Content Strategy drawing
Marketing Content Strategy

Content Strategy Drives Success for

Content strategy is central to the success of, but it wasn’t always that way. Recently, Scott Markle from joined Skyword in a candid discussion about the genesis of their strategy, which in three years has delivered large-scale success and ROI.

Invest in Content, Not Overhead

AutoTrader’s content marketing program started in 2009 as a bootstrapped experiment that published 54 original articles. In 2012, they published 1,913 pieces of content. And in 2013, they are publishing about eight pieces of content per day. (Review our AutoTrader case study for more program details.)

Surprisingly, they have accomplished this level of content production with a dedicated content staff of only three people. One large competitor employs a content staff of just over 30. AutoTrader accomplishes so much with a small staff because of a well-defined content strategy. Content strategy paired with an efficient content production process form a major competitive advantage that lifts the AutoTrader brand as well as the bottom line. Watch Skyword’s webinar to get actionable insight into how AutoTrader built a model of operational efficiency in content marketing.

Content Fuels Social Media Engagement

Listening to Scott outline the social media success at AutoTrader was really impressive. Strong brands with great content are usually successful at creating engagement on their social media properties. But engagement does not always bring in incremental revenue. Active social media audiences are online in order to discover entertaining content or news that meets a specific information need. Purchase intent is not usually present or strong for social users focused on content discovery, and as a result, referral traffic from social is difficult to convert to paying customers. AutoTrader has been able to achieve both engagement and conversions by creating content that provides real value to auto shoppers with a specific research need. View our webinar to learn more.

A Particularly Difficult Market for Social Media Marketing

Some specialty retailers like Fab and Bonobos are well-known for effectively building a business from Facebook traffic, but social media hasn’t been a perfect fit for every business. Because auto purchases have such high cost and long consideration cycles, it is not realistic to take traffic directly from Facebook and expect a high percentage to convert through filling out dealer quote requests. Content is what bridges that gap in user intent and gets people to convert during later visits.

AutoTrader Results

Here’s what AutoTrader was able to accomplish since 2009:

  • Facebook audience increased 108% to over 148,000 fans
  • YouTube audience increased 231% to 5,300+ subscribers with over 3.3 million channel views
  • AutoTrader attributed $10MM in incremental revenue to customers acquired by content via search and social

Once visitors from organic search and social reached the AutoTrader site, they were among the most engaged users of and were 50% more likely to return to the site. Time on site for these visitors was four minutes longer than the average and included five times more research page views.

Consistently Great Content Delivers Consistent Social Media Success

Social media marketing has the potential to deliver great impact for online businesses. However, digital marketers at agencies and brands have struggled to deliver consistent results from social channels.

But consistency is coming. As social media platforms grow in mainstream popularity, they are creating new tools for users and marketers. For users, this means a little more control in the types of content they discover. For marketers, the changes mean that Facebook and Twitter are both becoming more like a broadcast medium where advertising messages are included alongside content with seamless regularity.

The implication is that strong brands investing in content strategy for the web, including social media, are primed for success on maturing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, both of which are focused on improving the performance and discoverability of branded content.

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