Technical issues arising after a platform update left car dealers reliant on Auto Trader Market Insight view of their advertisements’ performance in the dark for more than two days.
Chris Kelly, chief technology officer at the classified advertising giant, said that car retailers were able to continue to “source, price, advertise their stock” despite Auto Trader's weekend outage, but dealers told AM they were left without key marketing data they had become reliant on.
One independent retailer said that Auto Trader Insights, which allows traders a view of their vehicle adverts’ performance against similar products available on the platform, had been out of action from Thursday (Sept 17) to Monday.
Auto Trader told AM that the problem – impacting the data of almost 400,000 used car classified adverts – arose on Saturday morning and was rectified on Monday.
The dealer told AM: “We were left with no way of keeping tabs on the performance of adverts for cars we had live on Auto Trader for four days.
“Right now, at a time when it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your listings to ensure they’re priced to the market and attracting plenty of attention, it was a bit unnerving.”
He added: “Unusually for Auto Trader, who are normally very pro-active and transparent, there’s been no apology or explanation since.”
Kelly said: “Key decision-making tools including Auto Trader Valuations, Price Indicator and Retail Rating were all unaffected by this issue and our retailer partners were able to source, price, advertise their stock and continue to use our data.
“What’s more, all consumer leads were delivered and actionable – so retailers continued to trade and consumers continued to buy cars as normal.
“The issue impacted retailers’ ability to analyse the performance of their adverts on Auto Trader for a short period of time over the weekend.
“Our team identified the issue quickly following a platform update on Saturday morning. We dealt with it rapidly, but as a result our retailer partners were temporarily unable to track their advert performance against similar vehicles on our platform.
“As the UK’s largest marketplace for new and used cars, we process millions of data points every day and are one of the only sources of real time market data available to retailers.
“The fact that we provide live data to our partners requires a level of data and processing capability unmatched in the industry.
“Thankfully, due to the stringent measures and monitoring processes we have in place, these occurrences are incredibly rare."
Asked about the impact on IMDA members, group chairman Umesh Samani said: “Many of our members rely on this data and constantly analyse the performance of their adverts as they’re advised to do so, in order to make buying decisions and price adjustments.
“A number of members raised concerns that they had been unable to access that data via Auto Trader over the weekend.
“Personally, I’m still of the opinion that all I need is that one buyer and I don’t analyse my marketing data in such fine detail.”