Auto Trader has unveiled a website redesign amid plans to streamline the company and its brands fully under the Auto Trader name, a move which will see the name of the company changed from Trader Media Group to Auto Trader in the coming weeks.
The web redesign is part of the company’s investment in the now fully-digital product and the homepage refresh provides better functionality particularly for mobile devices.
The change is the first to come after the completion of Guardian Media Group’s sale of its 50.1 per cent stake in Trader Media Group to Apax Partners for £619m, which makes Apax the sole shareholder.
The plan ahead now for Auto Trader, according to consumer marketplace director Nick Gee, is to continue streamlining Trader Media Group’s brands – such as Bike Trader and Van Trader – under the Auto Trader name and simplify the digital offering for users.
Of all traffic going to the Auto Trader site, 60 per cent is now coming from mobile devices, and of all views coming specifically from the desktop version of the website, a quarter of traffic now comes from tablet devices.
“We’re now a fully digital company having closed the magazine last year, and the longer term plan now is to align everything,” he told The Drum.
“Before, our apps, mobile sites and websites were all a little bit fragmented in look and feel and brand. The refresh of the desktop website now aligns with the Android app, the iPhone app and the mobile website, so they’re all starting to look like the same Auto Trader. We designed a cross-platform style guide that we’re going to use moving forward to have a seamless Auto Trader that users use to find their cars.”
While users can still visit the old URLs for the separate Trader Media Group brands, Gee said that all will now carry clear Auto Trader branding, and the streamlining doesn’t stop there.
“We’re going to the next stages of that,” he continued. “At the moment, people in the industry would know us as Trader Media Group so we’re changing the company name to Auto Trader. The company will be Auto Trader, the brands will be Auto Trader. We’re really unifying around that one Auto Trader.”
The refreshed website was designed in-house by Auto Trader with the aim of creating a “cleaner, simplified” service for users. It now has 43 per cent less clickable links and is optimised for touch screen devices. In addition, more editorial will be provided on the site, such as car reviews, videos and advice.
The new homepage also hosts new advertising formats, such as homepage takeovers, which Auto Trader hopes will entice brands for car launch ads. Hyundai took a front page ad to mark the redesign launch.
The sector is heating up, according to Gee, and Auto Trader is facing more competition now than it did two years ago as car sales improve, although the market is now a digital playing field. In January, News UK launched SunMotors.co.uk but left the service sitting outside of the Sun's paywall.
"There’s a lot of interest in this sector at the moment," Gee added. "Sales for the big car groups are going well at the moment, and that means publications like the Sun are coming more into the market. The RAC are also interested in the sector. There’s more competition than there was two years ago, but we’re really focused on what we’re doing and we think we have a current proposition that really suits consumers."