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YIKES! Autotrader Referral Traffic falls off a cliff in July 2018

georgenenni

Refresher
Apr 13, 2012
100
64
18
First Name
George
Noticing a sharp drop in Referral traffic from Autotrader.com for my dealers across the country. Is everyone else seeing the same thing? Here is a YTD snapshot, with comparison to Cars.com and CarGurus.com. Have tried investigating causes, maybe their recent changes in SRPs, VDPs, etc. Any other ideas?

 
Reactions: Alex Snyder

JamieS

Refresher
Oct 12, 2011
174
93
28
First Name
Jamie
July ATC referrals.JPG Indeed it did George. The third week of June to be more exact. Actually, I would venture to say June 22nd. About a 75% decrease in referrals. The link to the dealer's page was never prominent on the ATC VDP, but now it is closer to the bottom. You can also see it affected both mobile and desktop, so it's across the board. This is a weekly breakdown.
 
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JamieS

Refresher
Oct 12, 2011
174
93
28
First Name
Jamie
That's pretty funny! And here's some data to back that gif up. CarGurus just absolutely laying waste to everyone organically.



CarGurus

ATC

Cars.com


I think the referral issue is more of a VDP layout as George has suggested. Their traffic remained pretty steady this year so far.
 

JamieS

Refresher
Oct 12, 2011
174
93
28
First Name
Jamie
Yes, in 2016, it was the election. I also hate saying this, but the data backs it up. Last year, (for anyone in the south/southeast), it was the hurricanes.
 

John Colascione

Getting Refreshed
Feb 24, 2018
46
22
8
First Name
John
I remember thinking what in the world is going on here. Many said the election.... The only problem with that was after the election, the bouceback that we were all waiting for, didn't come, from what I remember.
 

mikesayre

Getting Refreshed
Jul 11, 2009
99
85
18
First Name
Mike
It's a mobile tracking issue on their end, look at your source urls for m.autotrader.com and July is sparse if not bare.

Not sure exactly when this happened, but comparing May to June we saw a 30% decline, so that would make me think somewhere in later part of June there was a change in their tracking methods.

I'd guess (hope) they're trying to fix this issue? I emailed them but only got this reply..

--
Thanks for your inquiry, we are diligently working on the issue. :)


-ATC Analytics Department
 

georgenenni

Refresher
Apr 13, 2012
100
64
18
First Name
George
It's a mobile tracking issue on their end, look at your source urls for m.autotrader.com and July is sparse if not bare.

Not sure exactly when this happened, but comparing May to June we saw a 30% decline, so that would make me think somewhere in later part of June there was a change in their tracking methods.

I'd guess (hope) they're trying to fix this issue? I emailed them but only got this reply..

--
Thanks for your inquiry, we are diligently working on the issue. :)


-ATC Analytics Department
Hey Mike! You may be right, but I think it is due to the change they made on the their VDPs, moving the dealer website link from the top of the page to nearly the very bottom. This was confirmed on LinkedIn by an Autotrader rep. I checked the referral links, and they all seem to work fine. They are not UTM-tagged, but just straight referrals so GA sorts that out fine.

The m.autotrader referral links are likely down so sharply, since the mobile shopper is less willing to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page vs. the desktop shopper. On desktop it is maybe 4 page scrolls to get to website link, on mobile about 11-12 scrolls.
 
Reactions: Steve Stauning

JamieS

Refresher
Oct 12, 2011
174
93
28
First Name
Jamie
I'd guess (hope) they're trying to fix this issue? I emailed them but only got this reply..

--
Thanks for your inquiry, we are diligently working on the issue. :)
Do you think they even knew? Or that this was quietly being worked on? The kind of traffic they're dealing with, it should have been a red flag within the first 72 hours.

Love the gif too! I've got to concentrate...concentrate...concentrate...Now pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon...Manny manny...Mota mota
 
Reactions: mikesayre