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Increasingly, a lot of the mobile discussion is oriented towards ecommerce. But what does a major vertical site do with mobile when it doesn’t sell anything online?

AutoTrader, the leading auto site, doesn’t sell cars online. “We basically sell advertising,” notes Jose Puente, AutoTrader’s Director of Product Strategy, Mobile/Affinity Brands, who was speaking Oct. 22 at OMMA Mobile MCommerce event in Los Angeles.

Mobile is important to AutoTrader for a number of reasons. It reaches consumers on the go as they are searching for cars. It also reaches certain demographic groups that are more mobile oriented than online oriented. Puente himself is a veteran marketer who in the past was a Hispanic Yellow Pages publisher. “The U.S. Hispanic population has historically over indexed in mobile usage over other segments,” he notes.

“Today the difference between the our website and our mobile products is not considerably different. On average, about eighty percent of people that research a particular car don’t actually end up buying that car,” says Puente. “Our sites help car shoppers in the discovery process and provide the tools to negotiate a reasonable deal. We are currently working on enhancing our mobile products for ‘on the lot’ experiences, the part of the shopper journey that we can now be a relevant part of due to mobile,” he added.’s mobile products, including a mobile website and an Android and iPhone app boost the usage of ‘MyAutoTrader’, a personalization feature. As shoppers save vehicles that interest them, sellers are notified in real time that “anonymous” shoppers are interested in a specific vehicle in real time. Sellers can provide additional information about the vehicle, thus improving the experience for buyers.

“It creates a lot of engagement with shoppers, and provides real measurable value back to advertisers. We have seen as much as a 42 percent increase in buyer to seller interactions as a result,” notes Puente, ” and consumer ‘value event’s’ make up a large part of the way we are measured from a success standpoint with our advertisers.”

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