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GA4 is here! Part 2

Part 2: How to make GA4 tell a story about interest in your inventory

When we left off, Google’s scary-exciting new analytics platform, GA4, had launched and was still somewhat shrouded in mystery. It promised to provide deeper insights into customer behavior than its predecessor, Universal Analytics, and tell the story of what takes place on your dealership’s website based on specific events rather than simply measuring users’ session time.

Since then, we’ve had a chance to explore the GA4 landscape and figure out how to help our customers navigate it to their best advantage. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to a new industry standard that is rapidly becoming mandatory and fill you in on specific need-to-know details about setting up GA4 so you can see and interpret your data.

The Automotive Standards Council for GA4

In response to the new GA4 event-based reporting challenges (and there have been many!), industry leaders have come together to form the Automotive Standards Council. Its objective: to set “a universal groundwork for implementing Google Analytics 4 into the industry.” By creating standard reporting categories, the ASC aims to promote transparency, enable an even statistical playing field within the automotive industry, and make it easier for dealers to understand the meaning of their data.

LESA is proud to be a founding member of the ASC, and as such has already taken a leadership role in shaping the standards for auto industry analytics. We are among a distinguished group of major players making up the Council that meet and discuss strategy, ultimately determining how stats will be delivered to Google Analytics.

The Council has identified six main ways in which its work will benefit the industry:

  • Achieve greater data integrity
  • Major web platform support
  • Enabling vendors to add their own unique event categories to GA4
  • Reliable roll-up reporting
  • Improved performance of Google Ads campaigns
  • Pin-pointed conversions by department and conversion outcomes

You can check out these benefits in greater detail by clicking here.

What does this have to do with seeing your data in GA4?

One of the first questions dealers ask now is whether a potential vendor complies with ASC standards. LESA not only complies with ASC, but we are also part of the organization itself, actively participating in creating the new standard that is taking root and becoming an expectation of any media entity that does business with a dealership. In fact, we are leading the charge; to date, none of our competitors have stepped up to take part in the ASC.

LESA’s status as a founding member of the ASC enables dealers and web providers to have complete confidence in our ability to assist with setting up GA4 parameters and educating our customers about how to use the new platform. In short, dealers want and need to work with vendors that comply with ASC standards, and LESA is uniquely qualified to satisfy this requirement.

Disappointingly, GA4 has proven to be quite user-unfriendly. Receiving ASC events is definitely not turn-key and absolutely requires configuration.  As an expert on ASC standards, we’ll walk you through setting up the GA4 dashboard events that matter to you. Data must be sent to GA4 using the ASC standardized event structure, as this enables the channeling of stats, so it’s critical that you are set up correctly to receive data from LESA.

What you need to know right now

Two things: Custom Definitions, and ASC Media Interaction Events.

First, ASC standards must be set up by creating Custom Definitions. If these parameters are not set up, you will be unable to see any ASC data coming in from any vendor. Your LESA rep can check to see if this has been done, and assist you as needed.

Next, you need to become familiar with the ASC Media Interaction Events category. This is LESA’s category, and it’s where you’ll see your stats about photos, video, and 360 spin.

Media Interaction Events contains the sub-category Event Action Result, where specific LESA events are clearly identified. Take a look at this ASC specification table that breaks out a portion of the ASC Media Interaction event sub-categories, including specific vehicle identification.

When you drill down into the Event Action Result sub-category in GA4, you’ll see “lesa_” in front of our event actions. For example, the played_video event action will be listed in GA4 as “lesa_played_video”.

 Here’s a partial screenshot:

This is where GA4 begins to shine! You’ll see data broken down into distinct events, such as whether a video was played, how long it was played, whether the Carfax button was pressed, and so on, as it relates to a vin-specific vehicle identified by its stock number, AKA “item_number.”

For instance, let’s say you just added a 2023 Ford Bronco to your website. You’ll be able to see how many people looked at the vehicle on your website, where they came from – for example, Facebook — how many times the Bronco’s video was played, how many VDP views it received, etc.

The benefit of the new ASC standard is that now you can track all activities related to interest in a specific vehicle. Rather than simply tracking website user traffic, you can now see where the web traffic is coming from, identify trends (e.g., How much interest is there in sedans vs SUVs this month?), and track which actions shoppers take with respect to specific vehicles once they land on your site. All of this new information will help with monitoring ad spend efficacy and enable you to balance your vehicle inventory according to measurable consumer interest.

ASC Media Interaction Events are sent to GA4 when a shopper views a vehicle on any page, and the types of media tracked include video, photos, and 360 spin. You’ll even be able to track which type of media was viewed on which page.

Here’s a current list of the LESA events you’ll be able to track:

  • played_video 
    – 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% 
  • pause_video 
  • resume_video 
  • video_seek 
  • photo_engagement 
  • 360_ultraspin_button 
  • 360_ultraspin_swipe 
  • tradein_button_submit 
  • tradein_button_click 
  • feature_video_play 
  • share_button_page 
  • share_button_email 
  • share_button_link 
  • share_button_twitter 
  • carfax_button 
  • contact_form_submit 
  • Spotlight Buttons – Wheel, Odometer, Navigation, Trunk, Tire

You’ll also be able to track the general amount of interest in specific vehicles, identified by their item number, by viewing the number of ASC events each vehicle accrues and the number of users engaging with its content. Here’s a sample screenshot:

Lots of granular parameters have been standardized via the ASC that show relatable values and user interactions in fine detail. Together, these data illustrate a flow of events that tell a captivating story about your website activity and, most importantly, the level of interest around each specific vehicle.

One and done!

If you’re not loving all this talk of categories and sub-categories, there is a little good news. You only need to set up your ASC standards once. ASC is not part of native GA4, but rather a package of custom stats that dealers care about and that must be installed by someone. Your ad agency or website provider may already have taken care of it if they are part of ASC. But if you’re not sure, or you know that you still need to install ASC standards, we’re here to help.

Is that it?

We’re really just at the beginning of the beginning with GA4. Together with our ASC industry allies, we’re going to be working on shaping the standards to enable the data we collect to tell us as much as it can about buyer interest in individual vehicles. We fully expect these insights to inform a host of improved marketing strategies and inspire developments in new media tools.

Feeling just a bit nostalgic for session time stats? Although GA4 is event-based in its approach to data, LESA is working with our ASC colleagues to see if we can create a category for time measurement so that we can see how this value fits into the data story.

Session times as we knew them may or may not return, but a new way of thinking about time as a factor of engagement is a glimmer on the horizon. And as GA4’s novel approach to measuring engagement brings us closer to correlating events and sales, and farther from merely tracking time spent on a site, we are learning how to coax from it the story we want it to tell.

Stay tuned!

Facebook Marketplace Listings Vehicle Videos

Q: What’s new in Facebook Marketplace listings?
A: Vehicle videos!

Ready for some good news? Facebook Marketplace has begun allowing the addition of video to its wildly popular Marketplace ad listings.

As the #1 merchandising and video lead response app creator, LESA is thrilled! This change means that we will now be able to help our customers leverage their vehicle videos more effectively than ever before by tapping into the audience of approximately 3 billion active monthly Facebook users.

Why is this important?

The data is clear. Video is where it’s at when it comes to attracting shoppers, holding their attention, and ultimately providing them with the information they need to feel it’s worth their time to visit your store.

You need to grab a potential buyer’s interest before you will ever see them in person for a test drive. Nowadays, the car shopping process happens almost entirely online.

  • More than 80% of car buyers search for a new vehicle online before they ever even set foot in a dealership. And they visit only 1.2 dealerships before making a purchase.

And video plays a starring role!

  • 60% of auto shoppers who used online video during the research process reported visiting a dealership or dealer website after watching a video of the vehicle they were considering.

Now, factor in the platform.

  • Facebook Marketplace has overtaken Craigslist as the premier social commerce platform among social media consumers.
  • CapitalOne Shopping Research reports that more than 51.2% of all social media consumers made their most recent social media purchase from Facebook Marketplace.
  • Almost 50% of time on Facebook is spent watching videos.

Next, consider the power of video to hold a buyer’s attention and keep them focused on your vehicles.

  • Google Analytics shows that consumers who engage with videos on a website will spend three times more time on that site compared to those viewing a site without video. Not only that, but the goal conversion rate is also three times higher for customers engaging with video.

Video is simply an integral part of the modern merchandising process. Over a billion shoppers visit Facebook Marketplace monthly. So, to have listings on Marketplace that also include video is hugely advantageous.

Here’s how it looks:

Facebook Marketplace looks and feels the same as before, except now desktop users can see which listings have video before clicking on a post, and mobile users are treated to more of a pleasantly engaging surprise.

The desktop version of Marketplace shows a video icon on ad thumbnails for listings that include video.

These video-enhanced ads stand out from the ads that have photos only. (The mobile version of Marketplace doesn’t use the video icon…yet! But if a mobile listing has video, it begins playing the instant the post is tapped.)

When users click on an ad with video, the video begins playing immediately. A row of photo thumbnails appears below the playing video, so users can jump to those if they like, or back to the first thumbnail to restart the video.

Both desktop and mobile versions have prominent Messenger buttons for contacting the seller, along with seller details, vehicle description, filters for vehicle type, condition, price min-max, and a customizable local search radius.

Users will notice some minor differences in filters between the desktop and mobile versions of Marketplace, but both enable search results to be narrowed efficiently.

We’re here to help you add video to your Marketplace posts!

Video has become an indispensable part of dealerships’ vehicle merchandising. The addition of video to Facebook Marketplace listings takes car dealers closer to the sort of comprehensive, multimedia experience that the data show is most effective at engaging shoppers online and ultimately converting them into buyers.

LESA has the expertise to help you take full advantage of the new ability to add vehicle videos to your Facebook Marketplace listings. Armed with our tools and knowledge of the process, your vehicles will stand out from the competition, and your sales team will be in the best possible position to capture qualified Marketplace leads.

Contact us to find out more and get the ball rolling.

GA4 Is Here! Part 1

GA4 is here!

Part 1: What does this mean to your dealership?

You may have noticed the doomsday clock that was counting down to Google’s migration to its new analytics property, GA4, and wondered, “What the heck is this? Will I lose my data? Do I have to do something before time runs out…or else?” Great news! It happened, and you didn’t lose anything. In fact, you’ve just entered the next generation of analytics that will help your business make better use of your data.

LESA has been tracking the migration. Once you provide us with your new GA4 ID, we can start sending your engagement data to the GA4 platform where they will be processed to offer new, more relevant insights into your website’s effectiveness and your customers’ behavior.

And if you also grant us view access to your GA4 property, we can collaborate with you to help you look at the video effectiveness stats and generate reports down the road. If you have any questions about how to set up view access, contact us at for instructions.

What do you really need to know about GA4?

GA4 is Google’s new web analytics platform that collects event-based data from both websites and apps. It replaced the former Universal Analytics (UA) property effective July 1, 2023. You may still be able to see your old UA reports for a while, but any data collected starting July 1st will be processed by GA4.

The shutdown of UA is being rolled out in stages, however all UA properties are now in a queue to be terminated, and you will be required to set up GA4 to access website measurements of any data collected on or after July 1st.

Here are some quick facts that may make the migration to GA4 feel a bit less stressful:

  • Your old data is not lost. Existing UA data can be imported into the new GA4 platform to help maintain continuity and preserve your historical data.
  • Some of the reporting metrics and terminology will look familiar, which should smooth the transition to GA4.
  • GA4 allows for more customization than UA offered, so once you’ve configured your GA4 property, you’ll have the ability to tailor your analytics to meet your business’s specific needs.
  • You are not alone! There are plenty of supportive, how-to resources out there to help you transition to GA4 and use its capabilities to your best advantage.

Why did Google switch from UA to GA4 – What’s the advantage?

GA4 offers a number of improvements over UA, including new privacy controls, simplified reporting, and direct integration to media platforms. It also collects both website and app data to provide a better understanding of the customer journey. Perhaps most significantly, it focuses on event-based data, so instead of giving you a count of the number of times customers arrive at your site, like a traffic meter, it lets you see what customers actually do while they are there.

Now you’ll be able to see just how customers are responding to your content. Understanding the cause-and-effect aspect of your online marketing campaigns, including your video merchandising campaigns, will help you understand which of your site’s features are resulting in direct actions such as clicks, shares, or other tangible forms of engagement. You’ll have a better idea of how to attribute conversions, so you’ll know what’s driving sales and be able to do more of what’s measurably effective.

The future of measuring your video merchandising campaigns

We’re especially excited about the potential of GA4 to measure and track your customers’ actions when they engage with video inventory content on your website. GA4 may reveal patterns in customer behavior that led to conversions, which could allow you to pivot to customize your video merchandising strategy to emphasize more of what’s working.

We know that 60% of auto shoppers who used online video during the research process reported visiting a dealership or dealer website after watching a video of the vehicle they were considering. Leveraging your video content library has never been more important. To understand why, check out our Why Video page. You’ll be glad you did!

Stay calm and … complete your GA4 set-up!

GA4 analytics is ready to start processing your data in new and beneficial ways. You can start taking advantage of all this new platform has to offer once you configure your new GA4 property. LESA is ready to start sending your video merchandising data to GA4, and we have every expectation that the new property will help us create winning video strategies for your dealership.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll take a closer look at how LESA’s data is displayed in GA4 and offer tips on how to navigate this new analytics landscape. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Unlock the Power of Automated Social Media to Drive Sales

Marketing Status Quo

Car dealerships, like most businesses today, allocate at least some of their human and financial resources to maintaining a social media presence. And it’s obvious why. The Pew Research Center reports that today 72% of the public uses some type of social media, with YouTube and Facebook being the most-widely used online platforms.

To manage this must-have marketing strategy, your dealership may rely on the services of a social media company to spread the word about your inventory on these popular platforms and others such as Instagram, which Pew found is used by at least 40% of US adults. Maybe you’ve purchased a marketing program that promises to make a certain number of posts per month on your behalf with various add-on options like “boosts” to enhance visibility. This seemed like a good idea at the time; it took the burden of managing your social media presence off your desk and resulted in one less headache. But is it really working?

The trouble with typical social media marketing packages is that they can appear flat, impersonal, and canned. They come from an outside source, may be limited to static photo images, and lack the more authentic, humanizing experience customers are looking to engage with in today’s marketplace. On top of that, they’re expensive and the ROI may be uncertain.

Enter Savvy Video Merchandising

LESA offers a solution that saves time and money and gives dealers the tools to leverage video to capture the low-funnel sales traffic that abounds on social media. Our tools aren’t intended to replace your social media agency altogether. Rather, for a fraction of what you would have to pay an agency, these tools empower you to:

  • Produce professional-quality video content in-house
  • Put that content to work on three top social media platforms simultaneously
  • Create and control a custom, personalized, multi-media presence
  • Take part in the shift to video merchandising

Video is key at every stage of the marketing funnel, from a customer’s initial Google search to their interactions with your BDC. A 2019 study found that of all the topics on YouTube, vehicle videos was the second most-viewed category, coming in second after video games. And yet, only 1% of the videos on YouTube at the time were about vehicles. This represents an enormous opportunity and illustrates the consumer’s desire for video. If a large portion of the car shopping public is active on social media, and if they’re craving vehicle videos, it just makes sense to get your inventory onto video and put it out there on social media. As fast as you can.

LESA’s Elite and Ultimate video merchandising packages help you get there with our Dealer Video Inventory, Ultra 360 Spin, Feature Videos, and Automated Social Media tools. The inventory walkaround videos you create with the tools in these packages make your dealership website come alive with interactive, engaging content, while also improving your site’s SEO. And with just a few clicks our included Automated Social Media tool lets you post this same video content to the most popular platforms where it can reach that massive audience of active online vehicle shoppers.

With Automated Social Media, your vehicle videos post automatically to Facebook, Instagram, and — best of all – now also to Google My Business. We do this according to the schedule, criteria, and filters you choose using our intuitive dashboard. You can also track your posting history and see how your site views change in response to your posting campaigns.

In no time, you’ll be auto-posting polished videos like the one below on multiple platforms simultaneously with links that take the viewer right to your dealership’s website.

We make it easy and flexible, so you can post what you want, when you want in-house to build your brand, increase purchase interest, and create the emotional connections through social media engagement that will drive your referral business.

Better yet, posting inventory video content you already created in three essential places at once not only gives your campaigns great consistency but also frees up your marketing department to spend time on other tasks.

Change Is Hard Easy

In case you’re still using photos to showcase your inventory, you should know that video continues to gain momentum as a must-have. A 2019 Google/Ipsos study found that 60% of auto shoppers who used online video during the research process reported visiting a dealership or dealer website after watching a video of the vehicle they were considering. That was up from 46% in 2017.

To take advantage of our Automated Social Media tool, simply select our Elite or Ultimate video merchandising packages, and we’ll get you set up. Before you know it, you’ll be making your hottest vehicles accessible to the mind-boggling percentage of adults who are on social media every day.

Our Automated Social Media dashboard is clear and straightforward. For example, you just click on the days of the week and the time of day you want your posts to appear. Toggle buttons let you decide if you want to enable/disable Facebook auto-posting, or whether you want to turn on/off posts to Instagram, remove sold vehicles, or create a 30-second montage video. Drop-down menus let you prioritize posts by price or inventory age.

Don’t Be Left Behind

With most social media platforms moving to video content, dealerships need to adapt or be left behind. Today’s customer wants to see your inventory in all dimensions using multi-media, as if they were at your store in person. To stay competitive, you need to give them as much information as possible, as many ways as possible, so they can have a virtual showroom experience. Think about how much you spend on making your physical showroom a selling point, and then think about the fact that your website and social media platforms get far more customer traffic!

Indeed, industry strategist Cox Automotive reports, “Dealers agree that digital retailing is key to a long-term winning strategy – with 75% of dealers acknowledging that they won’t be able to survive without it.”

The takeaway is this: With LESA’s Automated Social Media tool, offered in our Elite and Ultimate video merchandising packages, you can create more effective social media campaigns in-house for a fraction of the cost of relying solely on an agency, and you can measure your success. You can capitalize on the social media networks you have already invested in constructing by leveraging the indisputable powers of video merchandising and content sharing to drive referral business and build the sort of customer interest every business needs to thrive.