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Google Analytics (GA) is an essential tool for dealerships. It helps generate more leads and increases traffic to your websites. The insight you can get from GA data helps you build a picture of your customers and evaluate the performance of your website, content, and products. Every time a user visits your website, their browser interacts with a piece of code called the Google Analytics Tracking Code to gather this rich data, which GA then turns into comprehensive reports for you.

In order to get the most accurate information from GA, however, it’s important to implement the tracking code properly into your website’s HTML. If you’re using EDealer, our reps will ensure to place the code where it needs to go.

A laptop with a screen showing a Google Analytics dasbhoard. Someone (offscreen) is using the laptop and their hands are visible as they use the keyboard.

Now that you understand how Google Analytics works and why it’s vital for your online business, let’s talk about best practices. In this blog post, we’ll focus on just one: Keep it simple and limit your website to one code.

You may have heard that it’s possible to implement multiple codes at a time, but it’s important to distinguish between the kinds of codes GA offers. EDealer uses Classic Analytics (sometimes referred to as ga.js) instead of Universal Analytics (analytics.js). We prefer the former because Universal Analytics will only focus on web metrics and we want to measure your web and app performance (if that’s applicable). While Universal Analytics can have multiple codes present at the same time, Classic Analytics should only use one code.

You will undoubtedly run into problems if you change how the tracking code appears on your website. This is important to know if you work with other vendors besides EDealer to support your data analytics and website performance.

We recommend you do not run interference with your tracking code, like introducing a second code or changing the tags.

If you’ve had other vendors request they insert additional Classic Analytics tracking codes to your website or edit the one installed by EDealer, you will end up compromising the accuracy of your Google Analytics data. Adding this unnecessary code to your website will cause conflict. When you insert additional tracking codes, it can splinter and skew the data, and muddy the waters. It’s trying to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist. If you need access to additional data, it’s possible to establish this within GA and stay with the one tracking code. We can help you do this. You can set up separate views for each provider to track goals without compromising your data.

If you believe in the value of Google Analytics data, and the wealth of insight it provides about your website, it’s important to respect the way GA works to accurately provide that data.

Installing multiple tracking codes will cause incorrect numbers. For example, you’ll notice inexplicable drops or spikes in traffic. If it’s a spike, you may mistakenly believe your website is performing well, when in actuality, the multiple tracking codes are duplicating the numbers for each visitor or page view, because they’re each counting them. This ends up bloating the numbers and can lead to wrong impressions and conclusions about what’s working on your website.

And your Google Analytics data isn’t just about numbers. It’s also about your online dealership’s history. It provides a narrative about the growth of your business. If you’re following the best industry practices to evolve your dealership in the digital era, that narrative will become a success story.

As with any business, you’ll first have growing pains. Growing your business is difficult. And when your website doesn’t perform as well as you expected, your GA data is one of the best sources you have at your disposal to figure out which parts of your digital retailing solution aren’t working. For example, let’s say you’re using GA to track a digital advertising campaign where the call to action is to fill out a form once a customer clicks on the ad and arrives on the campaign landing page. You’ll know how successful the campaign is because GA will track how long users are generally on the page form in addition to how many users fill out the form. If you’re noticing few visitors complete the form, you can troubleshoot the issue by, for example, trying to better match the ad copy with the website copy, by placing the form higher on the web page to grab the user’s attention, or following their user path through the rest of the site to see exactly what users who clicked on that specific ad are trying to get to on the site.

If you’ve compromised your Google Analytics by adding multiple tracking codes, however, you can’t rely on it to troubleshoot the problem, because it isn’t telling the full story. You can’t confirm the real problem or if your solutions have worked.

GA is relatively easy to learn, but there is a lot of complexity and depth to this Google product. If you find you’re not getting the insight you wanted from GA, talk to us about customizing your dashboard so you can run the right reports that make sense for your digital marketing needs. We are here to provide solutions, so if you have questions or concerns about how to best use Google Analytics and get the right insights about your website, please contact us so we can help determine the best outcome for you and your business.