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Did anyone else see AutoTrader Referral traffic tank in GA?

Dan Sayer

Getting Refreshed
Dec 4, 2009
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Dan
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:

GOOGLE ANALYTICS UPDATE:

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.
 

mikesayre

Getting Refreshed
Jul 11, 2009
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Mike
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.
Yes, I've seen this issue across my group, fortunately with ad sources I'm not solely dependent on UTM tracking & have just ignored it. Kind of frustrating that these are rudimentary oversights, maybe reckless on a large scale for them.

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Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
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Alex
AT has been tanking for some time (a good two years) and anyone that tells you differently (they and their Cox brethren) are blatantly lying. Don't take my word for it (although it was a steady trend within about 250 dealer GA accounts that I managed), just run a query on this site, same story.

Causation, CarGurus is eating their lunch. Cars.com still has some good numbers, but those are dwindling too.
 

Kathleen

Noob
Mar 23, 2019
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Kathleen
I would like to learn e-commerce analytics. What are the best resources (apart from google analytics academy itself) - perhaps an online course ? Are there any specific online groups or associations where I can find my way to hang out and learn from the professionals somewhere?
 

Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
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Alex
Forget Google Analytics for e-commerce, go license Driven-Data and their CORE @ https://www.driven-data.com/core/. Predictive and soon to be Prescriptive Analytics. It's how Automotive Mastermind sold for over $400M. Don't waste your time with GA. @jon.berna
 

Dan Sayer

Getting Refreshed
Dec 4, 2009
91
74
18
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Dan
@Alexander Lau but doesn't Driven Data still rely on a properly UTM tagged inbound traffic to determine performance? They aren't going to be able to define everything in Direct either. @jon.berna ?
 

Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
2,150
588
113
First Name
Alex
@Alexander Lau but doesn't Driven Data still rely on a properly UTM tagged inbound traffic to determine performance? They aren't going to be able to define everything in Direct either. @jon.berna ?
I'm referring to e-com and cost per actual sale data. I should have replied directly to her post. GA is way overrated, when it comes down to understanding what actually made the sale and the interpretation of what to do next and how to sell more cars. It's just too hard to configure for your average dealer user. Direct and referral traffic is great... but how deep does that go?