September 11, 2023

It’s time for dealers to demand transparency from their vendors.

One of the primary advantages of the Automotive Standards Council (ASC) specification is its ability to offer a stable and consistent framework for measuring various metrics, such as VDP views and form conversions. The automotive industry can now move on from the outdated practice of countless vendors adding unverified and potentially risky scripts to a dealer’s website solely for event tracking purposes. Dealers can safely rely on their ASC certified website providers to do all the heavy lifting of recording key events properly, giving everyone a transparent view of what is happening on their website.
We recently alerted one of our clients about a significant drop in VDP views from one of their vendors. The dealer contacted the vendor who responded that according to “their own reporting” that traffic was only down a small percentage. When asked how they were tracking VDP views, they replied that they had their own custom scripts running on the dealer’s website that recorded VDP views. How did these scripts work? Were they recording VDP views properly? It’s nearly impossible to say because the script was obfuscated and minified and would have taken quite a bit of effort just to reverse-engineer.

Our response was simple : Since the website vendor fully supports the ASC standard, we are measuring VDP views by looking in GA4 for the asc_pageview event with a page_type of ‘item’. This is how the standard defines a VDP view. For everyone. No custom scripts needed. The website vendor is already doing the work by recording all of the key events. And by that metric, their traffic was, in fact, down significantly. Fortunately, the dealer is also a proponent of the ASC standard and informed the vendor that the only way that they wanted to measure VDP views was by the ASC standard.
This approach benefits everyone. For vendors, they no longer have to spend time coding scripts that are usually dependent on the website provider and have to be changed and updated when the provider makes changes to their software. They can focus on their core-competencies, and not writing fragile scripts.
For dealers, they receive complete transparency. They can rely on their ASC certified vendor to properly record events in GA4. Even if they have multiple website vendors across the group, each vendor will be sending events to GA4 in the same way. Dealers can build their own reporting, or leverage a 3’rd party analytics tool such as Dealer Insights, to monitor, report and receive alerts about their online presence.
If you’re a vendor that generates custom events in GA4, and hasn’t joined the Automotive Standards Council, I recommend that you do so. You’ll be demonstrating to your customers that you believe in accountability & transparency.
If you’re a dealer, I urge you to re-evaluate any vendor who isn’t supporting the ASC standard. There are already hundreds of vendors from website providers, call tracking vendors, trade-in tools, CRMs, digital retailing vendors etc that are embracing this new era of openness. If you have vendors in those categories who aren’t supporting it, it’s time to find a replacement for them.
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