Auto Trader uses Facebook Timeline to promote 'new car' site

Motoring website Auto Trader is one of the first organisations to deploy an app for Facebook’s new Timeline feature.

Motoring website Auto Trader is one of the first organisations to deploy an app for Facebook's new Timeline.

Auto Trader said the app will provide people with a chance to tell their friends which cars they really "want", bringing some of the benefits of social commerce to car buying. Commercially, it will be used to promote the "new cars" area of the company’s website, and will help people feel more comfortable in the decisions they make, said Ian MacDonald, head of consumer marketing at Auto Trader.

“Auto Trader runs sites for new and old car [sales]. The app is deployed on the new car part of the site, on the make and model page," he said. "A user can click on the “want” button to update their timeline with their motoring aspirations, to share and reflect their motoring life. Their friends can offer their opinion by commenting or liking.”

MacDonald said Auto Trader developed and deployed the app within a week, using its in-house, multi-skilled development team.

Mobile Auto Trader

MacDonald said the company's mobile app is on course to achieve two million unique users for January. The full website regularly gets more than 10 million unique users.

“In the past 12 months, the emergence of tablets and the launch of the iPad app has changed how consumers want to access content,” he said. On Auto Trader, the iPad experience is very different to the website, being "much more orientated to browsing”.

“On the iPad app, you can flick pages. The images are the hook, and there is less text. You can scroll through 20 or more pages very quickly,” said MacDonald.

At Auto Trader, the mobile site has a different role to play than the full website. “It increases response to car dealers. We can track dealer response and can demonstrate an incremental increase in responses. In fact, 40% of people accessing the site from their mobile device are actually on the forecourt at the time," he said. "If they do not like the car they are looking at, they will search for cars at dealers nearby."

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