Without going into the Classified vendor debate, did anyone with AutoTrader notice the Referral traffic (as labeled as Referral) tanked in the last 45 days?  After digging into it, pushing the issue with them, insisting they check their UTM structure, I received this email from a regional rep. In full disclosure, the rep did address and correct, so AT did take correct action which I appreciate.  Can you spot the issue(s) with their initial reply to me?

Hello Dan,

Please see the below communication that we will be sending to our employee’s this afternoon:


Over the past several months, we’ve been receiving feedback from Sales reps that AT Google Analytics site traffic attribution is not reporting accurately. It appeared the tracking code which allows that attribution in Google Analytics was missing.  Clients have been unable to track attribution to capture traffic coming to them from Autotrader via Dealer Website Links.

The problem has been addressed by appending Dealer Website Links with a UTM code, and subsequent campaign code specific to the referring page.

?utm_source=autotrader.com&utm_campaign=srp where the click comes from the Search Results Page

?utm_source=autotrader.com&utm_campaign=vdp where the click comes from the Vehicle Details Page

?utm_source=autotrader.com&utm_campaign=ddp where the click comes from the Dealer Detail Page

We strongly encourage you all to share these UTM codes with your clients who use Google Analytics. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thank you!

If you said, “Those UTM’s are incorrect” you win!   If you also said, “Why would they ask the dealer to correct an AT web link?” you are also a winner!  Needless to say, I sent a reply with the correct UTM (adding &_medium=referral).  Anyone else see the Referral drop?  Even though I found some traffic in “(not set)” and “unknown” Medium, it was still down as a net total.  We did see massive increases from Cars.com and CarGurus over the same period FYI.

Comment over in the dealer forums