Web Analytics

Pull Demographic Data from Your Google Analytics

Almost every month Google provides some new, interesting, beneficial improvement to Google Analytics. In late 2013 Google began providing rich data about the demographics and interests of your website traffic. At DealerOn, we’re always trying to use data to improve the customer experience for our dealers, so I wanted to show you how to use Google Analytics Demographics information so you can learn more about your website visitors and understand how your site is serving them. The first step is to set up the Demographics reporting in Google Analytics.

Setting Up Demographics Data

When you log into Google Analytics, you will see a screen like this:


If you click on the text “Age” under the Audience>Demographics section, you will get the screen below. Click on the “Enable” button. You will get a message that says “Congratulations! You have successfully enabled the Demographics Reports. While you can access them now, it may take up to 24 hours before there is data available in these reports.”

In a few days or weeks you will have enough data to start analyzing the demographics of the traffic that is actually coming to your site. You’ll be able to see the:

1)      the ages of the traffic coming to your site (18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+),

2)      Sex (split of male/female)

3)      Interests (Affinity Categories like Movie Lovers, Auto Enthusiasts)

4)      In-Market Segments like Autos & Vehicles/Motor Vehicles/Motor Vehicles (Used)

There’s a treasure trove of information that you can take advantage of to improve your own marketing efforts as well as make sure that you’re delivering a great customer website experience. For today, I want to touch on Age and Device (mobile vs. tablet vs. desktop). In the past, my colleagues and I have talked about the importance of mobile and responsive websites, but when you break down demographics for a dealer’s website traffic, the importance of mobile and the younger demographics becomes stark. For one of our highest trafficked sites, here is the breakout of Mobile/Tablet/Desktop for 18-24 year olds:

For ages 25-34 and 35-44, Mobile is still higher than desktop, even without including Tablet traffic. Too many dealers are still assessing their websites based on browsing the site at the dealership on a computer. For many sites (you should check yours), the majority of traffic from your target demographic may not even be seeing that version of your site. If you’re a Kia dealer and your brand is targeting young professionals, then your mobile site experience is paramount to your digital brand. You should check to see whether the advertising that you’re doing is focused on younger demographics and that your site is delivering a good experience for them. We’ll explore other ways of using this demographics and interest information to make better marketing decisions over the next few weeks.

Let me know if you have any topics you’d specifically like us to cover on how to get the most out of your Google Analytics Demographic and Interest data.

How to Use Google Analytics Reports to Speed Up Your Website

We all know that one of the most important traffic sources for the typical car dealer website is Google’s organic search listings.  Google has made it very clear that one of the most important factors in determining where your dealership’s website content ranks on Google is the speed at which that page loads for their users.  Google has stressed that the page load time is an EVEN bigger factor for mobile rankings than for traditional desktop search results.  Did you know that Google Analytics has a Site Speed Page Timings report that shows you the speed for EVERY page on your site in one easy report?

Over the last few weeks, we have written about Google’s site speed insight tool that can show you or your website provider how to lower the load time of a particular page on your site.  But how can you get information about which pages you should check?  The Google Analytics Site Speed Page Timings report shows you Google’s calculated load time for EVERY page on your site, along with the amount of traffic each page receives, and what the Bounce Rate is for that page!


Page Timings Report:

Here is an example of the Google Analytics Page Timings report.  To access the report in your Google Analytics account, just click through on “Behavior>Behavior Flow>Site Speed>Page Timings”.  You will get a report that looks like this:

For every page on your site, the report shows:

  1. The time it take to load the page in Seconds
  2. The # of page views during the time period for which you’ve run the report
  3. The Bounce Rate for the page
  4. The Exit Rate

If you use the sort functionality within the report, you can focus on the pages with the highest Load times, the Most Traffic, or the highest Bounce Rates.  You can easily identify the highest trafficked pages on your site that also have high Bounce Rates, and see if the load times for those pages are part of the Bounce Rate problem.

You can even filter this report to just show Organic Search traffic and use “Landing Page” as the Primary Dimension, which will then show you the actual load time for consumers coming to your website from Google or Bing.  Because you also have the Page Views, you can easily focus on the pages with High Load Times, High Bounce Rates and High Traffic volumes, helping you to get the most return from your time investment.

Because page speed is an even more critical SEO factor for mobile, this report REALLY becomes valuable if you filter the traffic to show only Mobile Visitors.  When you create a report that shows pages that have lots of traffic, high bounce rates, and high load times for Mobile traffic, you can use the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool to get actionable information on how to speed up the pages that will provide the most value to your dealership if you optimize them (because they have the most inbound traffic).

If you are investing a material amount of money in paid search advertising, you should run this same report, filtered on your paid search traffic.  You can then isolate any landing pages that are problematic from a Speed/Bounce Rate view.  Once you’ve isolated the problem landing pages you could send the traffic to a similar, but faster landing page with a lower bounce rate, invest some time in fixing the current landing page, or pause the campaign until you have time to improve your results.


Speed Suggestions Report:

If you just want to see a list of pages with their accompanying Google Page Speed scores, you can click on the “Speed Suggestions” report just below the “Page Timings” report and get a list of all the pages in your site, sorted by Page views, with the accompanying Google Page Speed score (0-100) and a link to the Google Insight suggestions for improving the page speed.

Google is continuously improving Google Analytics to provide insight into how Google evaluates your site’s content for its organic search rankings and paid search traffic.  Make sure that you aren’t overlooking this free tool that can help you, your website provider, your SEO guru, or your paid search vendor maximize your dealership’s return on their time and efforts.

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.

How Can Your Dealership Use Google’s New Indexed Page Report?

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the new Google Webmaster Tools report that tells your dealership how many pages have indexed on your website over the last year.  Unfortunately the information on its own is a little vague, and can be difficult to fully use when taken on its own.  For example, a big segment of the data revolves around how many website pages are not selected for indexing.  What does that mean?  Google says that:

“A URL can be not selected for indexing for many reasons including:

  • It redirects to another page
  • It has a rel=”canonical” to another page
  • Our algorithms have detected that its contents are substantially similar to another URL and picked the other URL to represent the content.”

The information in this report can be used in many ways, but a couple that really stand out to me are:

1) When your dealership changes providers, hires an SEO company, or hires a content creation company–you can use the tool to watch how many more pages Google indexes over time

2) When you are writing content (or having content written on your behalf), like on a blog, you can see whether Google is indexing it (which content does get indexed, what doesn’t, etc)

I think what is really important for dealerships to understand is that this report gives a lot of relevant, important information, but taken alone, can be overwhelming and misinterpreted.  Discuss this with your dealership’s website provider to help fully understand what it all means.