 Explore tool, and how should car dealers be using it?


What is the GA4 Explore tool, and how should car dealers be using it?

At first glance, the new Explorations reporting feature can be quite intimidating. Since we do not have a correlated feature from Universal Analytics (UA) to compare it to, it is posing a steep learning curve to those of us working on this new platform. UA offered canned reports with very little customization, so it’s no wonder that so many automotive pros are feeling a little trepidation about the robust new reporting features in GA4. We are here to demystify the Explore feature so you can get over the initial learning curve as quickly as possible.

As the name implies, Explorations will help car dealers be able to better explore the data being generated by users on their websites. It utilizes advanced techniques that will help you find deep, actionable insights into your users’ behavior. However, if you’re just looking to create standard Source/Medium type reports (for now), your best bet is to check out the article we wrote about how to use the Library feature in GA4 to create and compile your more basic custom reports.

In-A-Nutshell, your store or dealer group will be able to use Explorations to dive deeper into the gold mine of consumer data being generated 24/7 by your website. It’s a forward-thinking way of organizing your user’s behavioral data and trying to learn from it. Some of the key bullet point capabilities include:

  • Ability to quickly perform and configure ad hoc queries using various analytical techniques
  • To sort and drill down into the data to find the right insights for your business
  • Focusing on the most relevant data by using filters, segments, and audiences

The custom reporting options available to you in the Explore tool can range from Inventory and Lead reports, returning user trends, and on to vendor reports that will help you keep your various marketing partners accountable. The most popular report types for dealers will likely be the Free Form reporting technique (which allows the greatest level of report customization) and the Cohort Analysis technique (which allows you to analyze actions taken by users who share common characteristics.

The reports and insights compiled in the Explore tool are based on advanced analytical techniques that GA4 has developed, these techniques are what gives Explore its power, and they should be generally understood by anybody who will be building custom reports using the Free-Form feature. The techniques include:

  • Path Exploration

    Helps you find the top pages that users navigate to after opening the home page, also helps determine the effect of a particular event on the user’s subsequent actions.

  • Funnel Exploration

    Essentially this helps you to visualize the “steps to the sale” so that you can better understand how your prospects become shoppers and how your shoppers’ become buyers, not to mention how your first-time buyers become repeat buyers.

  • User Exploration

    This technique allows you to really dive deep, at an individual level, to determine what drives your customers to engage or disengage. Crafting the perfect Customer Experience (CX) starts with understanding how individuals use your site and what roadblocks they face along the way.

  • Segment Overlap

    Segments in GA4 are subsets of your analytical data. Users, Events, and Session data can all be used to create segments. They allow you to visually interpret (via a venn diagram) the relationship between different groups of users, which can help you find correlations you were previously unaware of.

  • Cohort Analysis

    Cohorts are defined as groups of people or companions, having common attributes. A good example of this would be if you’d like to track the behaviors of a group of people who clicked onto your website on a particular date, or who landed on a particular page, so that you can track their behavior over time.

  • Free Form

    The most common and popular way to analyze your data, by using tables and graphs. Choose from a vast array of segments, dimensions, and metrics to organize the most customized and flexible free-form reports.

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the various reporting techniques that Explorations offers, you can create an array of custom tactical (short term, think 1-3months) and strategic (longer term, think years) reports. For example, you can setup long term strategic reports that show you behaviors associated with new versus returning visitors over the last several years, or something more short term and tactical such as last month’s organic users.

We highly recommend you budget the time necessary to familiarize your dealership’s marketing team with the various features of GA4, including Explorations, but if you simply don’t have the bandwidth or resources to become experts on it- be sure to partner with a technology & website vendor who does. Reach out to sales@autofusion.com if you would like to learn more about how we can help get your dealership all dialed in and ready for the future of your analytics.

Call 1-800-410-7354 to learn more today, or Schedule A Consultation!