Conversions vs False Conversions in GA4

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Posted on by Wikimotive LLC
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As you develop a marketing strategy, it is imperative that you periodically look at your data, determine your success stories, and find places where your efforts could use improvement. It has been six months since the implementation of GA4, and you and your team may have noticed some differences in your conversions, from the type recorded to the frequency. This is partially because in the change to GA4, there has been an increase in false conversions––interactions incorrectly reported as conversions. There are ways to filter out this irrelevant and inflated data in order to provide a more accurate picture of how your website and other marketing efforts are performing, though, which is what I’m going to cover today. 

What Are False Conversions?

False conversions occur when certain interactions on your website are incorrectly tracked as conversions. This can happen for any number of reasons, including incorrect tracking implementation, having multiple tracking codes or event triggers set up, and changes in the overall structure of your website after technical work or a redesign. False conversions are an issue because they can lead to inflated data, which affects how you are able to develop and convey an effective strategy, knowing which tactics are working and where you are losing out on valuable sales. 

Knowing which events are set to trigger conversions is critical to making sure your data is presented accurately. For example, an event may be set on a Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) that triggers a conversion for every pageview. However, the most important conversions on your site are in the sales funnel, either directly generating revenue or leading customers to additional actions that eventually result in a sale or service appointment. By having conversions set to fire on broad, non-transactional interactions on your website, such as VDP pageviews, you won’t get an accurate representation of how your different marketing campaigns are performing or which channels your most likely customers are coming from.

False conversions can be caught through regular audits of your website’s functionality as well as your GA4 account, running tests to check for how your conversions are being tracked. How easily false conversions are found is based on what data you are monitoring and what metrics you are considering conversions. 

What Metrics Are You Looking At?

Not every interaction is meaningful enough to track as a conversion. This means you’ll need to determine which actions are the most important. During the initial setup of a GA4 account, there are certain events that will automatically propagate. While these events can be a good baseline and provide valuable insights into the users who visit your site, they should not be the only criteria you monitor. It is critical to set up additional events and conversions in order to capture the meaningful interactions that lead to sales. 

As a dealership, one of the key resources to reference when setting up your conversions is the Automotive Standards Council, a group of over 80 companies throughout the industry dedicated to developing universal guidelines for the use of GA4 by dealerships across the country. By setting standards for using GA4 on dealership websites, there can be consistency in reporting and setting up conversions, keeping data as accurate as possible to reduce clutter in tag containers, and improving the performance of paid ads and organic campaigns.

What Metrics Should You Be Looking At?

If you already have your GA4 set up and want to make sure everything is recording correctly, where should you begin? There are a few different metrics to keep an eye on:

Engaged Sessions

An engaged session is counted when a user stays on the website for over 10 seconds, has visited at least two pages, or has completed a conversion through a meaningful action such as filling out a form, starting a chat, or getting directions to your dealership’s location. While there is information that can be gleaned from this metric, it should not be considered an end-all, be-all. 

Older SEO techniques included the use of irrelevant content topics to build authority in the region, which could lead to engaged sessions on your website from users who have no intention of working with your business. For example, a dealership near Chicago may have once posted a blog about the best places to get deep-dish pizza in the region. Users looking for where to get a pizza or tourists planning a vacation may land on the blog and spend some time reading it, leading to an engaged session that will not have a positive effect on your business. Engaged sessions are easily inflated and can lead to discrepancies in your numbers. However, if you have taken the time to properly remove and redirect obsolete pages, you are likely to see a more accurate number in this metric in GA4.

Engagement Time

Engagement time is important to look at because it shows how long users are staying and how they are moving through the website. Similar to the Time on Site metric that was on Universal Analytics, Engagement Time is a metric that can easily be misinterpreted and inflated. While some users may stay on your website for several minutes reading content without completing a conversion, others may navigate to the page they want immediately and convert within seconds. While false positives and false negatives are common, it is important to monitor engagement time for major fluctuations in data. 

Events & Conversions

Events and conversions are two separate metrics found in your GA4 account that complement each other. Certain events are automatically tracked for a number of interactions that occur on your website, such as clicks, the beginning of a session, and the scroll depth of a page. However, you’ll want to go in and add additional events with your own specific priorities and naming conventions, following the standards set by the Automotive Standards Council. Events are important to track because they give you a comprehensive view of how users move through the website. 

Conversions should utilize the events you determine to be the most meaningful in the sales funnel, typically items such as scheduling a service appointment, calling one of the departments at your dealership, completing an order form for vehicle parts, or getting directions to your location. Several of these may stem from events you are already tracking or decide to track as you set up your account. However, not every event is going to be important enough to meet your business goals and be measured as a conversion. When you set up your conversions, you’ll have control over which events are counted in order to reduce potential inflation and inaccuracies. 

Learn More With Wikimotive

False conversions are an issue that can affect many areas of your automotive marketing, starting with how you build and execute a strategy. Continuing to monitor your data with periodic audits and test conversions will help you keep an eye on how things are being processed and determine if there are areas where your strategy can use improvement. Making sure your conversions are being reported without inflation will ensure that you have a full understanding of your efforts before building upon your current or future strategies.

With that all said, spending enough time looking at your analytics and being able to determine the accuracy of your data can be overwhelming and take up a lot of resources you may not have. If you are interested in beginning a partnership with a team that will monitor your data and fix any issues that appear in your GA4, contact Wikimotive today! When you work with us, you’ll have access to a team that routinely runs checks and tests to ensure you are getting the most out of your reporting and that your numbers are accurate. To get started, start a chat or submit a form about your dealership’s needs!