Edmunds is an American online resource for researching new and used cars, with over 16 million page views a month.
As they grew, Edmunds realized that car manufacturers and dealerships were clamoring for an opportunity to get more visibility on Edmunds's site - leading to the decision to incorporate sponsored car listings into their site/app. These ad units would involve car manufacturers/dealers paying to promote their car listings in relevant car searches.
So Edmunds decided to build their own sponsored listings platform for displaying sponsored car listings in search results.
Below details that process, why/how they did it, and what the results were.
"Our aim was to build an innovative sponsored cars ad platform that would put us ahead of our competitors."Keith Sader, Director of Ad Engineering
In designing their platform, Edmunds had a few key goals:
They could have alternatively tried to build this custom ad platform from scratch - but that would have involved hiring new engineers or borrowing some from other projects. Because of this, they partnered with Kevel, whose ad serving APIs made it easy to build the platform they wanted in weeks.
The sponsored car listings platform Edmunds built involved only backend changes. To the user, the layout of the page and app stayed the same, and the car listings looked and behaved like they did before.
With this product, when someone searches for a specific car, then a car manufacturer or dealer can pay to have their car listed in the "Deals Near You" section.
For instance, Toyota can pay to have a listing for their 2019 Tacoma appear whenever someone searches for "Toyota Tacoma".
With this ad platform, Edmunds now had:
Edmunds saw positive results immediately upon launching:
|Revenue growth||These new ad units have led to 30% ad revenue growth|
|Fast response times||Edmunds got response times as low as 35ms - ensuring that these paid listings didn't slow down page/app load speeds|
|Launch date||Using Kevel they released this product in just weeks - letting them launch 9x faster than if they had tried to do it entirely by themselves|
This enabled to Edmunds to:
Edmunds's results highlight the importance of treating ads like an extension of your core product, rather than something to outsource to a third-party.
While building innovative, custom ad platforms takes vision and engineering time, it comes with many benefits, such as having full control over your ad revenue. If Edmunds had stuck purely with Google Ads Manager, they would not have seen the 30% revenue growth they saw.
Have you built your own sponsored listings platform? We'd love to hear from you!
Chris has worked in ad tech for over twelve years in a variety of roles - giving him customer support, PM, and marketing perspectives from both the advertiser and publisher sides. He's the VP of Marketing at Kevel.