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Auto Trader updates search algorithm to focus on consumer relevance

Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s director of commercial products

Auto Trader has rolled out changes to its search algorithm to prioritise relevance to a consumer’s search criteria, as well as price.

Price was previously the higher weighted search factor, but Auto Trader said that after testing, changing the search to focus more heavily on consumer selected criteria delivered 10% more leads, as well as more dealership map views, location clicks, and website clicks and Auto Trader account ‘saves’.

Auto Trader said the new relevance-based search will not affect paid prominence products such as standard, advanced and premium packages or the Lead Gen (Pay per Click) product, which will retain their positioning in search results as they are calculated independently of regular search results.

Consumers can still sort search by low to high vehicles. Search by monthly price for new and used vehicles will continue to be ordered by lowest monthly price. The upgrade will only affect cars, and will not feature in the ‘new’ search tab. 

Search results are compiled using Auto Trader’s machine learning to crunch 4,500 searches every minute on the marketplace by its 49.1m monthly visitors.

Auto Trader research shows that one in three consumers would have bought their car sooner if the process was easier for them.

Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader director of commercial products, said: “All of our research shows that retailers that price to market from day one enjoy a faster speed of sale, which means they’re selling more cars, more quickly, and for more profit.

“We’re committed to making the car buying experience easier for consumers and in the process providing our customers with the very best marketplace to sell their cars.

“By showing relevant results and useful information upfront to car buyers, we’re delivering retailers with more meaningful connections earlier in the process, and fewer questions from less informed consumers.”

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