Chicago—April 4, 2007—Cars.com hit record traffic highs in March, with 9 million unique visitors. The site also drew an all-time high of 15 million visits in March, a 17 percent lift over the previous month.Traffic gains yielded strong performance for Cars.com advertisers, as Cars.com shoppers contacted automotive dealers in record numbers. Email and phone leads increased more than 20 percent per dealer over the previous year.
Cars.com president Mitch Golub attributed the gains to the site's largest- ever marketing investment and to the many product enhancements Cars.com has recently launched.
"Our efforts to meet the needs of shoppers on Cars.com have been equally as important as our efforts to drive more shoppers to the site," Golub said. "We have doubled our investment in product development and significantly enhanced the user experience, making it easier than ever for car buyers to find the right car on Cars.com. The results are evident in the record number of leads we are driving to our advertising partners."
Several new products on Cars.com, including a complete redesign of the site's vehicle listings and new features such as Lifestyle Criteria Search and enhanced comparison tools are driving visitors deeper into the purchase funnel and converting more shoppers into buyers.
To drive traffic to new features and build brand awareness, Cars.com kicked off its most aggressive national advertising campaign in company history this February, with a presenting sponsorship of ESPN Saturday Afternoon College Basketball. The campaign, which runs throughout the year, is valued at more than $110 million and features several key sponsorships. In addition to ESPN College Basketball, Cars.com will also be a presenting sponsor of Saturday Afternoon College Football on ESPN. Cars.com spots will also air in a variety of ESPN and ESPN2's most popular programs, including "SportsCenter," "Baseball Tonight" and "Cold Pizza," as well as in special events such as the NFL draft.
Sponsorships on leading cable networks such as Discovery Channel, TBS, TNT and USA Network are also critical to the site's plans to reach more than 220 million TV viewers. The national television campaign complements extensive local advertising support from Cars.com's network of 200 newspaper and television partners and a comprehensive online marketing program, which includes the site's growing network of online partnerships.
"Cars.com saw an immediate lift in traffic with the launch of our 2007 ad campaign, our largest media investment to date," Golub said. "Site performance was outstanding the entire month. In addition to topping monthly traffic records, we broke daily traffic records 10 times. Most important, we delivered record results for our advertisers."
Partnered with more than 200 leading metro newspapers, television stations and their websites, Cars.com is the most comprehensive destination for those looking to buy or sell a new or used car. The site lists more than 2 million vehicles from 13,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Recently selected by Forbes.com as a Best of the Web site for car shopping, Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of car shoppers connect with sellers each month.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).