Getting Started: Important First Steps and Setup Tips For Car Dealers Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
So, you’ve done it. Your dealership used the Google Analytics 4 setup assistant to install your new GA4 account and add the tracking code onto your website (or you had your SEO/Website provider set it up for you). Great work, but what comes next? In this article, we are going to discuss some of the top priorities and tips your car dealership should focus on once your new GA4 account is setup and ready to use.
Turn On The “Enhanced Measurement” Functionality
The very first thing you are going to want to do to make sure you are getting the most out of Google’s new platform is to enable this important feature. Enhanced Measurement is a suite of automatic insights that collect data based on the actions taken by your website’s users. You are asking Google to collect even more relevant engagement and conversion data that will ultimately help you provide a better UX, and sell more vehicles.
Simply navigate to the admin portal in the bottom left of the home screen, click on “data streams”, click the website you want to manage, and then enable the first toggle switch under “Enhanced measurement” in the Events section.
Don’t Double Count Your Events
GA4 is an event-based analytics engine. On the older UA platform, you would track things like goals and bounce rates, whereas on the new GA4- these types of metrics are classified differently. For example, your “goals” are now called “conversion events” and though “bounce rate” is no longer tracked, you can find this same information by looking at your “engaged sessions” (bounce rate is basically the reverse of the engagement rate).
There are several standard out-of-the-box events already being tracked by GA4 as soon as you deploy it, and when you turn on enhanced measurement even more events are added to your tracking funnel. Some dealers go right to setting up new events (like pageviews) without realizing that those events are already being tracked and will simply create duplicate data that corrupts your overall reporting. Check and double-check your event parameters to make sure you are not double counting this data.
Custom Conversion Events
There are many exciting things that your dealership (or your website/SEO vendor) can setup to better understand and track your customers on-site behavior. Setting up custom events to track things like VDP views, image loads, video views, gallery clicks, SRP scrolls etc.
Using Google Tag Manager (GTM) can even help you track more in-depth events, things like ‘which form fields were filled out’ and ‘in how many seconds’ (something that could be useful for determining if there are conversion roadblocks on the form itself). We highly recommend that your dealership learns the ins and outs of GTM events so that you can ensure your event reporting is as robust and as relevant as possible. If you simply don’t have the time to do it yourself, make sure your vendors setup those important custom GTM events for you.
Protect The PII (Personally Identifiable Information)
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when setting up your custom conversion events are the rules regarding consumer data. Your website visitor’s privacy is very important, and Google does not allow the importation of any of that identifiable data into Analytics. Two of the most common PII-best-practices that car dealers and their website providers should be aware of are:
- Using the POST method for submitting your websites forms: If the GET method is used, the parameters of the form will end up as part of the URL itself, which could include PII that the customer themselves used to fill out the form.
- Email verification links: On some dealer’s sites, forms can trigger an email-based registration, newsletter signup, or order process that includes the users email address right in the confirmation URL. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org&token=321453
Custom Reports & The Explore Tab
The new Explore tab on GA4 is an extremely useful, albeit complicated, feature. It is easier to first try to use the “Library” tab at the bottom of the “Reports” dashboard to setup your custom reports. The Library provides a highly robust reporting mechanism, coupled with a much simpler setup process for common reports such as a "Source/Medium" report.
To make sure your dealership is getting the most out of your new GA4 account, be sure to stay on the lookout for more GA4 content from Autofusion. We will be taking a deeper dive into everything from using GTM to send custom events to GA4, how to best utilize the library feature in the reports section, and how you can better understand the possibilities created by the new Explore feature. As always, reach out to our sales team at email@example.com for a consultation if your dealership would like to explore partnering with Autofusion to implement these best “GA4 automotive best practices” for your store’s website.