Creating Custom Scripts to Track Engagement

On today’s episode of Auto Marketing Now, Brian Pasch talks about Google Tag Manager and creating custom scripts to track customer engagement.



Brian: Welcome to Auto Marketing Now. On today’s show, we’re going to talk about Google Tag Manager and creating custom scripts to track consumer engagement on your website. Of course, we’re going to have our popular email grab bag. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started with today’s show.

Brian: On today’s show, we’re going to go into the lab to talk about Google Tag Manager and creating scripts to track consumer engagement. This is a very technical topic, but it’s been highly requested from viewers of the show. So what I want to do is take a few minutes to explain Tag Manager and then we’ll go live to learn more about how to configure events through Google Tag Manager.

Brian: You know, I’ve been writing for a year and a half about the need for better metrics to inspect automotive marketing investments. In fact, we’ve published the PCG Specification for Google Analytics, which lists not only the standard goals, but the events that can be used to track consumer engagement on your SRPs and BDPs and your specials pages. And, well, I couldn’t be more excited that so many companies have supported this specification. The largest companies like Cox Automotive or CDK Global all are supporting this common specification, and 2018 should be a great year for multi-store dealers with different website platforms and different ad tech. For the first time they’ll have a unified set of events and goals to measure performance. We’ll call that the bake off between different ad tech solutions and website platforms.

Brian: But how do you do it? Well, keep in mind that in order for you to track whether a consumer flicks through the photo gallery on their mobile phone or clicks through the photo gallery on their desktop or laptop computer, an event has to be triggered, meaning there has to be a way to measure what the consumer’s doing and the click actions that they’re taking. And this is what Google Analytics Events are made for. The key here is that you have to create an event for everything you want to track. Scrolling down the page, that’s an event. Clicking on the “get e-price” button, that’s an event. Clicking on “value my trade” button, that’s another event.

Brian: So you can imagine on a typical dealership website, there could be 30, 40, 50 events that you would want to track to measure what consumers are doing on your website. How do you do it? Well, it’s not in Google Analytics. Actually it’s in Google Tag Manager and writing Tag Manager scripts to watch what consumers are doing, and if they do a specific action, well, then you capture it and send an event to Google Analytics. “Yup, they clicked on the trade-in button.” Or, “Yup, they clicked on the get e-price button.”

Brian: In order to accomplish this project, well, my general recommendation for most dealers is they hire a company to write the Tag Manager scripts and to make sure that the website is set up to comply with the PCG Specification. But some of you may want to understand just how it works, and what does it look like, so that you can maybe inspect the work that your consultant does or to tinker around, because I know some of the viewers here are more hands on people.

Brian: So let’s go into the lab and we’re going to walk through inspecting Tag Manager containers and writing Tag Manager scripts with the team at Vistadash and the experts who have configured thousands of events for dealers all across the country. So let’s take a look and see how it’s done.

Speaker 2: Before Ashley shows us specifically how to use Google Tag Manager, let me show you a few things as a way of introduction. PCG developed a series of specifications for Google Analytics, which includes goal names and event names. Remember, Google Tag Manager is used to fire events into Google Analytics for specific customer engagement. So clicks, scrolls, video views are all an event that can be triggered in Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager sits on every page of the dealership’s website. In the container are Tag Manager scripts. Ashley in a minute is going to show you how to use the Google Tag Manager tools to build these scripts. And the idea here is that when you build your custom scripts, you can track all the things that consumers are doing on your website and send them into Google Analytics.

Speaker 2: For example, there’s so many different call to action buttons on a dealership’s website, and all these names are part of the PCG Specification. You could see for things like chat, not only do we have basic chat events like “start,” “engage,” “complete,” but if your chat company will listen to or mark the type of chat, those events can go into Google Analytics as well. It goes the same with calls. Very basic call tracking companies can use “phone call” and “phone call confirmed” to track when a phone number is called, or advanced companies will send detailed events into Google Analytics to let the dealer know exactly what type of phone call it was. So what are we waiting for? Let’s meet Ashley, and Ashley will just take a few minutes to walk us through Google Tag Manager.

Ashley Bransky: Hi, my name is Ashley Bransky and I’m with the Vistadash team. Today we’re going to be showing you Google Tag Manager and how to track events on your site. The first thing that you want to do with Google Tag Manager is get your script. To get your script, you would make an account in Google Tag Manager and put in your URL. After you put in your URL, you will get this page. You would take this script and give it to your developer to put on your source code. Each Google Tag Manager script has its own unique Google Tag Manager number. To see if the Google Tag Manager script is installed properly on your site, you’d go to your site and download the Chrome extension Google Tag Assistant. You would be able to see your unique Google tag number. As you can see, this one is properly installed on the site.

Ashley Bransky: This is your Google Tag container. This is where we would be putting in the triggers and tags to make your events fire. The first thing that you would want to do is open up your preview mode. You would then go to your site and refresh the screen. To open up the preview mode on your site, you’d go into your settings, disable the cache, and refresh your site. Once you close that box, you’ll now see your Google Tag Manager preview box. You would then go back into your container and create your variables. This is where you will configure the container to let you know about the click events on your sites. You would then also set up your variable for your Google Analytics. For demonstration purposes, we named this one GAHostname. We set the variable to a constant, and we put in our value.

Ashley Bransky: We are now set up to start tagging the site. Say that we wanted to track how many clicks, “confirm availability.” We would click the button, and in the summary we would go to the click that matches. Click your variables, and down here you could see for click text, matches “confirm availability.” This is the event that we now want to track. You would then go back into your Google Tag Manager and click “new tags.” You would name your container Universal Analytics, track type is an event, category, your action is a click, and your label is page path. Your value is left blank, and your non-interaction hit will be left at false. Down here is where you would put in your variable to attach this to your Google Analytics Account.

Ashley Bransky: We would then set up the trigger. You would name your trigger. You would choose “all elements” and “some clicks.” You would use the drop down to use “click text equals,” and you want to paste exactly how it’s shown on the account. Hit save and refresh the container. Go back to your site, refresh the site, and click “confirm availability.” In your preview mode, you will now see tags fire on this page and CPE-Confirm-Availability. We are now tracking each click. You can do that for any button on your site. We have it for price alerts. We also have it for test drive and more information. This was a quick guide on your Google Tag Manager and how to track events on your page.

Brian: Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s segment, because, well, so many people are been confused about what Tag Manager is and how to create events. Of course, as I mentioned before, it’s so critical that your website conforms to the PCG Specification. Not that PCG benefits at all, it’s so that you can finally inspect the quality of traffic that’s being sent to your website for your ad channels. If you have any questions about what you saw today, just send me an email at the address below. Brian@pcgcompanies, and I’m sure one of our Tag Manager specialists can answer your questions, and that’s today’s Into the Lab segment.

Brian: And now for today’s Email Grab Bag question. A marketing manager wrote in to ask, “Brian, what would be the cause of some of my events in Tag Manager not to fire correctly?” While I wanted to save this question for a day in which we talked about Tag Manager and the events, let me give you a few examples of what could be wrong. The number one reason why events don’t fire properly is that there’s multiple Tag Manager containers and something in one of those other containers is conflicting with what you’re doing. There is a way in which you can inspect how many Tag Manager installations are on your website. You can use this link. It’s a free tool that will check your Google Analytics setup and show you how many tag manager containers are installed. I would start there, because most of the time dealers have allowed their vendors to put their own Tag Manager container instead of putting everything into one container.

Brian: Now, originally, when Tag Manager was designed, that was the idea. One container, and different people can put their Facebook retargeting pixel or the Google retargeting pixel, or some type of conversion pixel in the Tag Manager container. But what has happened is certain vendors have created a second or a third container because they don’t want another vendor to mess with their code, and I understand that, but it does create some logistical problems at times.

Brian: I try to recommend that you shouldn’t have more than two Tag Manager containers on your website at all, and sometimes three may be feasible, but then you have this problem of making sure that the scripts don’t step on each other. That’s normally what’s wrong. Otherwise, it’s a syntax error, meaning you are not sending the events to the right GA account. Maybe there’s a typo in the GA account, or the script isn’t firing properly. That’s why I like to go into Google Realtime and open up a session with the dealership website, open up another session with Google Realtime, and as you click on certain buttons, you should be seeing those events firing in Google Analytics Realtime. It’s very common that, well, you can identify which events aren’t firing, go back into the code and do some troubleshooting.

Brian: I hope that helps you, and if you have a question and I use it on the show, I’ll send you my brand new book Who Sold It? It’s a full discussion on automotive attribution and new ways to know if your marketing investments are working to help you sell more cars in a digital age. Thank you so much for watching today’s show, and I’ll see you next week on Auto Marketing Now.