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What sets great car dealers apart: key website metrics to track to ensure success

Posted by Ashley Karr on September 13, 2018

A website is an essential tool for generating leads, building your subscriber list, and raising brand awareness. But are you sure you’re looking at the right metrics to determine how well you’re doing?

Google Analytics can provide loads of data on all kinds of metrics, but some provide more value than others. Of all the dozens of different KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you can look at, it’s best to narrow it down to at least five metrics which give you the most insight into how effective your dealership’s website is at converting visitors into paying customers.

While things like social media Likes and total page views are nice to know, seeing high numbers there might not do much more than stroke your ego a little bit. Here are the five most important website performance metrics for car dealerships that will actually help you grow your audience.

Page load time

Page load time is important for any website, and no less for a car dealership. Your page load time is just what the name suggests: it’s the amount of time that it takes for a given webpage to load. Attention spans are notoriously short these days, so long load times can cause visitors to lose interest and continue their web search somewhere else.

The Financial Times Technology Department performed its own research and found that a 1 second increase in page load time caused a 4.9% drop in articles read. A 3 second increase caused a 7.2% drop. As you can see, page load time will directly affect your bottom line.

You can test webpage load times using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If your load times are too long, you can speed them up by compressing webpage elements such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, and image files. Shrinking these file sizes is the best thing you can do to reduce load time.

Subscriber rate

Just like with email marketing, subscriber rate is another important metric to keep track of. Your website is mainly used to generate leads, and to generate fresh leads, you need new people finding your website and submitting their contact info to your subscriber list.

Thankfully, subscriber rate is an easy metric to track in Google Analytics. You just have to make sure you set up email subscriptions as a destination goal.

If you have a low subscriber rate, the best way to increase it is to develop a solid content strategy. Providing timely, useful information to your target market will present your dealership as a trusted authority in the automotive industry. If they like what they find on your website, they’ll be more likely to subscribe.

Leads generated

Page views and unique monthly visitors are nice numbers to know, but your website is supposed to generate leads because without leads you won’t be making sales. Email subscriptions can produce leads, but with this metric you want to look at more direct leads like price inquiries on used vehicles, or calls about what new models are arriving on the lot.

To track leads generated, set it up as a destination goal in Google Analytics just like you would with subscription rate. The reports generated by Google can show you which pages on your website direct your customers to take action, such as sending an email through the contact page.

If you need to generate more leads, focus on creating informative content that engages your target audience and promote that content across all your marketing channels. Prompt people to share your content and increase your reach even further.

Average pages per session

Creating engaging content is so essential to generating leads and new subscribers, and it’s also a key factor in determining your Average Pages per Session.

This metric is the average number of different pages on your website a visitors goes to before leaving. The higher this number is, the better a job you’re doing at keeping visitors engaged, surfing your website, and potentially influencing a conversion. To find this metric in Google Analytics, look at the Audience Overview report.

If you want to increase average pages per session, make sure all your web pages load quickly, are easy to navigate, and provide that all-important engaging content.

Direct traffic

Direct traffic is a measure of how many website visitors are coming from direct sources. That means they either typed your URL directly into their web browser, used a bookmark to go to your site, or clicked on an untagged link in an email, newsletter, or other piece of content. A high volume of direct traffic indicates that you are doing a good job at creating original and engaging content.

Google Analytics will show you numbers for all types of website traffic by going to Acquisition > All Traffic, and clicking on Source/Medium report. If your numbers are low, it’s time to revisit your content strategy and step things up a notch.

Key insights

  • There are many different metrics that you can look at, but its best to focus on just a handful. “Vanity metrics” like social media likes, page views, and total marketing spend aren’t worth much in the long run because they don’t give you insight into how effective your website is at converting visitors into paying customers.
  • Original and engaging content is essential to generating fresh leads through your website. Good content can increase page views per session, subscriber rate, and leads generated.
  • Fast page load times are essential to any business’s bottom line. If your load times are too slow, speed them up by compressing HTML, CSS, Java, and image file sizes.

Want to dive deeper into your website metrics? Check out our Analytics Toolkit.

This article is part of a series on key metrics that set great dealers apart. The next article will be on e-newsletters.

Topics: digital marketing, metrics, websites