In the fast-paced and ever-evolving digital market for car dealerships, understanding and leveraging the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is akin to having a powerful GPS for online navigation. Just as an experienced driver relies on instruments and gauges to understand a vehicle’s performance, a savvy car dealer must employ a range of KPIs to steer their digital marketing efforts toward success. It’s no longer enough just to have an online presence; car dealers need to understand the nuances of their presence and how it influences consumer behavior and drives business. With an abundance of online platforms and a plethora of metrics available, it can be challenging to know which car dealership digital marketing KPIs truly reveal the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Without this data, how do you even know if what you’re doing is working? Each auto dealership’s digital marketing KPI serves as a vital checkpoint in your journey towards digital marketing mastery. From search engine optimization (SEO) to social media engagement, these indicators reflect more than just your current performance. They also provide insights for fine-tuning your strategies, which enables you to adapt to the ever-changing digital marketing terrain. As your team of automotive digital experts, Dealer Authority wants to help you learn how to harness these car dealership digital marketing KPIs to drive traffic, enhance customer engagement, and accelerate sales. Whether you’re looking to refine your current strategies or build new ones from the ground up, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the digital marketing highway with confidence and precision.

SEO: Mastering the Digital Highway

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a fundamental aspect of any auto dealership’s digital marketing. It’s not just about driving traffic to your website; it’s about attracting the right kind of traffic: customers who are genuinely interested in what you offer. Let’s look at each SEO-related KPI to uncover its significance and how it can be leveraged for maximum impact.

Users (Total Number of Website Users)

Definition: This car dealership’s digital marketing KPI measures the total number of unique visitors to your website over a specific period.
Importance: It directly indicates your website’s reach and appeal. For instance, a spike in users after launching a new marketing campaign can signal its effectiveness in drawing attention.
Example: If your dealership launches an SEO campaign focusing on ‘Electric Vehicles’ and you notice a 30% increase in unique users, it implies the campaign’s relevance to consumer interests.

Sessions (Total Number of Website Browsing Sessions)

Definition: A session is a group of user interactions with your website within a given time frame.
Importance: It helps understand the volume of active engagement on your site. High session numbers might indicate effective SEO strategies or successful external marketing campaigns.
Example: Suppose a blog post about “The Future of SUVs” on your website generates a significant number of new sessions; it highlights the content’s effectiveness in attracting visitors.

Engagement Rate (% of Users Who Engage with Website)

Definition: This metric reflects the percentage of users interacting with your site beyond basic browsing, like filling out forms or using the chat feature.
Importance: Engagement rate helps gauge how compelling and user-friendly your website is. Higher engagement rates often correlate with higher sales potential.
Example: If your ‘Test Drive Booking’ feature sees a high engagement rate, it suggests that users find it easy to navigate and are interested in experiencing your vehicles first-hand.

Sessions Per User (Average Number of Times a Single User Initiates a Browsing Session)

Definition: This car dealership’s digital marketing KPI measures the average number of sessions an individual user initiates.
Importance: It’s a key indicator of user loyalty and interest. Frequent revisits suggest strong user interest or consideration of your offerings.
Example: A customer revisiting your site multiple times to view a specific car model may indicate a high interest in purchasing.

Average Engagement Time (The Average Time a User is Engaged with the Website)

Definition: This metric calculates the average duration a user spends actively engaged on your site.
Importance: Longer engagement times often indicate compelling content and effective website design, leading to more profound customer interest and potential sales.
Example: Users spending an average of 5 minutes on your ‘Vehicle Comparison’ page suggests they find the content valuable in their decision-making process.

Events Per Session (The Number of User-Initiated Events Occurring Per Browsing Session)

Definition: It tracks the number of interactions (events) a user has with your website in a single session, like clicking on a vehicle detail page or playing a promotional video.
Importance: It’s an excellent measure of how engaging and interactive your site is. More events per session can indicate a more dynamic and engaging user experience.
Example: If users frequently use the ‘Customize Your Car’ feature during their sessions, it’s a sign that this interactive tool effectively engages them.

Pageviews Per Session (The Average Number of Pages Viewed by a Single User Per Session)

Definition: This auto dealership digital marketing KPI measures the average number of pages a user views in a single session.
Importance: It provides insights into how well your site encourages exploration. More pageviews can indicate effective site navigation and compelling content.
Example: Increased pageviews per session after redesigning your site’s layout suggests improved navigability and content accessibility.

By closely monitoring these SEO KPIs, car dealerships can improve their website’s performance and gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. This data-driven approach allows for refined SEO strategies, ensuring that your digital presence connects with your target audience more effectively, ultimately driving more traffic and sales.

GBP: Harnessing Google Business Profile for Enhanced Visibility

Google Business Profile (GBP), previously known as Google My Business, is a crucial tool for local SEO and online presence, especially for auto dealership digital marketing. It is an online storefront, providing your potential customers with essential information and interactive features. Understanding the following KPIs in your GBP can offer valuable insights into how people perceive your business interacting online.

Total Interactions (User Actions via Buttons in GBP Listing)

Definition: This metric tallies the total number of actions users take on your GBP listing, such as clicking on call, website, or direction buttons.
Importance: It measures the direct engagement level of users with your dealership. Higher interaction rates often signal effective local SEO and an appealing online presence.
Example: If you notice increased interactions following a promotional event, it may suggest successful visibility and engagement with local audiences.

Website Visits

Definition: Tracks the number of times users click through to your website from your GBP listing.
Importance: It directly measures how effectively your GBP listing drives traffic to your website. This car dealership’s digital marketing KPI is vital for assessing the ROI of your local SEO efforts.
Example: A spike in website visits after updating your GBP with new images or offers can indicate these changes attract more potential customers.

Phone Calls

Definition: Counts the number of calls made to your dealership directly through the GBP listing.
Importance: This metric strongly indicates customer intent and immediate interest. Many calls can suggest that your GBP listing provides compelling information or offers.
Example: Monitoring call patterns, like increasing calls on weekends, can help align staff schedules and marketing strategies accordingly.

Direction Requests

Definition: The number of times users request directions to your dealership via your GBP listing.
Importance: It’s a valuable indicator of local interest and potential foot traffic. Many direction requests often correlate with physical visits to your dealership.
Example: If direction requests increase following local SEO optimizations, such as adding local keywords, it implies a successful enhancement of your local online presence.


Definition: This car dealership’s digital marketing KPI measures how often your GBP listing is viewed on Google Search and Maps.
Importance: Views can gauge the visibility and reach of your listing. More views can reflect effective local SEO and a strong online presence.
Example: A steady increase in views can result from maintaining an up-to-date and informative GBP listing, suggesting that your dealership is capturing local search interest effectively.

Effectively leveraging these KPIs from your Google Business Profile can provide invaluable insights into how local customers find and interact with your dealership online. Regularly analyzing and responding to these metrics can fine-tune your local SEO strategies, enhance your online visibility, and convert online interactions into in-store visits and sales.

SEM: Turbocharging Your Marketing with Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a potent tool for auto dealership digital marketing, using paid advertising to enhance visibility and drive targeted traffic. Understanding and optimizing the following SEM KPIs can boost your dealership’s online presence and convert clicks into customers.


Definition: Measures the number of times users click on your paid advertisements.
Importance: Clicks are a primary indicator of ad relevance and initial user interest.
Example: A high number of clicks on an ad for a new car model launch suggests effective ad targeting and compelling ad copy.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Definition: The average cost you pay each time a user clicks on your ad.
Importance: CPC is critical for budget management and understanding the cost-effectiveness of your ads.
Example: If your CPC decreases while maintaining ad quality, it indicates increased efficiency in your ad spend.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Definition: The ratio of ad clicks to impressions, showing how often people click your ad after seeing it.
Importance: A higher CTR indicates more effective ads and better alignment with user intent.
Example: An ad with a high CTR means it’s resonating well with your target audience, possibly due to or compelling ad creatives.


Definition: Tracks the number of times users take the desired action after clicking your ad, like filling out a contact form or scheduling a test drive.
Importance: Conversions directly measure SEM effectiveness in driving desired customer actions.
Example: A high conversion rate for a ‘Book a Test Drive’ ad campaign reflects its success in turning interest into action.

Average CPC (Avg CPC)

Definition: The average amount paid for each click across your campaign.
Importance: This car dealership digital marketing KPI helps assess the overall cost-efficiency of your ad campaigns.
Example: A lower average CPC combined with high-quality leads indicates a more cost-effective ad campaign.


Definition: The average cost of acquiring a conversion through your paid ads.
Importance: This KPI helps understand the financial investment required to gain a customer or lead.
Example: A decreasing cost-per-conversion trend suggests improving efficiency in converting prospects to leads or customers.

Impression Share

Definition: The percentage of impressions your ads receive compared to the total number they are eligible for.
Importance: This metric indicates the potential reach of your ads and can highlight missed opportunities.
Example: A low impression share might signal a need for budget adjustments or bid strategy changes.


Definition: The number of times your ads are displayed.
Importance: Impressions reflect the exposure and reach of your ads.
Example: A high number of impressions without corresponding clicks may indicate a need to refine ad targeting or creatives.

Phone Calls

Definition: Counts the calls received through your SEM campaigns.
Importance: Phone calls strongly indicate immediate customer interest and engagement.
Example: A rise in phone calls from an ad campaign suggests successful targeting and compelling call-to-action.

Lead Forms

Definition: Measures the number of leads generated through forms submitted via SEM campaigns.
Importance: Lead form submissions are a key measure of campaign effectiveness in generating qualified leads.
Example: Increased completed lead forms indicate that your ad effectively encourages users to take the next step in their buying journey.

Click to Call

Definition: Tracks the number of clicks on call extensions in your ads.
Importance: This KPI indicates user preference for immediate voice contact and can gauge ad effectiveness.
Example: High ‘click to call’ rates can suggest that users seek quick answers or immediate service.

Store Visits

Definition: Estimates the number of physical store visits from your SEM campaigns.
Importance: It’s a tangible measure of online-to-offline conversion effectiveness.
Example: An increase in in-store visits after an ad campaign indicates successful offline engagement driven by online efforts.

Finance Applications

Definition: The number of finance applications initiated from your SEM efforts.
Importance: This metric is crucial for dealerships offering financing options, indicating user intent to purchase.
Example: More finance applications following specific car model ads could indicate successful targeting of serious buyers.


Definition: Tracks how often directions to your dealership are requested via your ads.
Importance: This auto dealership’s digital marketing KPI indicates a strong intent to visit, reflecting effective local targeting.
Example: An increase in direction requests can correlate with specific local ad campaigns or promotions.


Definition: A broad measure of user interaction with your ads, including clicks, social shares, and comments.
Importance: High engagement rates often indicate ad relevance and a strong connection with the audience.
Example: Ads that encourage user interaction, like special offers or events, often see higher engagement rates.
Car dealerships can create more targeted, efficient, and effective ad campaigns by meticulously analyzing and optimizing these SEM KPIs. This data-driven approach increases online visibility and drives meaningful actions, ultimately translating into increased sales, a higher ROI, and better customer engagement.

SOCIAL: Navigating the Social Media Landscape

The social media marketing aspect of auto dealership digital marketing is more than just posting content; it’s about creating engaging, targeted, measurable campaigns that drive action and foster community. By understanding the following KPIs, dealerships can effectively navigate the social media landscape, connecting with audiences and converting interest into dealership visits and sales.


Definition: The number of times users have clicked on your social media posts or ads.
Importance: Clicks are a primary indicator of audience interest and the first step in user engagement.
Example: High clicks on a post about a new car model could indicate strong interest in the vehicle and prompt further targeted marketing.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Definition: The average cost you pay for each click on your social media ads.
Importance: CPC helps manage your budget and assess the cost-effectiveness of your social media campaigns.
Example: A lower CPC, combined with high-quality engagement, suggests efficient use of your advertising budget.


Definition: The average number of times each user sees your ad.
Importance: This metric helps to understand ad exposure and avoid audience fatigue.
Example: A frequency that’s too high might lead to ad fatigue, reducing the effectiveness of the campaign.

Outbound Clicks

Definition: Counts the clicks leading users away from the social platform, typically to your website.
Importance: Outbound clicks are a key measure of how effectively your social content drives traffic to your targeted destination, such as your website or a specific landing page.
Example: A campaign with high outbound clicks to a promotional offer page indicates successful user engagement and interest.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Definition: The ratio of ad clicks to impressions on social media.
Importance: A higher CTR suggests your content is relevant and appealing to your audience.
Example: An ad with a high CTR for a financing deal could indicate that the offer is attractive to potential buyers on that platform.

Additional Dealership Digital Marketing KPIs for Social: Reach and Impressions

Reach and Impressions can be pertinent KPIs to measure for your social campaigns depending on the objective or goals of your ads and posts.


Definition: The total number of unique users who have seen your post or ad.
Importance Helps understand how far your content is spreading and how many unique users are exposed to your brand.


Definition: The total number of times your content has been displayed on users’ screens.
Importance of Impressions: Impressions show how often your content is being shown, which can impact brand awareness and recall.
Example: A post with high reach and impressions but low engagement might need tweaking in content or targeting to better resonate with the audience.

Leveraging these social media KPIs allows car dealerships to understand the effectiveness of their social media campaigns. This insight allows for more strategic content creation, better audience targeting, and more effective budget allocation.

The Ebbs and Flows of Reach & Impressions in Social Media Campaigns

If you run a brand awareness campaign, you might want the overall reach and impressions to be higher. On the flip side, if you’re running a highly targeted campaign for in-market new SUV shoppers, this targeting might provide a smaller Reach, and, therefore, fewer Impressions. However, that’s not necessarily bad, as you want to reach the target audience who will engage your ad.

Mastering your understanding of these KPIs and how they should perform within each of your campaigns allows you to strategize more effectively. This leads to a stronger online presence, more engaged audiences, and increased dealership traffic and sales.

Driving Forward With Key Performance Indicators for Car Dealers Insights

The path to a successful marketing campaign is navigated through data-driven insights and strategic adjustments. Whether it’s through mastering SEO, leveraging Google Business Profile, optimizing SEM, or engaging effectively on social media, each set of KPIs offers unique and actionable insights. These insights are your roadmap to understanding customer behaviors, preferences, and how they interact with your dealership online.

Of course, understanding these car dealership digital marketing key performance indicators is just the beginning. The real power lies in using this knowledge to refine your strategies, enhance your digital presence, and drive meaningful engagement with your target audience. Staying ahead in the world of digital marketing requires agility, continuous learning, and the willingness to adapt.

Partnering with experts can make all the difference for car dealers looking to supercharge their digital marketing efforts. Dealer Authority stands ready to help you navigate the complexities. Our team of seasoned professionals specializes in crafting customized digital marketing strategies that resonate with your unique audience, driving traffic to your site, and converting online interest into showroom visits and sales.

As the automotive industry continues to evolve, so must our strategies for connecting with customers. By keeping a finger on the pulse of these key performance indicators and collaborating with experts like Dealer Authority, your dealership can confidently speed ahead in the digital race, leaving the competition in the rearview mirror.

Contact us today, and let’s shift your dealership’s digital marketing into high gear.

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