Chicago—February 16, 2009—Despite the faltering economy and weak new-car sales, Cars.com is reporting steady gains in car shopping activity on its site. In addition to a solid January performance in which contacts to Cars.com advertisers increased 20 percent over the previous year, the site saw a surge in February traffic following the launch of its 2009 marketing campaign on Super Bowl XLIII.
In the week following this year's Super Bowl, contacts to Cars.com dealers were up 12 percent over the same period last year, when the company made its Super Bowl debut. At the time, the economic climate was stronger and Cars.com was setting traffic records throughout the first quarter of 2008.
"At a time when the automotive industry is dominated by bad news, we are thrilled to deliver positive results for our advertisers and connect them with qualified, in-market shoppers when they need it most," said Mitch Golub, Cars.com president. "There is currently pent-up consumer demand for car buying, and this record Cars.com site activity demonstrates how our marketing efforts are drawing these consumers closer to purchase."
Through its Super Bowl investment alone, Cars.com reached 98.7 million viewers -- one of the largest television audiences of all time. The Cars.com ad, "Lifetime of Confidence," also broke through with viewers, ranking No. 6 in the USA Today Ad Meter. Cars.com was also noted in Advertising Age for its gains in brand perception among Super Bowl advertisers. The all-new ad shows how Cars.com can help shoppers prepare to buy a car with the research tools and advice needed to make a purchase decision.
Cars.com's Super Bowl ad also drove results to the site's mobile application, which was featured in the spot. On top of record traffic to the mobile site throughout January, daily page views shot up an additional 43 percent the week after the Super Bowl.
"We know our confidence campaign is working to drive qualified traffic to the Cars.com website and to build our brand," Golub said. "Car shoppers are going online now more than ever to do their homework, and because of our investment in marketing, they are coming to Cars.com. Our investment in Super Bowl was just the beginning of a year-long effort to keep Cars.com top-of-mind with shoppers and drive results to our advertisers. A complete, integrated marketing plan with high-profile sponsorships like ESPN Saturday Afternoon College Football will work to bring quality, in-market shoppers to our site and our dealers' showrooms."
Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, Cars.com puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.
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 and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).