There are hundreds of companies offering business owners Google AdWords campaign management services.  The Return on Investment (ROI) you will see from using AdWords will depend on a number of factors, but one thing is certain, you should be inspecting the quality of website traffic that is generated by your AdWords campaigns.

If the only AdWords metrics you are inspecting are Ad Impressions, Cost per Click (CPC) and Cost per Lead (CPL) then you have no clue how well these campaigns are working to sell cars faster and at the lowest cost possible.  The majority of car purchases are from stealth consumers who do not submit a lead form or call the dealership before they show up at the dealership.

In the automotive industry, dealers should be inspecting their AdWords campaigns using additional campaign metrics like number of VDP Views, Cost per VDP View (CVV), and Percentage VDP Views (PVV). These metrics apply to all shoppers and give dealers insights into future showroom traffic and sales.

Of course, for those consumers who identify themselves, dealers should be looking at Cost per Sale (CPS) from their AdWords campaigns that generate calls and leads. If you are not tracking phone call conversions, you should be since consumers are making more calls than submitting lead forms on dealership websites.

Google Recommends Connecting Analytics & AdWords

The reality is that in order for dealers to have this level of transparency, Google Analytics and Google AdWords have to be connected. This is a very easy task, taking only one minute to setup, yet many dealers are being told that it is “hard”, “difficult”, or “not possible” to do.   This is the Big AdWords Lie.

So, I copied a section from the Google AdWords blog for you to read below:

Linking a Google Analytics account to your AdWords account can help you analyze visitor activity on your website. This information can shed light on how much of your website traffic or sales is driven by AdWords, and help you improve your ads and your website.

Why link AdWords to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that keeps track of all the traffic that comes to a website. It can tell you:

– How many people visit your site
– How many pages they view and how long they stay
– What series of pages they saw
– The pages from which people leave your website

When you create a link between Google Analytics and AdWords, you allow four types of data to flow between the two. This means you can:

– Import Google Analytics goals and transactions into AdWords
– View Google Analytics site engagement data in AdWords
– Create remarketing lists in Analytics to use in AdWords for targeting specific audiences
– Automatically view your AdWords click and cost data alongside your Analytics site engagement data

After reading this section, do you get the impression that connecting AdWords and Analytics would be helpful to dealers looking to inspect and improve their AdWords accounts?  If it takes less than a minute to connect Adwords and Analytics, why do people not setup that link when they first start managing your AdWords campaign?

Yes, I know that many dealers will not take the time to inspect their AdWords campaigns, yet they should.   The next section of this blog will make a clear case why inspecting AdWords must be someone’s job at the dealership.

 Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) Views and AdWords

If dealers want to know the number of VDP views that their AdWords campaigns are generating, they will need Google AdWords and Analytics connected.  If dealers want to know the Cost per VDP View (CVV) generated by their AdWords campaigns, then they will need to have Google AdWords and Analytics connected.

In the chart below, an actual AdWords campaign for a Ford dealer was analyzed for  % VDP Views and Cost per VDP View (CVV). You can see that the campaigns ranged from as low as $2.62 to a high of $75.45 per Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) view.  If these AdWords campaigns are designed to sell cars, they should have both a higher percentage of VDP visits and a lower CVV.

The range of the CVV is too high and when you start paying over $10 to get a consumer to view ONE Vehicle Detail Page (VDP), you are blowing through ad dollars! Without the connection of AdWords and Analytics this information cannot be calculated, and you can see why this AdWords vendor might NOT want to show this data to their client.

Increasing VDP Views is directly associated to the velocity that cars will sell at your dealership. Read the Cobalt study that shows just 11 more VDP views can reduce the time to sell a car by 44%. VDP views and trends are very important metrics used calculate the ROI of your marketing investments.



Is there room for improvement on this AdWords campaign?  Yes indeed!  How about that Display campaign with a 93% bounce rate and only 4.3% of the visitors ever got to a Vehicle Detail Page!  Is that banner campaign is supposed to be targeting “Auto Intenders” then that is the worst demographic mapping, banner message, or landing page in the history of automotive marketing!

Is Cost per VDP View (CVV) the only metric that dealers should be inspecting?  No, but it is a good one to add to your AdWords analysis.  The one campaign that is shaded out is a service campaign that does not need to generate VDP views.

As Google indicated above, one of the benefits of connecting AdWords and Analytics is “What series of pages they saw“, and VDPs are very important pages for consumers to visit if you want to sell cars faster!  The more VDP views a car receives, the faster it will sell.

How Do You See If They Are Connected?

In the example shown below, if you go into your Google Analytics Account, under “Acquisition”, and under “AdWords” you can click on “Campaigns” and if you can see all your campaigns listed, you are all set.  I masked some campaign names with the words “Hidden” so as not to disclose the business name.


Once you can see the Google AdWords campaign activity in Analytics, you can set filters to see VDP Views and to calculate Cost per VDP. Enhanced AdWords analysis and metrics is also available by third party analytics tools, and tools specifically designed for car dealers like ROI-BOT.

Google Analytics Provides Independent Data

Dealers should have an INDEPENDENT tool to inspect vendor reports and website analytics provided by their vendors.  All website providers should give dealers access to Google Analytics, which is free.  All Google AdWords vendors should connect your AdWords account to Google Analytics.  It should be that simple and transparent.

If you can’t get that level of transparency from your AdWords vendor, then ask yourself a simple question:  What are they hiding from you?

So put your AdWords vendor to the test:  Ask them to connect your AdWords and Analytics account and see how they answer. Will you hear silence and then….. The Big AdWords Lie?

About the Author

Brian Pasch is the founder of PCG companies. PCG provides customized marketing and training solutions for businesses that are committed to dominate their local market.