Relevance-based search delivers up to 10% increase in quality leads
- Upgraded search algorithm prioritises relevance over price
Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace in the UK, has evolved the algorithm powering its search rankings to prioritise results based on consumer relevance as well as price. The upgrade is designed to both improve the car buying experience for consumers and provide retailers with an increase in leads. In testing, the relevance-based search delivered 10% more leads, as well as more dealership map views, location clicks, and website clicks and Auto Trader account ‘saves’.
The right car, from the right retailer
As of 19th August, the rankings will by default show the adverts that are more relevant to their search criteria and are of a better quality. Utilising Auto Trader’s data science capability, the quality of the advert is determined by analysing an unparalleled depth of consumer insight: 4,500 searches conducted every minute on the marketplace by its 49.1m monthly visitors. This sophisticated machine learning connects individual consumers to vehicles they may be interested in purchasing.
Auto Trader research shows that one in three consumers would have bought their car sooner if the process was easier for them. By making the search process easier and more relevant to their requirements, the upgrade will connect retailers with more engaged car buyers much sooner, helping them sell more cars, more quickly.
Driving quality leads
Retailers will win by concentrating on providing the best customer experience, stocking the right vehicles for their forecourt, and crucially, pricing them at the right price. Retailers that price to market are consistently generating more gross profit; the fastest selling vehicles on Auto Trader are priced at 99%-100% of the current specification adjusted market value.
Commenting on the update, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, director of commercial products, said: “All of our research shows that retailers that price to market from day one enjoy a faster speed of sale, which means they’re selling more cars, more quickly, and for more profit.
"We’re committed to making the car buying experience easier for consumers, and in the process providing our customers with the very best marketplace to sell their cars. By showing relevant results and useful information upfront to car buyers, we’re delivering retailers with more meaningful connections earlier in the process, and fewer questions from less informed consumers.”
Whilst there isn’t a simplistic check-list, retailers can appear higher up the rankings by following best digital practice, which includes featuring plenty of images and video to highlight the true condition of the car; adding lots of detail on the condition and specification of the car; and using customer reviews to instil confidence and trust in their business. Retailers can discover everything they need to get the most out of this upgrade, by reading the Auto Trader best practice guide on creating relevant, high-quality adverts here.
The new relevance-based search will not affect paid prominence products such as standard, advanced and premium packages or the Lead Gen (Pay per Click) product, which will retain their positioning in search results as they are calculated independently of regular search results. Consumers can still sort search by low to high vehicles. Search by monthly price for new and used vehicles will continue to be ordered by lowest monthly price. What’s more, the upgrade will only affect cars, and will not feature in the ‘New’ search tab.
 Total increase in leads for contract customers based on a test of 5% of users vs a control sample 22nd March to 17th April 2019. Leads are defined as email enquiries, calls and live chats. Individual retailer results may vary.
 Auto Trader Car Buyers Report, 2019