How to tell if your site speed is killing your leads


A lot of automotive website providers are touting the benefits of having a responsive website. It’s the new norm and if you’re not on board, you can kiss leads goodbye… But you can’t stop there, because site speed is what’s truly going to keep your dealership in the black.

Speed – The Key To a Happy Customer

Think about your own daily experience using your phone to shop, search for directions, or read reviews. You know that if a business isn’t delivering a screaming fast mobile experience, you’re on to the next one. Guess what, your customers feel the same way when they come to your dealership’s site. We’re not the only ones that believe this and there’s actual science that backs it up. Continue Reading

Does Google Hate Your Mobile App (And Is It Costing You Money)?

On September 1, 2015, Google announced that they would begin flagging sites as “Not Mobile Friendly” in the Google Search Console if they were using a Mobile App Interstitial that “hides a significant amount of content and prompts the user to install an app”. Google is doing so because their “analysis shows that it is not a good search experience and can be frustrating for users because they are expecting to see the content of the web page.”

I didn’t think much about the announcement at the time, because I had never seen one of DealerOn’s websites use a “Download Our App” message. Early last week, I happened to come across a dealership’s group website (not one of our customer’s) that DID have this problem. I’ve obscured the dealership’s name, which otherwise would appear at the top of the screen. Here is what the site looked like on my phone:

I noticed that the site did not show as “Mobile Friendly” in Google’s search results, so I went to the Google Mobile-friendly testing tool ( to try and find out why. When I put the URL into the Google Mobile Friendly testing tool, this was the answer I got back from Google:

It appears that Google is now classifying websites as “not mobile friendly” if they have App Download Interstitials that cover up content from the dealer’s site.

Make sure that if you’re promoting your App on your dealership website, and encouraging your customers to download the App straight from your site, that you have run your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing tool to make sure you haven’t inadvertently damaged its “mobile friendliness” with Google.

Google Search Console
About three days after I saw this, I was reminded of another important lesson from Google that I want to pass along to dealers and their vendors. It turns out that one of our clients WAS using an App very similar to the one that I just showed above. We received this email from the Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) stating that one of our sites was NOT Mobile-friendly due to “App install interstitials that hide content”.

The email that Google Search Console sent was very helpful. It even included a link to the report in Search Console that shows all of the pages on the site that are impacted by the app interstitial.

Most importantly, the notification is PRO-ACTIVE! If your site is impacted by this change Google will actually notify you or your website vendor, provided that you have Webmaster Tools/Search Console properly set up on your site. For years I’ve been telling dealers that they should make sure their website provider is not only setting up their websites in Google Webmaster Tools/Search Console, but that they also pro-actively monitor their website performance using that tool. Google’s recent change makes that more critical than ever. If your website provider has not connected your site with Google’s Search Console and aren’t vigilantly monitoring your site’s health, you may be losing traffic, leads, and money due to a problem that Google is trying to warn you about.

Wrap Up
Make sure that if you have a Mobile App and you advertise it on your website, you check your site in Google’s mobile friendly test panel. Even if you don’t have a mobile app interstitial, you should probably run your site through the mobile friendly test anyway to make sure you don’t have one of the 10-20% of dealer sites that still aren’t mobile friendly. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure that your site is set up on Google Search Console, so if Google ever does flag it for any issues, you get alerted before it costs you any real money.

Have Google Check Your Mobile Site for Speed & Usability

Google’s announcement yesterday about the launch of their new PageSpeed Insights’ User Experience rules is really driving home the importance of usability and site speed on your mobile website.  They’ve previously discussed how important the speed at which your website loads (both desktop and mobile) is to their algorithm – site speed can impact the ranking of a website on Google’s SERP, as well as the likelihood of visitors to leave your site.  But at the end of the day, a fast loading site can only take you so far, especially when it comes to mobile devices.

Google is quick to point out that it is not enough to have a fast mobile website if your mobile site is not configured appropriately.  That means that users shouldn’t “have to spend another 5 seconds once the page loads to pinch-zoom and scroll the screen before they can start reading the text and interacting with the page,” because “then that site isn’t really fast to use after all.”  In other words, your mobile site needs to automatically adjust to each device.  One of the easiest ways to solve this problem is to make sure your dealership has a responsive website.

To help web developers improve the user experience on their sites, Google has launched the new PageSpeed Insights’ User Experience rules that identify and provide suggested fixes for usability issues for mobile sites.

These rules cover such things as:

  • Font Size – make sure users can read your content without having to enlarge or diminish the screen.
  • Plugin Use – since most smartphones don’t support Flash, make sure mobile users can see the most important parts of your site. If plugins carry the value and content of your dealership website, your mobile users will miss the most important information.
  • Scrolling – mobile website visitors are accustomed to scrolling vertically, not horizontally. If you aren’t using a responsive dealership website, make sure your mobile site fits the width of the device it’s designed for.

You can use the PageSpeed Insights tool to test both your desktop and mobile pages. Stay ahead of the curve (or make sure you’re caught up) by checking your mobile pages now. Many dealerships are already seeing the majority of their traffic come from mobile devices (tablet, smartphone, etc), so it’s especially important you’re presenting those visitors with the best experience possible.

While having a responsive dealership website will solve many of the usability issues your site may have, it won’t fix them all if you have a bad design. Check your mobile website regardless of the technology it is built upon.

Using Google Analytics to Understand Your Mobile Traffic

As of March 2014, the average car dealer website gets more traffic from mobile devices (including laptops) than from desktop computers.  Many of the dealers that we work with have no idea how their traffic breaks down between desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone.  They are used to visiting their dealership’s website on a desktop computer at the dealership or from their home at night, so they have a good understanding of how their site looks for customers using their dealership’s site on a desktop computer.  But most dealers don’t spend enough time understanding the mobile customer experience on their website.

According to Google, search is the most common starting point for mobile research. In fact, 42% of automotive shoppers start on search engines, while 27% of automotive shoppers start on branded websites. Those are both huge percentages of people looking for your dealership online – but how do you know if your mobile site is delivering what they need?

The best way to learn whether or not your dealership mobile website solution, regardless of which technology platform you’re using, is meeting the needs and expectations of your visitors is to use Google Analytics. GA data can help you determine if your adaptive website design is set up properly. For example, if mobile traffic is visiting traditional, desktop pages, you have a problem with your adaptive design or switchboard tags. Do you have a disproportional bounce rate on your mobile site? This could indicate that your website isn’t showing properly to mobile visitors.

DealerOn has talked before about the importance of having Google Analytics on your dealership website, and how to use that data to sell more cars, but with the drastic shift to mobile internet usage, dealers need to make sure that their website provider has coded their site so they can easily measure site performance on mobile vs. desktop vs. tablet at a minimum.

It’s also important to understand how to analyze your website data differently for traditional and mobile website visits. Your dealership should probably be tracking different KPIs for mobile traffic than you do for desktop.  For instance, some of the most common and important KPIs for desktop traffic are:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Time on Site
  • Pages per Visit
  • VDP’s per Visit
  • Leads
  • Conversion Rate
  • Calls

For mobile traffic, many of these may not be appropriate.  In fact, you may just want to track things like Calls, Clicks to Maps, and Vehicle Views for your website’s mobile traffic.  Whatever KPIs you want to measure for mobile, you should make sure that you work with your website provider to set up goals that can measure each of these metrics and ideally assign a value to each of them so you can begin to measure the return on your mobile traffic.

These are the types of questions you need to talk to your digital marketing provider (or website company) about to make sure you’re getting the readily available, valuable data out of your Google Analytics.  It is no longer just a good idea to measure, analyze, and optimize your website’s mobile traffic.  In 2014, it is essential to getting the most out of your marketing budget.

Automotive Mobile Searchers Convert…Fast

Earlier this year, Nielsen, xAd, and Telmetrics conducted a survey on the “mobile path to purchase” in three industries: restaurants, travel, and automotive.  The latest part of the study released pertains to the automotive category.

One of the most important things found in this study, in my opinion, is that roughly half of the mobile automotive searchers were “looking to make a purchase within the day.”  36% of this group converted “within the hour.”  This means that almost half of those searching for your dealership on their mobile devices want to purchase a vehicle on the same day. Over 1/3 of those will purchase a vehicle within an hour.

The study also found that there is a difference between the behavior of those using a smartphone and those using a tablet.  Tablet users spent more time doing price research and looking at reviews. They were also more likely to be influenced by positive reviews.  Smartphone users were more likely to search from their car (42%) and tended to convert more quickly than tablet users.

So what are these auto shoppers searching for? 44% are looking for your dealership location, 43% are comparing prices and 36% are looking for a phone number.

When was the last time you tested your mobile website?  Do you have your dealership’s location (with directions), prices on your inventory, and the phone number (click to call is HUGE here).  What does your mobile website look like?  Make sure you talk with your auto dealership website provider if you aren’t happy with what you find.