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Motors.co.uk reveals secrets to great online advertising

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09 24, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Innovation-led car search network, Motors.co.uk, has revealed its top tips for dealers looking to make the most of their online presence. Providing a behind-the-scenes view on how to capitalise on car search networks, as well as hints on converting online visits to real world purchasing, this handy guide, based on consumer research conducted in the UK and US, focuses on four key areas:

  1. the aggregation of marginal gains
  2. understanding what matters in an era of attention deficit
  3. the importance of images and descriptions
  4. the opportunities presented by new conversion rate optimisation (CRO) technologies
  Top_Tips_Sept_15_Infographic_png Motors.co.uk’s director of marketing and business intelligence, Dermot Kelleher, comments: “The way in which consumers interact with brands has changed dramatically over the past five years and it is vital that businesses alter their mind-set to respond. Our quick guide shows how dealers can maximise their return on investment from websites like Motors.co.uk and also increase engagement and repeat visits on their own site by gaining a better understanding of the customer journey.” 1. Aggregation of marginal gains Kelleher explains the Motors.co.uk approach: “We are firm believers in ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’. By this we mean that rather than looking for one mythical solution to the challenge of producing sales, it is better to focus on doing lots of little things well. This is a familiar theme in the world of elite sport, with former England rugby manager Clive Woodward quoted as saying that the 2003 Rugby World Cup win wasn’t founded on doing one thing 100% better, but doing 100 things 1% better. Mindset   “At Motors.co.uk, this means that we are constantly reviewing, testing and enhancing the way in which we display vehicle listings, the creative we use in our TV advertising and the partners we invite into our network in order to ensure that dealers get the best possible access to interested, in-market car buyers. It’s also important that consumers looking for their next car are able to access information in the right way." 2. Understanding what matters in an era of attention deficit The Motors.co.uk guide highlights that when it comes to maximising return on investment in online advertising, there are three key areas of focus for dealers: standing out from the crowd, ensuring all online real estate is mobile-friendly and understanding that consumers are looking for responsiveness from every interaction with a dealer. Kelleher continues: “The online car buying environment is a very competitive space and, based on our research visitors to the 14 largest car search portals in the UK – including Motors.co.uk – viewed 715 million pages in March 2015. That’s the equivalent of 600,000 copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, with ‘just’ 459 million minutes spent looking at those pages, this equates to only 39 seconds per page. The lesson? Car buyers are looking at lots of pages but making rapid decisions, so there is a real requirement to stand out." Attention   Motors.co.uk also emphasises the importance of responsive web platforms in its research. Kelleher explains: “In early April, Google made a change to rankings on mobile devices, rewarding mobile-friendly sites and pushing the rest back in the search results. In addition, all of the research shows that consumers are less willing to pinch and zoom, with higher bounce rates on sites which have not been made mobile-friendly. This trend is only set to grow, with visits to the Motors.co.uk site on mobile and tablet devices increasing from 54% in May 2014 to 60% in May 2015.” Mobilepng 3. The importance of images and descriptions As well as looking at the type of device used to access the Motors.co.uk site, the brand also analysed over half a million listings placed on the site in April 2015 in order to determine the ‘magic number’ for photos. The data showed that, for cars priced between £5,000 and £10,000, the optimum number of images is five – generating a 180% improvement in click through rate over no images. For cars priced £15,000 to £20,000, the magic number is 10, which generated a 215% improvement in click through rates.   Image A review of the quality of the descriptions also showed that dealers who invested time in speaking directly to the consumer, including features and benefits in the headlines and providing unique text for each of their ads also reaped rewards in terms of click through rates.   4. The opportunities presented by new CRO technologies Motors.co.uk has also highlighted a number of new technologies which it is investigating for the future. Underlining the growth in conversion rate optimisation, the infographic emphasises that the direction of travel for consumer marketing is firmly focused on the personalisation story. Kelleher explains: “Whereas the requirement used to be to make a website accessible for the majority of people, now it is about providing the best possible experience for each person. “There are plenty of tools to track the customer journey and send messages if they are leaving the site. There are also significant opportunities to use the real estate in different ways to send messages to site users. We also believe that the car industry can learn from the hotel and restaurant industry by providing the facilities for car buyers to make online bookings through dealership test drive calendars and similar.” speed Reflecting on the research, Kelleher concludes: “Of course, despite how much you invest in clever technologies, the success of a transaction ultimately rests in the responsiveness of the dealer to any enquiry. In a recent survey of Motors.co.uk site visitors, 36% said they would expect a reply from an email to a dealer within 24 hours. A further third (33%) would expect a reply within four hours and a staggering 27% would want a response within 60 minutes. Speed is certainly key to success.”

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Motors.co.uk strengthens management team with appointment of Peter Watts

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09 18, 2015 | Posted in General, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Motors.co.uk strengthens management team with appointment of Peter Watts Motors.co.uk has further strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Peter Watts as Director of Dealer Insight. Watts brings to the role over 30 years’ dealership experience, most recently as brand director for franchise and supermarkets at Autotrader.co.uk and previously group operations director at Randles Motor Group. At Motors.co.uk, Watts will work alongside sales director Mark Hammond to ensure the business continues to offer innovative sales solutions and, importantly, excellent value for money. This news comes as the Motors.co.uk Network celebrates record market share, with 4.1 million unique visitors in July 2015*, up 70% year on year. Phill Jones, Managing Director of Motors.co.uk, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Peter into the Motors.co.uk business at this exciting time. He brings a wealth of dealership and digital experience which will ensure that we continue to deliver great products and service that will help our dealers sell cars more efficiently. We’re investing in Peter, just as we’re investing in product innovation, network partnerships and above the line marketing to benefit our advertising dealers.” Peter Watts, Director of Dealer Insight at Motors.co.uk, added: “I’ve been impressed by Motors.co.uk’s progress within the industry over the past two years and I believe the business has tremendous solutions for dealers. I’m looking forward to helping the business to develop and position tools and products that meet its core mission; to help dealers sell more cars by ensuring their customers have an engaging experience online and offline.” Peter Watts black and white   *comScore MMX Multi-platform, July 2015, based on the Motors.co.uk network (a custom entity which includes Motors.co.uk, Carmony, Parkers, Carsite, Driving.co.uk, Carfused.com and many more)

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Motors.co.uk survey shows crossovers come out top for school run

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09 09, 2015 | Posted in Statistics | 0 comments

As the summer holidays have come to an end and a nation of schoolchildren pack their pencil cases, Motors.co.uk has revealed the top cars for the school run – and the buying habits of parents looking for the perfect family vehicle. The leading innovation-led car search network has conducted a ‘back to school’ survey among motorists. Findings show crossovers are the favoured school run mode of transport, as parents opt for a spacious, resilient and practical ride. The Nissan Qashqai was once again voted the preferred car for the daily journey to school, with almost a quarter of respondents putting it in first place for the second consecutive year. This was closely followed by the Honda CR-V, up 13% from last year to 20%. The Ford Fiesta hatchback, Ford C Max MPV and Skoda Octavia estate made up the top five. The stats tie-in with Motors.co.uk’s latest used car sales trend data, ‘What’s Hot?’, which reveals demand for MPVs is also on the increase for the new term. While the Vauxhall Zafira and Mariva took top spots for the category, Ford remains a popular choice, with C-Max, S-Max and Galaxy featuring in the top five. Drivers said the most important factor in the vehicle selection process was how economic fuel and running costs were (32%), followed by age and mileage (19%), number of seats (11%) and safety (10%). Interestingly, how the car handles on the road was deemed to be one of the least important features, with only 6% of respondents choosing this as a decisive factor. Similarly, the provision of child safety features was only selected by 3% and ease of access by 2% as the most important factor in deciding what to buy. And, it seems many respondents are influenced by family members when it comes to choosing the right vehicle – with 48% saying their car purchase is influenced by their partner and 23% by their children. Dermot Kelleher, director of marketing and business intelligence at Motors.co.uk, said: “It is no surprise that cross-overs are popular among families who are looking for a comfortable, practical vehicle. However, it was interesting that for a family audience monthly running costs are by far the most important factors when deciding what to buy, well ahead of how the car handles or safety features such as Isofix. It shows there’s a role for dealers to play in communicating this value to families looking for their next vehicle.” The survey also revealed that if money was no object Land Rovers would be the school run rides of choice, with the Range Rover model proving most popular. Other wish list makes were BMW X5 and X6 models and the Audi Q7.

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Leadership Change As Motors.co.uk Connects With Autotrader.com

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09 01, 2015 | Posted in General | 0 comments

Cox Automotive today announced changes within the leadership team at the innovation-led car search business Motors.co.uk, increasing its connection to its parent company in the U.S. car classified giant Autotrader.com and appointing Phill Jones as its new Managing Director. Motors.co.uk’s current Managing Director, Andy Coulthurst is stepping down from his current role to take up a new role outside of Cox, as CEO of car supermarket group Trade Centre Wales. Andy will be leaving the Motors.co.uk business on 18th September 2015. John Bailey, Executive Vice President, International of Cox Automotive commented: “I would like to thank Andy for his skill, vision and energy transforming Motors.co.uk over the last three years. Having run the business from an operational perspective as Commercial Director since 2010, Phill is the natural successor to Andy at this important stage of growth. I am certain that under his direction, the business will continue to thrive and build on the momentum that has been generated, maintaining its total focus on helping our dealers sell more cars.” Motors.co.uk has recently established closer connections with its parent company, Autotrader.com, and recently hosted a visit from President Jared Rowe and his team to their Oxford offices. Phill explained: “Whilst we have always had strong connections with our U.S. parents, over recent months we have extended our interface with the team in Atlanta and are sharing ideas and best practice across many functions, including marketing, product, technology and sales. I am proud to lead the team as we plan new strategies to benefit our dealers and the millions of in-market car shoppers that engage with our product.” Jared Rowe, President of AutoTrader.com, added: “I’m delighted to be more involved in helping Phill and the team at Motors.co.uk build on their significant progress to date and share learnings between AutoTrader.com and Motors.co.uk.  With the support of my team, Manheim and Cox Automotive, I’m confident that we will continue to make great strides, delivering compelling solutions to both dealers and consumers.” The Motors.co.uk site now lists over 300,000 used cars from thousands of independent and franchised dealers and through its powerful network can help dealers reach 3.9 million unique visitors per month. Phill commented: “I’m hugely excited by the prospect of leading Motors.co.uk. Our growth to date has been driven by product innovation, network partnerships and above the line marketing and has seen us deliver record levels of audience reach and response for our dealers. With new partnership opportunities, an extremely strong product roadmap and sustained support from our forward-thinking parents at Cox Automotive, we are perfectly positioned to grow our market share for the benefit of our dealers.”

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TV debut for Miss Smart Finger, as Motors.co.uk launches monthly payment search

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08 10, 2015 | Posted in Advertising | 0 comments

Innovation-led car search network, Motors.co.uk, will promote its brand new monthly payment search functionality in a major TV campaign launching later this week. Featuring the debut of a fresh character, Miss Smart Finger, the ads will promote the benefit of finding a nicer car than expected by introducing the ability to search within your monthly budget. The advanced search by payment functionality, which launched onsite at the end of July, allows consumers to refine their search results to show only those cars which meet their financing needs in terms of deposit and monthly payment. In advance of the launch, hundreds of dealers upgraded at no additional cost to a finance calculator on their inventory to allow inclusion within the payment search. Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, commented: “With more than three quarters of consumers using dealer sourced finance to purchase their new car[i], we believe that a monthly payment search is vital to improving the efficiency of the car search process and we will drive its adoption through TV advertising.” The new advert introduces Miss Smart Finger using the monthly payment search to find her ideal car within her monthly budget. Miss Smart Finger is the latest addition to the campaign launched in March, which has been shown over 5,000 times and seen 272 million times across major channels such as Sky Sports, Channel 5, Comedy Central, Sky Atlantic and Dave. Coulthurst continued: “The introduction of monthly payment search demonstrates our on-going investment in innovation to help our dealers sell more cars. We have received great feedback already, particularly around the principle of adding this feature to dealers’ accounts at no extra cost.” The finance prices are all set individually by the dealer ensuring they have full control of the rates advertised. The technology is powered by iVendi who provide dealers with an easy set of tools to control the rates and the ability to upgrade to receive qualified finance applications. Coulthurst confirmed that it is not too late for dealers to add their free calculator ahead of the TV launch. “We’re working with iVendi on a pipeline of set-ups to enable this functionality for more dealers in advance of the TV launch. Search by payment is an expected feature among consumers in other sectors and competitor providers in the car search market have suggested they will follow behind Motors.co.uk by launching similar products.” Richard Tavernor, chief operating officer at iVendi, added: “We’re excited that Motors.co.uk has recognised the importance of finance to both dealers and consumers. The speed at which they developed their monthly payment search highlights the ambition and innovation in the business. Our solution puts the dealer in control of rates offered, supported by valuable business intelligence too, not to mention helping to meet the increasing regulatory demands on dealers.” Dermot Kelleher, director of marketing and business intelligence at Motors.co.uk, added: “Our monthly payment search functionality provides dealers with the ability to meet the needs of consumers looking to find as much information as possible and catch them early in their search journey while they are still thinking about the best way to finance their purchase.” [i] Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) data: 77.6% of private new car sales were financed by FLA members through dealerships in the twelve months to May 2015

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Motors.co.uk dealers speed their way to sales in June

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07 23, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Innovation-led car search network, Motors.co.uk, has revealed the average ‘days to sell’ data for cars retailed by their dealers in June. On average, of the cars sold by Motors.co.uk dealers in June, the days in stock prior to sale was 48 days – a whole week quicker than the 55 day average reported by Autotrader.co.uk recently for its dealers over the same period. Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, commented: “This comparative benefit that we are delivering for our dealers in terms of shorter stock-turn does not surprise me at all. Smart Search takes car shoppers quickly from ‘want’ to ‘found’ and accelerates in-market car buyers to the forecourts of smart dealers partnering with Motors.co.uk. “The considerable growth in our network, with three new partners added in the past two months, is guaranteeing that our dealers’ cars are found no matter where the consumer heads online.” The data also shows a consistent performance across all model ranges and price bands. The fastest selling body style of MPV came in at 45 days to sell on average, while the slowest selling body style, Coupe, still came in under the Autotrader.co.uk whole inventory average of 55 days, at only 52 days to sell.   AV_DAYS_IN_STOCK_LIFETIME_CHARTS The Motors.co.uk Network also delivers a strong performance across all price bands, with the range of days to sell for cars in bands up to £30,000 flexing no more than four days from the 48 day average and cars over £40,000 still landing in a reasonable 54 days, demonstrating the strength of Motors.co.uk in the premium sector. Coulthurst added: “As a dealer, I would not have been happy with my cars on average taking 55 days to sell. Ideally, I would like us to be performing at under 45 days for our dealers and with products, strong TV spend and new network partnerships in the pipeline, I am sure that we can achieve this before the end of the year. “Everybody here at Motors.co.uk has, as their priority, the ambition to continue to help our dealers sell more cars, more quickly for maximum profitability. I am incredibly proud that we are able to evidence the fruits of their hard work this at this mid-year stage.”  

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Two more steps forward for Motors.co.uk

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07 23, 2015 | Posted in General | 0 comments

Innovation-led car search network, Motors.co.uk, has extended its network again. Just months after launching its high profile partnership with Confused.com, which has seen the growing car classifieds site power the search function for the money saving website’s portal at Carfused.com, Motors.co.uk has now joined with both the FirstCar and CAR Magazine websites.

Motors Network July 15

Motors.co.uk started working with FirstCar and CAR Magazine in May 2015. A key reason for Motors.co.uk working with FirstCar is to provide young drivers with a choice of cars within insurance groups 1-7 to suit their new driver status. The primary benefit for Motors.co.uk’s dealer customers is the increased exposure to new drivers and first time car buyers (and their parents), potentially creating a loyal customer for years to come. CAR Magazine’s website is the third most visited automotive recreation site in the UK* and is an ideal host for Motors.co.uk’s search tool which allows car lovers to choose the exact specification that suits their needs. The search integration is one of a series of innovations designed to increase visibility for Motors.co.uk dealers, boost overall stock volumes and create new ways for advertisers to target car buying audiences. Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, comments: “These exclusive new partnerships are a fantastic added benefit for our dealers, we are massively excited to once again invest for the benefit of our dealers. The new partnerships coincide with a record level across the Motors.co.uk Network and our strong TV spend across Q3, our existing dealers will benefit from this increased exposure at zero additional cost” Charlie Calton-Watson, Digital Director for Bauer Specialist, said: “It’s a fantastic development to be able to offer the dedicated readers of our site the ability to purchase the vehicles they’ve been reading about. The search platform provides a far smarter way to search and is perfect for motoring fans who want to get their news, reviews and shop all in the same place.” James Evans, publisher at FirstCar, added: “We are pleased to announce the new car sales search function in association with Motors.co.uk. We think our readers will massively benefit from the new search tool – pairing new car buyers with the ideal car to match their needs. This includes targeting insurance groups to the buyers’ needs to ensure both the sale price and ongoing costs are affordable.” FirstCar and CAR Magazine join Motors.co.uk’s existing network which includes: Confused.com, Sun Motors, Sunday Times Driving, Parkers, HonestJohn, Carsite Network, Autovillage, Desperate Seller, Drive24, Carvillage and more than 300 regional newspapers and classified sites. *Hitwise, December 2014

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Confused.com launches new partnership with Motors.co.uk

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05 26, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Motors.co.uk_Confused.com (2) Price comparison giant Confused.com has partnered exclusively with Motors.co.uk to make it easier for people across the UK to compare the best car buying options. Motors.co.uk will provide dealer used car stock as part of the Motors.co.uk network, while Confused.com will provide car shoppers with visibility of the key costs involved in owning and running a car.   The partnership will see Motors.co.uk promote Confused.com as its exclusive car insurance partner, enabling an even more informed search solution within the millions of used vehicle searches completed on the site each week.   The car comparison site will mark the fourth network addition by Manheim-owned Motors.co.uk in just 12 months, following exclusive partnership deals with Preloved, the Carsite network, News UK-owned Sun Motors and The Sunday Times Driving.   Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, explains: “The partnership with Confused.com allows us to further extend the exposure of our dealers’ used car stock, as well as giving busy car shoppers on Motors.co.uk the flexibility of sourcing both the car and insurance quote quickly in one place.   “Delivering significant benefits for our advertisers, we believe this relationship is a perfect strategic fit in terms of providing the widest exposure for our dealers’ stock across multiple websites at different stages of the consumer buying process. We know that modern consumers hunt down their ideal car across numerous sites and we’re determined to ensure that wherever car buyers turn, our dealers’ stock is there.”   Martin Coriat, CEO of Confused.com, adds: “Here at Confused.com, we are always looking for new initiatives that will help us to better serve customers. We know that buying a car is a major life purchase, second only to buying a house, so we want to make sure that people have all the information they need to make the best choice possible.   “We’re committed to helping people find the best deal on both their insurance and the car they’re looking to purchase – or even sell. Our brand ethos is to save people time and money, and we think this new platform will do just that!”   The new network partnership has been welcomed by dealers, with Ian Godbold, marketing and CRM director at Cambria, commenting: “It is clear that the Motors.co.uk network strategy is firmly focused on helping dealers like Cambria sell more cars. We benefited right across 2014 from additional leads driven from the Motors.co.uk Carfuffle TV campaign and the addition of the Carsite network.   “Motors.co.uk has delivered yet again, with Sun Motors and Sunday Times Driving, the new Smart Finger TV campaign and now Confused.com. We look forward to this driving even more guests to our forecourts and showrooms”

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USA is ‘A-OK’, says Motors.co.uk

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05 22, 2015 | Posted in Statistics | 0 comments

US car dealerships need to continue to evolve to keep up with consumer demands in an increasingly competitive marketplace, according to research from one of the leading car search sites in the US, Autotrader.com. New research from Autotrader.com says US motorists are generally dissatisfied with the car buying process and dealers need to do more to meet their expectations. This echoes recent research from Autotrader.com’s sister site in the UK, Motors.co.uk, which suggests that while dealerships are on the right road, they need to respond quicker to queries and make sure they don’t lose sight of fundamental customer needs. Both companies are part of global automotive services giant Cox Automotive, whose President Sandy Schwartz this month revealed the verdict of US vehicle market research. The Autotrader.com survey showed that only a handful (17) of a poll of 4,002 US consumers like the current car buying process, with Mr Schwartz advising that dealership changes are needed to keep up with rising customer expectation. The Autotrader.com research revealed some significant changes that US motorists would like to see to the dealership buying process including test drives from product specialists, not salespeople, as well as the ability to test drive multiple vehicles of different brands, all from the same location. Additionally, consumers wanted the ability to start the negotiation process online (56%) and complete credit applications and paperwork online for faster service on the day of the sale. Mr. Shwartz added that dealers and car makers that created better shopping experiences would reap the benefits, with 72% of survey participants claiming they would visit a dealership more often if the buying process were improved and 66% claim they would be more likely buy from such a dealership that more closely delivered their ideal service. Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Motors.co.uk, said: “In both the UK and US, customer expectation is very high. “The findings from our sister company tie in with our own research which shows consumers are looking for a complete package and positive experience when purchasing a car. “US markets often identify trends which make their way over here so dealerships should take note of the demands for increased online options and specialist service. “A combination of smart online processes and strong retail culture will ensure dealers stay on top of their game.”

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Helping hand for former Carcraft employees

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05 07, 2015 | Posted in General | 0 comments

Two former directors of the car supermarket group Carcraft, which was placed into administration at the end of April, have come together to launch a brand new recruitment portal for ex-employees. Based on a Facebook platform, the intention is to help around 500 former Carcraft employees to find work quickly within the industry, while also helping dealers to recruit experienced, knowledgeable staff without the need to pay agency commission. Robin Bridge, director at Vehicle Trading Group, moved on from the Carcraft business in 2014, while Andy Coulthurst, managing director of Manheim-owned Motors.co.uk, was sales director of Carcraft until 2008. Coulthurst started working for the Rochdale-based business as a car parts assistant when aged just fifteen. Bridge and Coulthurst’s plan hinges on the fact that there are currently plenty of dealer jobs in the regions where Carcraft had locations. Their aim is simply to connect previous Carcraft employees with dealers looking to fill vacancies with experienced candidates. Bridge will collate the CVs of interested people and has already more than 40 documents since posting a message on social media Friday evening. Coulthurst, with the assistance of his team at Motors.co.uk, have provided a hub from which dealers and former Carcraft employees can communicate. Bridge explained: “I set the ball rolling on Friday evening with a post on social media. Since then we have had a huge number of CVs come across and expect to see more in the coming days. Key industry players have already stepped in offering positions for sales executives, call centre staff and IT-related roles. The next stage of boosting awareness and access should really help things move along.” Coulthurst continued: “The Motors.co.uk team set about creating a Facebook hub as soon as we opened for business on Tuesday morning. We will publish a summary of the candidates by job role and region. Dealers will also be able to post their vacancies on the hub and we will provide a dedicated resource for a couple of weeks to update Facebook, forward CVs and respond to any queries from either candidates or potential employers.” The plan is already gaining support from the industry. Dylan Haskell of GardX contacted Car Dealer Magazine over the weekend: “It is fantastic to see the industry coming together to help. There are some great people that worked for the Carcraft business and I am personally committed to spreading the word and pointing dealers at the new Facebook hub.” Automotive businesses who would like to post vacancies may share them for free on the hub at www.facebook.com/carcraftpeople. Previous Carcraft employees can also send their CV to carcraftpeople@motors.co.uk for circulation to potential new employers.

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