Cars.com Inc. (NYSE:CARS) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Nov 06, 2019 • 10:00 am ET

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Cars.com Inc. (NYSE:CARS) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Q & A
Operator
Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] And our first question comes from the line of Tom White from D.A. Davidson. Your line is open.

Analyst
Tom White

Thank you for taking my questions. Good morning everyone. Just Alex on dealer count it sounds like October's been a strong start to the quarter. I think you said nearly 100 net adds. Can you extrapolate that you guys are going to be able to grow dealers again net dealers for the full quarter now that given affiliate conversions are behind you, the traffic trends are very strong.

And then just on the traffic growth obviously very impressive. Any sense you can give us of what downstream lead volume growth is looking like or looks like in the quarter? And then just lastly the Dean Evans' hiring announcement, there's some discussion in there around digital video, which I just hope you could elaborate there a bit about how that kind of fits into your broader solution strategy and product portfolio.

Executive
Alex Vetter

Sure Tom thanks. Well, look we certainly are reassured on the dealer growth in October having the first full month where we've had no focus on affiliate conversions and have complete control of the dealer network, it's not lost to me that after the first month we hit our full stride. And what I'm also going to say is that Q4 typically is a tough season in the auto industry as dealers try to make short-term decisions to meet bottom-line.

So, we don't want to declare victory yet on dealer growth in Q4, but certainly to your second point, the traffic trends are moving in all the right ways. And I think your point is how does that translate to dealer value, our leads are up for the quarter. Obviously, growing traffic translates to advertisers' satisfaction. So, we're pleased with what we're seeing in our dealer pull surveys as well in terms of their overall satisfaction.

Your final question was about Dean and I'll just remind you that Dean's been a client. Dean has been on the other side of the desk buying media from everyone in the industry and as we approached Dean in about 2020 and using data as our superpower and helping them with their television -- advertising, I think his eyes lit up and saw a bigger opportunity to not only do this for OEMs, but for dealers. And I think that that solution strategy is one of the key reasons that Dean is here. Tom, you will recall that when we bought Dealer Inspire, one of the hidden gems inside that business was a programmatic advertising platform called FUEL. And that allows us to run advertising solutions at scale in a programmatic fashion. And these ads that I've seen in technology in the past years been the advent of digital video. And we think there is a massive opportunity to help dealers become more efficient and migrate traditional and linear TV budgets towards more effective and accountable digital channels. And so Dean's here to