Best PracticesDealership Communication ToolsDealership MarketingOpinions & Advice

Confused by Attribution and Analytics? Don’t Sweat It!

You Don’t Need a PhD in Google Analytics, Attribution Models or Calculus to Hold Your Vendors Accountable

There’s been so much talk about and money being spent on marketing attribution and analytics that many dealers are feeling bombarded by topics that seem very foreign when compared to the age-old DISC Test – that is “Does It Sell Cars?”.

Dealers – some that never bothered to track basic ROI via their leads and sales – are being asked to review complicated reports that attribute yesterday’s sale of a 2015 Honda Accord to 32 different advertising venues. Moreover, they’re being told to take these reports as gospel.

Questioning the accuracy of attribution models is like questioning Global Warming or the validity of a certain birth certificate or the shape of the earth: Pure blasphemy! You are quickly labeled an Attribution Denier and shunned by the digital marketing elite.

You Don’t Need to be The Expert

In 2018 and beyond, it’s okay to rely on others to be the experts in Google Analytics (GA) and attribution modeling. This, so long as you know how to hold your marketing vendors accountable.

You should expect your SEO and SEM providers to master GA, maintain your account, and keep you informed and up-to-date on any changes. Moreover, you should demand that your SEO vendor hold your SEM vendor accountable for properly maintaining your Google Analytics account (and vice versa).

Yes, I am advocating two things here: 1) Never buy both services from the same vendor; and 2) pit them against each other in a monthly fight-to-the-death.

All Other Digital Marketing

It’s not up to you to ensure that a digital marketing source is properly credited in your GA account for sending you traffic – it’s up to each vendor. This means you should require your vendors to ensure their own traffic referrals receive proper credit. (They can set this up easily on their end and show you the results in your GA account – nothing you need worry about.)

Properly tracking their calls, leads and sales in the CRM is also their individual responsibility, not yours.

Marketing attribution is where it gets tricky.

Crediting some portion of a sale to a given marketing source via an attribution model is a little more complicated. Though again, proving the value of this is not your concern… it’s the concern of each individual vendor who wants the credit.

To be clear, attribution modeling is not dumb or worthless; however, it’s also not the be-all-end-all of digital marketing measurement. Moreover, each vendor wants to apply only the specific attribution model that puts their service in the best light. So the question on how to hold them all accountable becomes as complicated as some of the models.

How to Use Attribution and Analytics to Hold Everyone Accountable

Okay, you’ve left the maintenance of your GA and any attribution modeling up to each vendor, now what?

Just use this simple Step-by-Step Guide to Holding Marketing Vendors Accountable When You Know Absolutely Nothing about Google Analytics or Attribution:

STEP ONE: When your vendor is conducting their 15-minute monthly review of all the goodness they brought you last month, just ask them to stop with the fluff and get right to the results.

STEP TWO: Start with two words: show me. “Show me where and how you sold us some cars last month.”

STEP THREE: You should now expect to see some “results” presented by your vendor. If the “results” they display don’t make sense to you, this is a “them problem” not a “you problem.”

STEP FOUR: Say, “I don’t understand. Explain to me how that impacted our bottom line in words anyone could understand.”

STEP FIVE: After they’ve explained this to you follow up with, “Prove it.”

STEP SIX: If they can prove their worth in plain language that makes sense to you, congratulate them on making it to next month. If they cannot, then thank them for their time and cancel their services.

It really is that easy; and no Google Analytics or attribution expertise required on your end! Just the ability to ask the right questions and demand answers in a plain language that make sense to laymen like you, me and virtually everyone else in the world.

Good selling!