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Cobalt, Edmunds.com Partner to Study Online Automotive Shopper Behavior

January 30, 2014

SEATTLE and SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Cobalt, a business unit of ADP Dealer Services Inc., and Edmunds.com have formed a strategic partnership to bring insights into consumer behavior and in-market advertising. The new relationship marks the first time that the behavior of anonymous in-market consumers will be analyzed regionally across advertising networks, search engines, independent research and OEM sites, and dealer websites.

Consumer behavior will be analyzed across these properties as consumers interact with different types of branded and unbranded content, not simply measured as clicks or visits, officials said. The joint research will guide marketers to understand the advertising value attribution of different content and offers in contributing toward a sale.

The collaboration intends to share its findings with the automotive industry to advance digital marketing practice as well as to inform the design of dynamic consumer experiences and audience acquisition to optimize marketing performance.

According to a Datalogix study, 59% of all new-vehicle shoppers use Edmunds.com during their car shopping experience, providing the vehicle information site with valuable insights into shoppers’ vehicle purchase intent and cross-shopping interest. 

Cobalt has built a comprehensive warehouse of automotive shopper behavior, observing interactions of millions of shoppers with billions of advertising impressions, more than 500 million inventory searches, and a network of dealer and regional websites. More than 85 Cobalt business intelligence professionals research which customer experiences convert to automotive sales and use these insights to guide Cobalt’s dynamic marketing platform and personalized consumer experience engine to serve each consumer with the right content, at the right time, on the right media property and their device of choice to advance their purchase decision. 

“Cobalt’s prime focus is on how we can improve the auto buyer’s experience to the benefit of the consumer, manufacturer and dealer,” said Max Steckler, vice president of global advertising solutions/business intelligence. “Edmunds.com’s unmatched insights into cross-brand consumer vehicle research combined with Cobalt’s research and dynamic consumer experiences platform will give our clients a profound competitive advantage in serving the rapidly changing automotive consumer.”

Edmunds and Cobalt are already collaborating to understand the experience of these shoppers as they go between Edmunds and the Cobalt dealer network. This research has found that consumers who visit both properties purchase at more than three times the rate of the average dealer website visitor. By optimizing consumers’ experiences as they cross properties, the companies expect to serve consumers better and significantly improve conversion.

Cobalt and Edmunds will be inviting manufacturers to participate in this initiative, helping them and their agencies understand the role their audiences and properties play in the overall consumer journey, allowing them to better link their brand marketing execution with consumers’ in-market journeys.

“It is part of our culture to innovate new ways to apply and share our vast and growing collection of car-shopping trend data,” said Brian Terr, Edmunds.com vice president of business development. “Our collaboration with Cobalt is part of our continuing effort to provide car buyers with a richer and easier shopping experience.  Our dealer and OEM partners will also benefit from a better understanding of consumer engagement with their brands and, as a result, have a greater ability to make more strategic marketing decisions.”

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