What if I said to you that the number 1 online automotive vertical website in the world in October 2016 was Autoscout24.ch in Switzerland?
I can, for the first time, compare sites from different countries on the same measures…..based on my traffic health algorithm on 72 websites in 38 different countries
It is not unusual for us to visit a new country and have 3 players swear they are number 1 in online auto classifieds.
One points to traffic, another to inventory and another to dealers (who needs revenue and profit anyway?).
At the end of the day……making money has to be the overriding measurement
Everyone wants to be number 1 and it seems this is especially so in the online world where to claim yourself as the number 1 player in your niche is vital for advertisers, investors, etc.
This is hard enough to decipher within each country so how do we determine what automotive vertical website is the number 1 site globally?
From an online automotive vertical aspect, I see businesses claim number 1 in their country/region based on anything they can measure has them in front – visits, unique visitors, inventory count, dealer count – and the numbers can be near on impossible to test from outside the business.
You can’t do it by visits, inventory or dealers because a website operates in a country that has a large population with a huge car market will naturally have more visits, inventory and dealers – this does not make them the number 1 in the world.
I’ve wrestled with this for some time as carsales looks to strategically partner with more online automotive businesses around the world and I look at peers, competitors and targets so I’ve come up with a measure that for the first time doesn’t care how many visits, inventory or dealers are on the site.
So getting back to who is number 1, how’d I come to this conclusion and what exactly is Autoscout24.ch number 1 in?
What I’ve done is created an index using a weighted algorithm for each automotive website around the world based on things that measure the health and stability of their traffic, namely user engagement and traffic sources. For me these metrics can tell you a lot about the online business and for the first time, I can measure websites from country to country on like for like data in order to get a picture of their real position in the market.
Like everything in online, one form of measurement doesn’t tell you the whole story but this index allows me to rank every website around the world to get an accurate picture of their traffic health irrespective of their traffic volume (although to get an “official” index a website must have over 100,000 publicly measurable monthly visits; this number is arbitrary).
This means I can, for the first time, compare sites from different countries on the same measures. Traffic health should be pretty basic and each component would have individual focus within each business. Product teams would be all over user engagement metrics; SEO experts would be working to ensure the long tail of each website is indexable; and SEM spend would be closely monitored to ensure the right spend is getting the right results.
It’s pretty easy to correlate a high SEM spend, low direct traffic and a high bounce rate and what it means – poor traffic health – but as with most metrics to measure a number 1, they usually only tell part of the story.
In any case, based on my traffic health algorithm on 72 websites in 38 different countries, the top automotive vertical website in October 2016 was Autoscout24.ch (Switzerland) and businesses that are part of the carsales network including Encar.com (South Korea), Joinvillecarros.com.br (Brazil) and Chileautos.cl (Chile) are in the top 5 (the website rounding out the top 5 was Gebrauchtwagen.de in Germany).
Each of these websites has very strong user engagement metrics and extremely healthy, sustainable traffic sources.
It’s interesting that some countries and in fact continents have common traits in user engagement and/or traffic sources that flow through the websites.
The regional Brazilian website indexes do not surprise me given the regional focus in Brazil where dealers and consumers alike are somewhat parochial to regional automotive websites resulting in high user engagement and positive traffic sources which sees websites that are now part of the Webmotors network high up in this indexing including Blucarros.com.br, Joinvillecarros.com.br, Compreauto.com.br and Meucarango.com.br.
Anyway, my indexing algorithm gives me a great picture of where our peers, competitors, targets and carsales network sites are at around the world irrespective of the traffic they claim, inventory or dealer count.
At the end of the day, all of these websites are businesses and we all know that, as my esteemed former colleague used to remind me, “you can’t bank wank” – in other words, making money has to be the overriding measurement.