AutoTrader.com, a marketplace for used and new cars, has inked deals with Atlanta-based Cox Media Group and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to provide vehicle listings and content to the companies' Web sites. The companies say the deals will boost drive traffic both for AutoTrader.com, and Cox Media Group radio stations and AJC's Web sites.
Under the Cox agreement, AutoTrader.com will handle new and used online automobile classified listings on 73 of Cox's radio Web sites covering 18 markets nationwide and including stations in Atlanta; Miami; Honolulu; Tampa and Orlando, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; and on Long Island in New York. In many of these markets, Cox operates a cluster of radio stations, meaning that AutoTrader.com's listings will be visible on multiple stations' Web sites in the same market, dramatically increasing exposure for those listings.
AutoTrader says that when consumers visit automotive sections of Cox radio stations' Web sites they will see a co-branded autos channel powered by it. The host radio station will handle news links and advertising displays.
Visitors to AJC's autos section, which was formerly AJCcars.com, will be redirected to AutoTrader.com, where they get listings and automotive content, research and compare functionality, reviews and the like. The AJCcars print section will continue to be published in the papers' Friday and Saturday editions, and the AJC will continue to manage the section's content.
John Kovac, senior director of consumer advertising for the Atlanta-based AutoTrader, says the AJC part of the deal furthers one that AutoTrader did last year to put its functionality on the Web sites of Cox-owned papers like The Palm Beach Post, the Austin American-Statesman and the Dayton Daily News. The Atlanta Journal Constitution is Cox's flagship publication.
"We piloted with those papers, but the Cox radio piece is a different beast," he says. "For the newspapers, we have been able to provide them with classified listings and content in any local markets and also give them a best-of-breed experience for consumers."
Kovac explains that the idea is not to drive consumers to radio stations' Web sites to look for auto listings, but that consumers will discover the auto channels when they are on radio station Web sites for other reasons. "Consumers aren't thinking 'I'm looking for a car so I'll go to '99x.com'; they are driven there by content spoken about on air, or to see what songs are being played, to listen to streaming radio online, or to check out promotional offers. Then they are coming across the auto channel. We get more exposure for cars listed on our site and therefore more exposure for our sellers who list with us; it's a bigger bang."
Kovac says that AutoTrader is the top classified automotive site and the company's strategy is to focus on that and not expand too much into other areas. "What we are focused on is providing consumers with a really rich, one-stop shop experience, and we are building around that," he says. If there is an expansion strategy, it is to boost AutoTrader's new-car function. The company is in the midst of a major ad campaign and will ramp up media activity on "Monday Night Football."