With 1.4 M visitors Cartoq eyes to become largest community driven advice seeking platform for car buyers
Online automobile classifieds have gotten a second wind in India. The used car classifieds segment was considered highly promising a few years ago,but saw a lull in investor interest till fairly recently. However, the space bounced back in the last year, and proceeded to amass $100 million from venture capitalists.
While most of the online classifieds startups focus on transactions for second hand vehicles, some of the focus is on aggregation of user generated advice, expert views, ratings etc. One such startup is Cartoq. It’s a platform where car buyers can talk to car owners and experts, and get advice.
Currently, media and car sites provide a lot of information in terms of reviews, specs, pricing information etc., but no one is addressing the advice quotient. Nitin Shrivastava, CEO, MWG, says
When we are in the process of buying a car, apart from this research, and taking it on test drives, we also ask people in our network about the car, especially those who already own the car we are planning to buy
MWG is a leading content marketing company with many IT, consulting, lifestyle and automobile brands as its marquee clients,and is present in American, European and Asian markets. Nitin is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and in his previous engagement, he worked with Avendus Advisors as Chief Knowledge Officer.
Cartoq wants to become the informal advice network for car buyers in India. Unlike other platforms, which have enthusiasts and experts sharing information with each other, Cartoq is a discussion platform for people who don’t know much about cars, which also gives them the ability to ask experts questions. Nitin adds,
We made questions and answers the core feature of the site, and then added news, features, expert reviews, and research tools to the mix to ensure the buyers get all the information they could need from us.
Cartoq is one of the biggest social sites dealing with automobiles in India, with a reach of over 10 million people on Facebook every month. Almost 70% of its traffic comes from mobile, and the remaining from desktops. The company doesn’t have an app yet, but is developing an app for Android that will be out soon. Nitin points out,
We are on track to becoming the #1 media site in the auto sector in the next 3 months. With a good lead among media sites, and on Facebook, we will be expanding our reach through our mobile app, and taking it to social media channels like Twitter, Whatsapp and FM radio as well.
About 80% of Cartoq’s traffic comes from the country’s top 10 metropolises. “Our (projected) traffic for June is 1.6 million visits, and we are projected to cross 2.5 million by July,” says Nitin.
The company is expanding content and advice regarding used cars in the coming months, leveraging its community and social reach to create high-quality content through users.
How is it different from online auto classifieds startups?
We are not a transaction site, nor do we have used car listings or sales. We are focused on research and advice, and unlike other sites, we provide advice through a real-time, interactive platform.
There is a rigorous rating system on the platform.Each answer gets a quality vote from the user in the form of a ‘like’. If the user wants to express stronger satisfaction with the answer, then he or she can click a‘thanks’ button. Members who answer questions accumulate likes and thanks, and based on their cumulative scores, move up in platform-defined expertise levels.
Enthusiasts and experts are thus recognized strongly on the site for their efforts in advising owners and buyers with their queries.
Cartoq currently monetizes their platform through AdSense. They will soon be rolling out native advertising solutions (sponsored content) for brands looking for targeted reach and engaged users. “We have eCPM of Rs 120 and ad CTR of over 1.6%,” adds Nitin.
Over the next 12 months,Cartoq intends to deliver a range of solutions to brands, including cost-effective, targeted reach through native advertising, and qualified leads through better data about engaged users.
PS: We have updated PVs in headline with visitors.