259PM EDT UPDATE: DRIVINGSALES.COM HAS REPUBLISHED MY POST, WITH APOLOGIES.
12:55PM EDT UPDATE: THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON DRIVINGSALES.COM BUT THEY HAVE REMOVED THE ARTICLE. ONE HAS TO ASK WHY A SITE DEDICATED TO INFORMING DEALERS WOULD WANT TO KEEP THEM IN THE DARK. IS DRIVINGSALES #FAKENEWS?
12:23PM EDT, UPDATE: THIS ISSUE DOES AFFECT CHROME BROWSERS BUT IT IS LESS CONSISTENT WHEREAS IT CONSISTENTLY HAPPENS ON ALL OTHER WEB BROWSERS INCLUDING CHROME AND SAFARI IN MOBILE. THIS WILL LIKELY DIRECTLY AFFECT YOU AND YOU SHOULD TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY.
UPDATE: THIS MAY ONLY AFFECT SAFARI & INTERNET EXPLORER BROWSERS. MORE UPDATES TO FOLLOW.
Today at Wikimotive, we found an interesting development regarding analytics on Dealer.com websites while reviewing a client’s data. We noticed a 767.32% increase in their direct traffic, seemingly, overnight. At first we thought maybe a rogue email campaign was generating bot traffic, but instead we found something a bit more surprising. You can see this happen for yourself using the realtime tool in Google Analytics.
Search your dealership name and click the result which will take you to your homepage. From there, navigate to new (or used) inventory. Next, filter your results by make, model, body style or any available filter option. Once your filter is applied you will notice that your organic session has ended and you are now listed as a new direct session.
If you continue to refine filter options your direct session will bounce and a new direct session will be created. This is very concerning as the level of data corruption can be significant depending on user behavior. If your store’s IP is not filtered from your view and your sales people use your website to show different vehicles to customers in the showroom this will create substantial additional traffic that never really existed. In the most extreme case we found, one dealer went from 921 new (direct) users for 3,309 (direct) sessions to 7,988 new (direct) users and 10,435 (direct) sessions in just 30 days.
Worse still, this will impact all session data from other sources. If your referral traffic filters inventory that session data is lost form that point forward. If they visit multiple VDPs or other pages and submit a lead it will be sourced as direct instead of the true originating source – same for Organic, or any other traffic source. This has far reaching consequences and should be corrected swiftly.
I have confirmed that this was not a one off by testing this on multiple brands across multiple dealers. I would strongly urge that if your website is provided by dealer.com, that you reach out immediately and find out what they are doing to correct this. We have contacted dealer.com about this issue for our clients, but have not yet received a response.
Tell us what you find! Are you seeing the same thing? Did you have different findings? Be sure to check multiple browsers and check mobile vs desktop!