Deceived by Analytics!


deceived_smallADOTAS – The proliferation of SEM specialists highlights the importance of being smart about paid search. Success in getting the most out of your budget requires continuous analysis of conversion data.

Dealer Marketing‘s Michael Sweigart gives his take in the “Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Automotive Search Engine Marketing Budget.” (Don’t you love it when the title saves you from having to provide further explanation on the article’s topic?)

One item in particular jumped out at me:

Mistake #4: Ignoring analytic reports and focus on traffic

Ninety percent bounce rates on pay-per-click ads mean that 90 percent of your customers leave almost immediately. If you are not looking at analytic reports then you are spending money on the wrong keywords, ads, sites, etc. It is unthinkable that anyone would ignore such great, free data. With a good analysis you can buy more good words and fewer bad words.

I agree with the larger point being made, but we’re seeing lots of evidence that disproves that first sentence about bounce rates. Keyword terms like “acura oil change” and “nissan pathfinder parts” don’t always lead to long website sessions.

If the visitor hits the home page and decides the dealership looks legit, it’s common for a phone call to immediately come from the first landing page. Even though a typical analytics package will tell you this type of visit “bounced” and had no value, a phone call is often times the dealer’s ultimate goal for a website lead.

The opposite scenario also plays out. A generic term like “trucks” (which Sweigart warns about) might generate long website sessions, but this is to be expected of an early-stage researcher who uses a broad term. If the dealer is overly-reliant upon a standard analytics package, those visits might appear more attractive than they should because of the long engagements.

Thanks to Dealer Marketing for an informative article. We’ll keep working on our side to provide tools that help dealers and other search marketers avoid these common mistakes.


  1. If you’re monitoring bounces, then it might be useful to install a mouse tracker to see what the viewer is actually looking at. 85% of what the user looks at is also pointed at by the mouse. Check out this free tool that does this for you and much more:


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