SAN MATEO, Calif., Jan 10, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN):
-- Edmunds Improves Service Levels and Customer Perceptions Rise
-- Kelley Blue Book's Brand is Strong, Competitors Have Low Brand
-- Cars.com Wins Over Customers with Strong Vehicle Search
-- Auto Sites for Leading Search Engines Trail Pure Third Party
New competitive intelligence from Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN),
The Internet Performance Authority(R), shows a tight race in the
online automobile sales and information industry, with Edmunds.com
edging out Kelley Blue Book as the top ranked site in the industry
based on its strong improvements in site performance and service
The Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Third Party Auto
Sites is based on an examination of 2,000 prospective car buyers as
they searched and performed tasks on third party auto sales and
information sites, which are operated independently of manufacturers.
The Autobytel.com, Automotive.com, AutoTrader.com, Cars.com,
CarsDirect.com, Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, MSN Autos, Vehix.com
and Yahoo! Autos Web sites were examined during the study.
Keynote ranked the auto sales sites in terms of their online
customer experience based on an analysis of 250+ metrics measured
during the study, including evaluation of the vehicle search process,
vehicle comparison functions and the views and information available
on the site.
Keynote Customer Experience Rankings
3rd Party Auto Web Sites
2 Kelley Blue Book
Edmunds.com, which trails Kelley Blue Book in brand awareness,
edges out the well-known auto sales and information site in terms of
the online customer experience primarily because it avoids performance
problems and errors with the site, which can frustrate prospective
customers. Some of the company's primary competitors experience
performance problems, such as long page load times or errors, which
cause their standing with customers to dip.
"The top three auto sites are relatively competitive with each
other in terms of the online customer experience and customer
conversion," said Dr. Bonny Brown, director of research and public
services for Keynote. "However, Edmunds.com edges out its leading
competitors based on strong user perceptions of its site performance.
Service levels always play a role in customer perceptions, but we see
a particularly heavy influence in the auto sales and information
"As auto sites increasingly rely on video and Flash, and provide
content-heavy and rich internet applications to attract customers,
site performance will increasingly need to be monitored to ensure an
error free experience for the customer," said Ben Rushlo, manager of
professional services with Keynote.
Edmunds.com also performed strongly in the vehicle comparison
function and in the vehicle views and information categories. Kelley
Blue Book performed relatively well across all categories measured in
the study, but particularly well in the overall design and
organization of its site, as well as on vehicle availability, views
and information. Cars.com bested its competitors in the vehicle search
function and in the vehicle advertising process.
Vehix.com was notable in its strong overall improvement since the
last wave of the Keynote study conducted just under a year ago. The
site, which redesigned its home page in the past year, saw a
significant jump in the home page appeal category, and in the overall
design and organization of its site.
The leading independently branded auto sales sites -- Edmunds.com,
Kelley Blue Book and Cars.com -- all outperformed the auto sites of
the leading search engine brands. However, Yahoo! Autos had a
relatively strong showing, receiving a strong overall customer
The leading independently branded auto sales and information sites
also had stronger positive brand perceptions than those sites operated
by the search engine companies. Overall brand awareness in the third
party auto industry is very low, with only Kelley Blue Book starting
out with strong brand perceptions. Approximately 70% of the
prospective car buyers in the study had a positive brand perception of
that company prior to testing the site, a likely result of Kelley Blue
Book's well-known off-line publication.
Once prospective customers test-drive the leading sites, their
brand perceptions skyrocket, with Yahoo! Autos jumping 57%; MSN Autos
jumping 54% and Cars.com jumping 52% in positive brand perception once
prospects test-drove their sites.
"Kelley Blue Book clearly has the strongest brand in the industry,
but the perceptions of competitor brands, especially Yahoo! Autos, MSN
Autos and Cars.com, greatly improve once consumers test-drive their
sites," said Dr. Brown. "These sites should rev their marketing
engines to get prospective buyers to their sites. It will certainly
pay off in brand perceptions and sales leads."
In the race to attract new customers, Edmunds leads with 70% of
prospective customers seeing it as the site that "has tools that make
vehicle research easier." Kelley Blue Book is the second best site at
converting browsers into sales leads, and out paces its competitors as
the site consumers trust and see as having a good reputation; 55% of
study participants say they trust Kelley Blue Book, a figure nearly
twice the industry average. Cars.com ranks third in the customer
conversion category, and 60% of customers feel its pricing information
is detailed and up to date, a figure significantly above the 47%
industry average. More than two-thirds (71%) of Yahoo! Autos users say
that site is easy to use, propelling that site to the fourth position
in prospective customer conversion.
The Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Third Party Auto
Sites provides in-depth competitive analysis of the online auto sales
and information industry and contains hundreds of additional data
points, as well as a detailed analysis of study findings. For an
abstract reviewing the study please contact Dan Berkowitz at
Customer Experience Management
Keynote's customer experience management (CEM) services offer both
competitive intelligence studies and custom engagement services
examining consumer attitudes and behavior on the Web. To learn more
about Keynote's CEM solutions, visit:
For more information about Keynote's Competitive Intelligence
Founded in 1995, Keynote Systems (Nasdaq "KEYN") is the worldwide
leader in services that improve online business performance and
communications technologies. Keynote helps approximately 2,300
corporate customers and 13,000 individual subscribers become "the best
of the best" online. The business premise supporting Keynote's mission
is: "Online businesses can't manage what they don't measure." As an
independent and trusted third-party, Keynote provides IT and marketing
executives with unbiased benchmarking data, competitive analysis and
operational metrics from the customer perspective. This data measures
service levels and customer experience of Web sites, broadband
services and mobile communications.
Known as The Internet Performance Authority(R), Keynote manages a
market-leading infrastructure of 1,600+ measurement computers and
mobile devices in over 114 locations and 66+ metropolitan areas
worldwide that assess service levels and a panel of over 160,000
consumers who participate in interactive Web site tests that assess
user experience. These online user experience tests capture customer
attitude and behavior to answer the critical "why" behind the "what."
Keynote's geographically distributed measurement services, on-site
monitoring appliances, competitive intelligence and custom studies
ensure that its customers outpace their competitors in online service
levels and overall user experience.
Keynote Systems, Inc. is headquartered in San Mateo, California
and can be reached at www.keynote.com or by phone in the U.S. at
Keynote, The Internet Performance Authority and Perspective are
registered trademarks of Keynote Systems, Inc. Other trademarks are
the property of their respective owners. (C) 2006 Keynote Systems,
SOURCE: Keynote Systems, Inc.
Keynote Systems, Inc.
Dan Berkowitz, 650-403-3305
Dan Cahill, 415-552-3999