For starters, GA4 is the future of analytics
If your auto dealership hasn’t made the switch, now is the time to step on the gas (UA will be discontinued on July 1, 2023). GA4 has introduced a suite of new metrics and features, such as predictive metrics and advanced machine learning capabilities. These all sound great on paper, but it’s easy to dismiss them if their utilization doesn’t translate to accelerated performance, or more importantly, bottom-line sales.
Fortunately, the added fluff in GA4 is actually not fluff at all, but rather powerful tools with the potential to dramatically improve your cost-per-acquisition and render higher profitability margins. Here is our three-step breakdown of how you can harness GA4’s most powerful tool, predictive metrics:
Understand How GA4’s Engagement Reporting is Relevant To Auto Dealers
Before diving headfirst into predictive metrics, it’s important to understand how GA4’s engagement-based reporting can and should guide your advertising goals.
In reporting, GA4 introduces several new engagement metrics including Engaged Sessions and Engaged Sessions Per User. An Engaged Session is counted whenever a user’s session results in any of the following: a conversion, two pageviews, or ten seconds of time on a page. For auto dealers, an Engaged Session may represent a new customer landing on a Vehicle Detail Page and browsing all of the pictures.
Given that auto customers are prone to have longer journeys to conversion, it becomes imperative to re-engage the customer until they are ready to purchase the vehicle. That’s why Engaged Sessions Per User should represent the new priority metric for auto dealers looking to increase their cash flow. When a user engages multiple times with a Vehicle Detail page, their likelihood of making a purchase greatly increases.
Leverage Predictive Metrics To Create Audiences
With Engaged Sessions Per User helping you determine which advertising activities are profitable, it will become clear that retargeting practices are especially helpful for enlarging the pool of Returning Users. However, retargeting ads may dilute the productivity of your spend if they attempt to re-engage users that show no conversion potential. That’s why GA4’s new predictive audiences can help restructure your retargeting strategy to only focus on retargeting users where it matters.
GA4’s predictive metrics allow you to create retargeting audiences based on behavioral signals like purchase probability. Given that your website has enough data to train the machine learning model, GA4 can provide the following:
Purchase Probability: The probability that a user will purchase in the next 7 days.
Churn Probability: The probability that a recently active user will churn (not engage with your website) in the next 7 days.
If your auto dealership offers an online purchase option, then knowing the purchase probability of any given user is invaluable for determining who you should target. Yet, auto dealers that don’t offer online purchases can still leverage churn probability to retarget audiences that would have been otherwise lost, thereby increasing the average number of Engaged Sessions Per User (the key indicator for pending profitability).
You can build predictive audiences by navigating to Admin > Audiences > New Audience > Predictive and then selecting which type of audience you’d like to build.
Personalize The Retargeting Campaign With The Predictive Audience In Mind
After you create your predictive audience list, you can connect the data to your ad platform and start your retargeting campaign. VIN-Retargeting Ads or Vehicle Listing Ads are ideal for re-engaging customers with the original vehicle they expressed interest in. However for all other types of campaigns, you can adjust the ad copy or creative for a personalized approach relative to where the predictive audience is at in their customer journey.
For example, if you plan to re-engage an audience that has a higher likelihood to churn, then the ad should provide a strong incentive for the user to return to your website. Advertising personalized promos or special offers would be optimal for re-engaging this type of audience.
We believe that as GA4’s predictive modeling matures, Google will expand the diversity of predictive metrics to other conversion events like form fills or phone calls. For the time being, leveraging purchase probability or churn probability to create audiences for personalized retargeting will undoubtedly lower your cost-per-acquisition. Your ad spend will be hyper-focused on re-engaging those who need the nudge to get across the finish line.
Confused? There's An Easier Solution: Kudos
If you’re still lost with GA4, fortunately there is an all-encompassing, one-word solution: Kudos. It was built with the goal of giving you better customer insights, and an easier and more effective way to analyze your digital marketing.
Like GA4, Kudos provides analytics about your digital ecosystem; drawing data from a variety of sources including GA4’s powerful API. However, the presentation of the data is much more intuitive than GA4’s interface because it was built for business stakeholders, not the digital marketer.