We Are The Kings Of Intent We Are The Kings Of Intent

With around 12 million addressable, opted-in, privacy-compliant emails of Australians, carsales doesn’t see itself as competing with other online auto classifieds businesses, instead it sees itself as in the fight with Meta, TikTok and the other global tech giants. Davor Vilusic, executive general manager – media carsales, and Stephen Kyefulumya, general manager – media product and technology, took time out of their busy schedules in Las Vegas during Adobe Summit last month to catch up with B&T’s David Hovenden.

The thing you must appreciate about Carsales is its size. With a market capitalisation of around $13 billion, it’s bigger than Nine Entertainment by a factor of five or six. You have to times Seven West Media by more than 10 to get to an equivalent value.

While Carsales started off life hoovering up print car classifieds revenue; the one time “rivers of gold” as Rupert Murdoch termed them, Carsales (or Car Group) is now so much more and so much bigger than what the businesses they disrupted ever were.

While Carsales is the halo brand of the group, there’s also Bikesales, Boatsales, Caravanandcampingsales, Constructionsales, Farmmachinerysales, Trucksales and Tyresales all in Australia. Then there’s the overseas expansions in North America, South America and Asia.

“We’ve had a very successful media business with the classifieds for a long time, but it’s been incredibly laser focused in the category that they operate in. When I joined and looked under the hood in terms of what the opportunities are for the business . . . the data proposition that the business has is really undervalued in market,” Vilusic tells B&T.

“And probably the marketplaces in general are undervalued in terms of the quality and the richness of the data the business has,” he adds.

Central to that value is Adobe’s real-time customer data platform where all of that rich customer resides.

While everyone was focused on contextual marketing, Carsales was building a people-based marketing strategy that was about to pay off in spades.

“Now it’s a much more diversified business and that is because we’ve moved to people and life stages and understanding where they are in their own lives,” Vilusic explains.

“You’ve always been looking at two-seater cars then all of a sudden your looking at SUVs, what might have happened in your life,” Kyefulumya embellishes.

And while third-party cookie deprecation was one of the early drivers of Carsales transformation, that’s become much less of a problem for the business now.

“It was all about how do we move away from cookies and move towards targeting and reaching people,” says Kyefulumya.

“We are now a business that’s 80 per cent mobile. Fifty per cent of that 80 per cent is app-based so cookies are irrelevant,” says Vilusic. “Our focus was: how do we ensure that we’re a mobile-first business that drives strong data solutions for customers.”

The media world is moving from very much a contextual-based mindset; you want to be in sport, you buy sport. When the whole audience of data came into the world, it really changed things.

“Just because you’re looking for cars doesn’t mean you don’t eat cheeseburgers,” said Vilusic.


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Carsales Davor Vilusic Stephen Kyefulumya

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