Web Analytics

How to Create a Trackable QR Code for Your Car Dealership

After writing my post on QR Codes Best Practices, I wanted to make sure those dealerships interested in starting a QR code marketing campaign knew to create QR codes in a way that will allow your dealership to track them through the Google Analytics on your car dealership website.

Here’s how to create a QR code that is trackable by Google Analytics:

First, make sure you are signed into Google (in the account that houses your dealership’s analytics).

Next, go to the Google URL Builder.  Enter the URL that you would like the QR Code to link to.  Choose “QR Code” for campaign source, and then choose your campaign medium and name.  For example, if you’re going to put the QR Code on window stickers for a Chevy Cruze, your Campaign Medium could be “Window Stickers” and the Campaign Name could be “2011 Chevy Cruze”.  Once you’ve entered these fields, click Generate URL.

Copy the URL you’ve just created and go to  Here, you’ll shorten your newly created QR Code tracking URL, and click “Details” to generate the QR Code. By shortening the URL before generating the QR Code, you will make the QR code less dense, and therefore easier for your customers to scan.

Now that you’ve created the QR Code, you can use the link that Google provides to put your QR Code graphic onto your site, or you can right click on the generated QR Code and click “Save Image As” to save it to your machine or servers.  You are now ready to start tracking your QR code campaigns!  Let me know if you’ve found other ways to effectively track your QR campaigns.

Is Your Car Dealership Using the Latest Google Analytics Code?

In addition to rolling out Google+ and the Google +1 button, Google has also recently rolled out a new version of Google Analytics.  Google Analytics 5 includes a complete user interface re-design which allows users to create multiple dashboards, more easily search across multiple accounts, create custom reports (and goals), and Analytics Intelligence, a tool that allows for automatic alerts.

One of the more exciting new features of Google Analytics 5 is the ability to track Google +1 clicks.  To get this functionality on your site, you need to make sure you are using the updated tracking code.  If you’ve recently added Google Analytics to your site, you should have the right code.  If not, make sure when you sign into your Google Analytics account, you’re using the “New Version”.  If your page looks like this:

you aren’t.  So click “New Version” and you’re set.

Now, click the Gear icon in the orange toolbar.  Click “Tracking Code” and you’ll have the latest version of the code for your site.

Make sure that when you put the code on your site you get it before the closing of the </head> tag of your HTML file.

It’s important to make sure your dealership website has this updated Google Analytics code on your site, so check with your dealer site provider to make sure they’ve added them.  If you have any questions beyond that, feel free to contact DealerOn at and check out our post from last week on how to get Google Analytics on your dealership website.

Installing Google Analytics on Your Dealership Website

No matter how sophisticated or rudimentary your website provider‘s reporting platform is, having Google Analytics on your website is a “no-brainer”.  You want to “trust, but verify” your website provider’s analytics by making sure they are similar to those in Google Analytics.  At DealerOn, we have made it a standard part of our process to create a Google Analytics account for each of our customers’ websites.

Luckily, if your auto dealership website provider doesn’t already provide Google Analytics tracking code (which I believe they should), it is fairly simple to add to your own website.  Here are the 5 steps to implement Google Analytics on your dealership websites:

1. After logging into your Google account, visit  Click “Sign Up”.

2. Enter the information about your dealership website, and click “Continue”.

3. Enter your contact information.

4. Read and approve the User Agreements.  Make sure you set your Data Sharing Settings before clicking “Create New Account”.

5. You will have to choose whether  you are tracking a single domain, one domain with multiple subdomains, or multiple top-level domains.  For most dealerships, you will be tracking a single domain.  Choose which best fits your needs, and Google will provide you with a code snippet to put on each page you’d like to track.  Send this code to your dealership website provider, and they should be able to take care of this for you.

That’s it.  5 simple steps to creating your own Google Analytics tracking code and reporting system.

While it is not reasonable to expect the data you see from your website provider and Google Analytics to match exactly, (your provider should have filters and visit/session rules that may not be precisely the same as those in Google Analytics), they should be fairly close and they should trend in the same directions.

Having Google Analytics reporting on your site is also important in case you switch providers at some point.  You will have a complete history of YOUR website’s performance from an unbiased 3rd party.  Also, Google Analytics is a flexible platform that allows you to create reports and track key metrics that your website provider may not provide.

If you have any questions, or would like more information about getting Google Analytics on your website, just drop us an email at

Tracking Keywords and Website Analytics

When optimizing your dealership website for search engines, finding the most effective keywords to focus on is often the most difficult aspect (and one of the most important) of your SEO efforts.  With average search terms getting longer and longer, and 20-25% of the search terms Google sees are unique (never used before), it is getting more and more difficult to find the right combination of terms to optimize your auto dealership website for.

One tool to help your dealership find the most effective keyword phrases is to take a look at the search terms that car buyers are using to find your dealer website.  If your current auto dealer website provider has the right analytics, your dealership should be able to see exactly which keywords led to visits, leads, and sales for your dealer site.

Using this data will allow your dealership to tell which keyword searches are directly responsible for auto sales.  Using this information, your dealership can work with your auto website provider to tweak your SEO efforts, adding and removing keyword phrases as you track which are successful and which aren’t.

If your dealership manages your own pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns, this keyword information can be very useful when creating the list of search terms you decide to bid on.  This way, you can not only track their success in PPC campaigns, but how often each keyword phrase is leading to a sale through organic search.

Car Dealer Radio Advertising

Radio advertising has just been dealt another blow–even Google can’t find a way to track ad spend.  A few years back, Google decided to try to automate radio advertising much as they do Internet advertising (PPC).  However, even the King of Analytics couldn’t figure out how to effectively track the success of radio ad campaigns.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Google never came up with a good way to measure listener response.”  After trying for over three years, Google’s engineers were unable to develop the technology needed to track ads as well as they were able to do with the online advertising model.  Google’s Chief Executive, Eric Schmidt, explained that “in the audio case, there wasn’t a good signal back to us about which ads performed.”

If Google can’t figure out a way to effectively measure and track the necessary analytics to prove the ROI of an ad campaign (directly related visits, leads, sales), your auto dealership or an ad agency isn’t going to be able to prove these analytics.

Traditional media advertising (like radio) can’t be measured in the same way that online advertising can, plain and simple.  Your dealership has no way of knowing whether or not your radio spend is bringing sales into your dealer showroom, and Google just showed that.  Given the ever-present threat of dealerships closing these days, it’s more imperative now than ever that your dealership knows which marketing spend is bringing in which sales.  With the right tools, this is only possible with your online marketing campaigns.