Always On: The Cumulative Power of Editorial Content
Jason Allan, Cox Automotive Director of Editorial
When it comes time to buy a new car, most of us will spend hours upon hours seeking the best answer to a simultaneously simple and daunting question: Which car should I buy? We’ll seek information and guidance from trustworthy sources – often via Google – to help us find that one special car, truck, SUV or minivan that best meets our needs and wants.
But the information gathering that goes into that decision begins long before those first intent-driven Google searches. Your next car purchase process is in fact being influenced by information being put in front of you today. Through regular content consumption you’re absorbing what’s new, what’s good, what’s popular, what’s hot, what’s safe and, of course, which vehicles took home this year’s Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards.
The messenger? Trusted, unbiased editorial content.
Cars and Content: A Symbiotic Relationship
At Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book we create content with three primary aims:
- Inform and educate visitors
- Attract visitors
- Expand brand awareness
As an example, we publish around 300 in-depth vehicle reviews every year. That content serves those first two goals of 1) making our site more useful for our visitors and 2) attracting millions of active car shoppers every month by helping us ranking highly in related Google search results.
But it’s that third goal that’s getting more attention from automakers.
The content we create to maintain and expand our own brand awareness, familiarity and affinity among those not yet in market also drives a lot of that same value for the brands and models we’re out there talking about.
For instance, our coverage of a new model can generate millions of incremental exposures across Apple News, Google Discover, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, etc. That’s great for us, but there’s also tremendous value for that automaker. Respected editorial content goes places and impacts people in ways marketing typically can’t, and we know it affects eventual buying decisions down the road.
There’s an increasing number of ways automakers can amplify that powerful content and coverage, and our sales and marketing folks are helping more and more of our partners do just that.
The Biggest Audience
With 88% of shoppers using content to research a new vehicle1, editorial makes our sites more useful, valuable, and helpful for these consumers. KBB.com is the leader in organic market share with the best bounce rates, time spent on-site, and pages viewed. This indicates we not only have the largest share of the market, but the most qualified share, as well.2 Autotrader and KBB.com together reach almost 60% of all car buyers and account for more than half of the time car buyer spend on third-party sites.3
As the auto industry faces ongoing supply chain disruptions that push shoppers further out from purchase, editorial content on our sites will continue to evolve as we reach, attract, and engage shoppers across the buying horizon.
1 2020 Nielsen Content Influence Study Commissioned by Cox Automotive
2 Organic Search Traffic Market Trend, January – November 2021
3 2021 Car Buyer Journey Study