- Cars.com announced in a press release the launch of an artificial intelligence-powered (AI) vehicle matchmaking platform to help streamline its car shopping experience. The brand debuted a creative campaign, "We Met on Cars.com," to support the launch.
- The matchmaking experience uses a machine learning algorithm that makes car recommendations based on users' lifestyle preferences. Users give feedback on 15 different lifestyle preferences, and Cars.com provides up to 20 recommendations based on those responses and sentiment analysis. A pilot of the experience led to a 752% increase in profile creation, 87% increase in return visitors, a 225% boost in email leads and two times more page views per visitor compared to the company's traditional search function.
- "We Met on Cars.com," created with agency R/GA Chicago, riffs on ads for dating websites and apps by depicting situations where people with different interests and personalities find their perfect vehicle match. The campaign includes 30-, 15- and six-second spots that will run across TV, digital, program integrations and social media. It will also include custom content partnerships with the dating site Tinder to deepen the connection between matchmaking and car shopping.
Cars.com is continuing to try and strengthen its services by leveraging AI and related technologies like machine learning to personalize the search experience. The latest platform cheekily plays on a matchmaking model popularized by mobile dating services, where users can choose "like" or "don't like" for car recommendations, and the platform will suggest the "perfect vehicle matches" in the area.
Partnering with Tinder might also boost the appeal of the campaign and platform with millennials who favor the dating app, and who also frequently prefer to shop online and on mobile channels. Younger consumers, who are buying cars less frequently than older generations, tend to be more responsive and feel more loyalty to brands that offer unique, personalized experiences. The new Cars.com platform is in line with a broader auto industry trend: By 2019, researchers predict that about 10% of vehicle transactions will be done online, according to Automotive News.
The matchmaking tool builds on other recent technology-driven features Cars.com has introduced. In April, the company added a "Hot Car" function to its digital pricing options that uses machine learning to identify the vehicles that are most likely to sell quickly. The insights are based on car make and model, geographic demand, length of time for sale, pricing and consumer behavior. Tests of Hot Car led to double-digit increases in conversions, with particular strength shown on mobile.