Digital Analytics for Non-Techies

The topic of digital analytics used to fall in the category of “nice to know”. That’s no longer the case. Today virtually everyone can benefit from even a basic understanding of how digital analytics work and how they can work for you.

At its core, analytics is really just the discovery of useful patterns and insights. What does that mean? Digital analytics give you the ability to see and understand how customers interact with your dealership online. With these insights, you can make changes to the customer experience and more importantly, track the impact of those changes. The end result is a better customer experience and more sales.

Let’s start with some of the basics.

The Data

Quantitative data (the what): number of visitors to your website, number of leads generated, number of cars sold.

Qualitative (the why): why they visited your site, why they filled out the form, why they purchased a vehicle from you. This data is collected via feedback forms, surveys and reviews.


This basically means splitting your large pile of data into smaller groupings, or “segments”.

  • By channel (email, website, paid, search, social, etc.)
  • By device (laptop, tablet, phone)
  • By geography (town, city, province/state)
  • By customer (new vs existing)


Macro (your main objective): number of vehicles sold, number of repair orders filed

Micro: number of lead forms submitted, number of live chats completed. These micro conversions play a big role in driving macro conversions and where you should focus your efforts.

Attribution “giving credit”

If you ever see the term “last interaction attribution”, it means that all credit for the conversion (sale) is “attributed” to the last click that the customer made. There are a number of models that can be used to assign credit. The benefit of attribution is the ability to determine the factors that influenced the sale and their potential cost. Using a model like “linear attribution” will allow you to understand and give credit to all stops along the purchase journey (I.e. paid search, social networks, email, and direct channels—would share equal credit (25% each) for the sale).

Building your plan

Here are some of the basics that should be included when you start building your plan. It’s important to start simple– a crawl, walk, run mentality really helps here.

Objective: sell more cars, service more vehicles. These are your macro conversions from earlier.

Strategies and tactics: How you plan to reach your objective. This could entail using vehicle detail pages, lead forms, content, promotions, etc.

Key performance indicators (KPIs): A key performance indicator is something that measures your performance. For your dealership, this could be the number of vehicle detail pages viewed, lead submissions or social media engagements. Your KPIs may change over time as you learn more about your customers and enter new channels.

Segments: Creating segments will allow you to use different strategies for different groupings. For example, you may use “likes” as a KPI for your “social segment” while your “website segment” uses a different set of KPIs.

Context: You need to be able to compare your performance against some form of benchmark. This could mean comparing yourself to similar dealerships in similar markets, measuring performance based on past results, or setting a baseline internally.

Remember that digital analytics is a cycle that includes observing, measuring, revising and measuring again. It’s also part science and part art. At the end of the day analytics are only useful if you make changes, so run experiments and get creative.

I strongly suggest reviewing your Google Analytics regularly. Remember have fun with it – it’s only analytics!

If you’re looking to see what story your analytics tell, our Digital Performance Team can help. Our specialists can analyze your data and provide suggestions on improvements for your dealership. Click here to contact them today.