Google is Changing Analytics
…and it’s kind of a big deal. With any large shift there are risks — but there are also opportunities. There are already lots of talking heads hammering on how auto dealers need to get their Universal Analytics (UA) upgraded to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), and how it needs to be done right away so a full year of data can be collected before UA hits the road for good next year. You’ve done that, right? Good. Of course, you have. Now, we can all move on to more important things — like how the automotive industry is a complete mess regarding analytics.
We work with analytics a lot because we believe that attribution systems are the most important measurement tool we have for figuring out if what we’re doing is actually working. The goal is to get more cars sold, so if we can draw a straight line from our work to the sold car, what have we actually accomplished? Here is where we run into the same problem over and over again.
Third-Party Service Providers are Awful at Documentation and Standardization
Now, I recognize this is a broad stroke, and not every third-party provider is bad about this. For example, Roadster documentation is as good as we’ve seen in any industry (two big thumbs up). However, the majority of analytics events are written in a way that only makes sense to the tool provider. This makes it nearly impossible for a data analyst to conclusively say, “This event happened on the website, which means we know a customer took this specific action and that can be traced to this specific car being sold.”
Isn’t that what we all want, though? Isn’t that level of clarity the very thing GMs and marketing managers have been asking for all along? Reporting shouldn’t be dependent on dashboards that can’t be gut checked.
Make Your Demands Heard
The switch to GA4 represents a massive opportunity for third-party providers to have a few phone calls, come up with some basic event standards and apply them. Auto dealers need to recognize their collective clout and demand it — they only stand to benefit in the end. Auto dealerships shouldn’t be expected to take on the task of sifting through the noise anymore.
That monthly invoice should come with the expectation that the value provided is quantifiable and, most importantly, justifiable as an expense. Continuing to accept proprietary dashboards is just setting yourself up to overspend.