The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl, but Cars.com is claiming a different kind of victory.
Although it didn’t run its own Super Bowl spot, Cars.com was the beneficiary of several high-profile manufacturer Super Bowl ads. If there’s a debate on whether the game is worth it, Cars.com traffic data would argue in the affirmative.
Traffic on the online car retailer’s site spiked following TV advertising spots from auto brands during the game, according to a Monday, Feb. 3 press release from Cars.com. At an audience of 193 million viewers and a ticket price of $5 million there’s a lot riding on Super Bowl ads, and according to Cars.com, those ads yield results, at least in the automaker category. Spots from the eight automakers that aired during the game led to spikes in Cars.com traffic. Site results showed an average 1,646 percent lift to pages of the specific car makes and models, as well as an average 554 percent lift in automakers’ pages on the digital marketplace. Audi, GMC, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and Porsche all aired spots during the game.
“Watching the game isn’t a static experience as millions of viewers now use multiple screens to experience the spectacle, which makes it possible for them to react to a marketing message immediately,” Brooke Skinner Ricketts, chief experience officer for Cars.com, said in the release. “Shoppers flock to Cars.com after automaker commercials to explore vehicles, read reviews and find a local dealer in their area. We’re a trusted source of information in the car-shopping experience.”
Cars.com analyzed site traffic to advertised brands during a 16-minute window for each televised ad — eight minutes before each spot aired and again eight minutes after. Genesis — which featured Chrissy Teigen and John Legend logged a 5,530 percent increase to its pages. Each of the other brands’ pages increased, as well, with Porsche up 1,072 percent, Hyundai 961 percent, Audi 639 percent, Kia 553 percent, Jeep 336 percent and Toyota 238 percent.
GMC did not advertise an in-market car, but instead teased its Hummer EV, which is not yet available for purchase. The spot did create interest in previously released Hummer models. Cars.com saw a lift of 479 percent to used Hummer pages, and a 26 percent lift to new GMC pages on its site in the eight minutes after the Hummer EV commercial aired.
Cars.com could use some good news after some recent instability. In December, Becky Sheehan, chief financial officer, resigned to be replaced by Jandy Tomy, vice president of treasury and investor relations in the interim. Its most recent quarterly data showed $0.32 earnings per share (EPS) for the third quarter. The firm had revenue of $152.10 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $150.23 million. Cars.com had a negative net margin of 69.79 percent, and revenue for the quarter was down 10.2 percent compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.55 earnings per share.