Car Throttle is the largest online community for auto enthusiasts. The site boasts over five million users, and drives over one million fans to its growing YouTube channel. In order to make the business more accessible to their key market - millennials, Car Throttle adopted a 'mobile-first' approach to maximise traffic, active users and profitability.
As online media gains more and more momentum it becomes ever more difficult for publishers to monitor their audiences. Consumers are increasingly accessing their news, media and interests through social and third party sites, such as Facebook or Apple News.
By ceding this control to third party sites publishers are running a high risk, as a tweak in Facebook’s algorithm can change the viewable content for publishers' fans entirely. However, it isn’t easy to pull millennials away from social media, so Car Throttle needed a compelling alternative, which was just as easyily accessible to the same demographic.
A mobile app was developed to allow car enthusiasts to create content more easily, follow friends and their favourite celebrities and stay on top of car industry news and reviews.
Car Throttle opted to release an Android app first as the site has 53% Android users on the mobile site, versus 45% for iOS. Globally, Android is leading the pack with a 62.8% market share in the US, versus 33.6% cent for iOS.
As well as having more users, Android gives developers more control over apps whilst also being quicker with approvals, allowing for a faster iteration schedule. This is vital for social platforms who survive on user generated content - for Car Throttle this accounts for 99% of its content. By taking a ‘mobile-first approach’, content can be discovered and created more easily by this target audience.
The continued decline of mobile web usage in favour of native apps means the opportunity is rife for publishers and social platforms like Car Throttle to cater to an increasingly growing userbase. While mobile web has worked well for Car Throttle’s casual browsers, its power users (also known as CTzens) have been more limited through mobile browsers than they have been on desktop. Approximately 70% of sessions happen via mobile, but with only a third of the session duration and pageviews as on desktop.
Car Throttle recognised that the online automotive scene is dominated by influencers. Using its network of brands, personalities, and publishers, the team has been generating constant buzz around the Android app. In addition to branded content, partner channels have been mobilised for YouTube name drops, Instagram mentions, re-tweets, Facebook links and Snapchat stories. For a mobile-first demographic, a Car Throttle app was the only solution to keep users happy and engaged.
The Android app opens up new functionalities compared to a traditional responsive mobile site, with better discovery, quicker content creation tools, and a snappier interface to encourage content creation.
As a result of the launch, KPIs doubled overnight, including pageviews, UGC posts and comments. Car Throttle went from 20 million pageviews in November to 40 million in January. Daily user registrations increased by 400%.
Additionally, Car Throttle recently put up a poll around the new controversial Top Gear cast. This is the first survey conducted post-app release, and has not only generated the highest response numbers in the publisher's history, but the most users in-app too.