The app and website aim to offer a simpler way for consumers to find their ideal vehicle in an increasingly complex market by helping them navigate the more than 40 automotive brands, 460 models currently on the market, and tens of thousands of trim options that too often make choosing a car overwhelming.
Themed as the automotive industry’s first online matchmaking experience, it is powered by AI learning. The campaign, from R/GA Chicago, is themed “We Met on Cars.com.” Creative shows scenarios where people with varying interests and passions find their perfect vehicle match.
Creative highlights how everyone has the ability to be swept off their feet by a car: A cowgirl falls in love with a pickup truck’s horsepower, a Labradoodle owner connects with a hybrid and sparks fly between a crew team and an SUV with a third row. The overall theme is how Cars.com creates chemistry that endures long after shoppers find the car of their dreams, says Brooke Skinner Ricketts, Cars.com’s chief marketing officer.
The experience and campaign will set apart Cars.com in the commoditized auto marketplace category, Skinner Ricketts says. The effort debuted Aug. 5 with 30-second, 15-second and 6-second multi-channel creative across network TV, digital, program integrations and social, as well as a range of digital and online video executions. It includes custom content partnerships with companies like Tinder.
Cars.com is using a proprietary machine learning algorithm to make personalized car recommendations based on shoppers’ lifestyle preferences. Users share their feedback on up to 15 different lifestyle preferences and then Cars.com delivers up to 20 recommended matches based on user preferences and sentiment analysis. Users “like” or “don’t like” the recommendations offered. The experience then delivers perfect matches nearest user’s location.
Early-stage car shoppers don’t know what they’re looking for. In fact, an overwhelming majority are undecided on make and model, yet nearly all online car search experiences force people to select make or model as the first step in their journey, says Tony Zolla, Cars.com chief product officer.
A pilot of Matchmaking Experience resulted in a 752% increase in profile creation on the site, 87% increase in return visitors, 225% increase in email leads and two times the number of page views per visitor versus the traditional search experience.