Three-horse race in SA’s auto vertical – EM data

17 Oct 2017

In September, Gumtree Auto, the auto category of Gumtree South Africa, edged past Cars.co.za to become the country’s second-most-popular auto site behind AutoTrader.co.za as measured by unique visitors. In September, a mere 300,000 unique visitors separated the top three auto sites.

According to audience statistics site Effective Measure, AutoTrader was most popular, with Gumtree Auto in second place, Cars.co.za in third place and Wheels24, the auto site of Naspers subsidiary Media24, in fourth position, with a big gap to No. 3 (look at the chart below).

AutoTrader received 1.7 million unique visitors in September, Gumtree Auto received just short of 1.6 million and Cars.co.za received just more than 1.4 million. Cars.co.za belongs to the private company Cars on the Internet (Pty) Ltd., with Ros Mcllroy, Alastair McMurry, and Jonathan Abbott the three co-founders. 

From the Effective Measure (EM) stats it seems as if the race for dominance in the SA auto vertical is a three-horse race. But, we cannot be absolutely sure – EM doesn’t measure all big contenders. For instance, OLX, JunkMail, and Hozi are not measured.

EM, Southern Africa’s leading digital audience measurement and analytics company, currently tracks and monitors about 300 sites in South Africa. 

The Australia-based company was founded in 2008 and only began operating in Southern Africa in 2010, after being appointed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB SA) as the official online measurement currency in the country. 

We reported recently (here) that the local anti-trust authority is considering whether or not to give the green light for Naspers to buy AutoTrader. A green light would bring Wheels24 and AutoTrade together. The EM stats (above) confirm that a green light would not widen the gap much between the auto sites of Naspers (on the one hand) and Gumtree Auto and Cars.co.za (on the other hand). At least, as measured by unique visitors, and pageviews. (It’ll still be a 3-horse race after a green light – editor.)

Greg Mason, regional lead for Effective Measure in Sub-Sahara Africa (photo from his LinkedIn page with thanks)

Greg Mason, EM’s regional lead for Sub-Sahara Africa, explained to us that EM collects its data by inserting a simple JavaScript tag into the backend of its partners’ websites. “This tag then allows us to collect website traffic stats as well as serve the survey to website visitors.”

EM gathers usual web traffic data, such as frequency and time spent on the site, unique visitors and page impressions. With the surveys, they look at demographic data as well as browsing habits.

This data is all anonymized and there is no personally identifiable data,” Mason added. 

The JavaScript tag EM used, addresses common issues that restrict data collection, such as cookie blocking, machine-based traffic and multiple tags on a page. In fact, it can even figure out what device is used, and from which country the site is being accessed.

Once collected, clients can view their data on the EM dashboard. “We do not manipulate or analyze the data,” Mason explained.  

Among the South African clients of EM are Times Live, Gumtree, Caxton, Kagiso, IOL, DSTV, Primedia, MyBroadband, eTV and eNCA and AutoTrader.

Speaking about new trends, Mason said they’ve noticed 20-percent growth in unique browsers on classifieds sites over the last 12 months. But, that was about the only change. “(The indicators) page impressions, time on site, and pages viewed per unique browser stayed constant. The average time on site stood at 7 minutes 33 seconds, and average pageviews at eight pages per unique browser,” he said.  

He also pointed out that, in South Africa, on average about 60 percent of traffic generated on classified sites comes from mobile devices.

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Louisa Steyl

I'm a former Media24 journalist and editor with almost nine years of experience in a community newspaper newsroom. I now write news articles, features, press releases, biographies and SEO content.