Retail & Ecommerce

Classified Ads and Their Journey Through Time

classifieds ads

Last Updated on: 20th November 2023, 12:33 pm

Do you want to scale up your classified listings and push through the monumental competition that’s building? Sharing listings is one thing, but actually capitalizing on the marketing technologies available is another. How can you increase visibility and distinguish your marketing efforts from the competitors’ campaigns when it comes to classified ads? Marketing technology may just hold the key.

In this article, you will learn about:

  • How classified ads marketing has evolved
  • What has technically changed to support classified ads
  • The competition levels surrounding the newly evolved classifieds industry
  • How to utilize new marketing strategies in the classifieds industry

Table of contents:

The changing of the playing field for the classifieds industry

It may seem strange to some, but there was a time when paper and print classified ads dominated the sales and advertising world. Before the digital transformation we now find ourselves in, classified ads gave consumers an easy way to browse various offers that were usually listed by private sellers. Many of us probably bought our first car from a listing in the classified ads section of local newspapers.

Back then it was the norm, and it wasn’t just cars that could tempt you as you browsed newspapers or thick magazines. Print media was the go-to place for a huge range of offers, from household goods to houses themselves – but times changed, and fast.

As the internet became more widely accessible to households in the early 2000s, there was an opportunity for classified ads to reach a larger audience with the future of advertising taking shape through new marketing technologies. And with this jump from print to digital came the evolution of online marketing.

We now find ourselves in the super-competitive world of classified ad websites such as Gumtree, Craigslist, and OLX – where users can buy or solicit goods and services of almost any kind.

How did the evolution of classified ads shape the way we shop today?

As the natural shift to online began, two primary models of classified ads evolved – horizontal and vertical. The former offers a wide range of services (such as those found on Gumtree) and the latter focuses on single-category items such as vehicles or home rental/ownership.

Adding to the natural technological progression that we’ve experienced through being able to shop online, it’s important to mention that the events of the last two years have also added to the evolution of classified ads – especially in the case of the online car retail sector where, according to a 2019 report published by CarGurus, 96% of people now start their car shopping experience online.

With both models paving their own way into the business world, classified ads have been cleverly reshaped through marketing technology into the online marketplaces, recruitment pages, and services that we conveniently place at our fingertips today – but what did the technical evolution look like?

The technical evolution of classified advertising

With our lives more online than ever, the classifieds market landscape has inevitably attracted sellers of all kinds, which has driven competition through the roof with Facebook introducing their online marketplace and Amazon also flexing their muscles in this area.

As classified platforms started to grow, they had to take on new and impressive features that would fit with the demands of consumers in the modern day, which options such as

  •       Powerful search options
  •       Reviews and testimonials
  •       Seamless checkout services
  •       Links to social media pages and further products

And as industries started to realize the power of the customer journey and adapt to online classifieds in this way, growing ad spend soared due to the “winner takes all” stigma that stemmed from those wanting to grow the fastest in the shortest amount of time.

To give us an idea of the level of ad spending in the classifieds segment, figures are projected to reach $21.2B USD in 2022 (Classifieds – Worldwide | Statista Market Forecast), achievable through the means of marketing technologies – something that we’ll go into later.

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Classified advertising on-the-go – the mobile evolution

In two decades, classified ads have moved from users flicking through newspapers to swiping through offers on a small screen. Mobile already had a staggering influence on the classifieds market, but that increased even more as a result of the pandemic.

With a shift in online behavior during this time, Global app revenue grew by 32% in the third quarter of 2020 reaching $29B (App Usage Statistics 2022: Downloads, Revenue, Popularity | SerpWatch). With user experience at an all-time high, classifieds could do worse than to tap into this sector that is beginning to dominate the way people shop online, with mobile and web applications offering technological advancements and benefits in the way of:

  • Compatibility across devices 
  • Immediacy
  • User personalization 
  • Augmented reality capabilities

With this in mind, industries such as job portals, real estate, and car verticals can seriously increase their opportunities of engaging with millions of smartphone users that are ready to shop and engage the classifieds way.

Classified ads – market competition

It’s fair to conclude that opportunities for classifieds have come leaps and bounds through the advancement of marketing technology, but as opportunity knocks, so does competition. The mere mention of big guns such as OLX and Kijiji is enough to imagine the millions of users, inventory, and, ultimately, competition out there.

With giants such as eBay aggressively leaning towards and realizing the power of marketing technology via mobile, they acquired RUMGR – a mobile app centered around local buying and selling – to further capitalize on the strong position of classifieds. Additionally, eBay launched close5, which lets users within the same area buy and sell products, then exchange them directly. So, with this level of competition and innovation that looks set to dominate the future of advertising in classifieds, is there room to compete in this cutthroat market? 

What RTB House offers the classified sector

Through a mix of AI-driven performance marketing such as retargeting, RTB House is able to focus on users interested in purchasing a home, car, or applying for a job by showing them specific offers from classifieds websites.

Our targeted and personalized ads on classifieds portals can provide faster sales and satisfaction for sellers who will come back with future offers due to the ease of the process of selling their items on this specific website.

The Deep Learning technology used by RTB House comes into its own with vertical classifieds, focussing on high-value listings such as real estate and cars, which are at the forefront of our objectives in the classifieds industry.

Due to the nature of high value classifieds listings, a purchase is usually preceded by a long search and decision period, so it’s crucial for the classifieds websites to capture highly interested potential buyers when they have completed their search and show signs of buying intent on high value purchases. Our algorithms can detect that and find those users at the right time, with the most personalized offers, before their “buying window” is gone. Alongside these algorithms, we believe that customization towards the needs of the client, including revenue models and actions on the website, allow classified ads to really stand out from the rest.

At RTB House, we are a trusted partner for global classifieds brands, including those in the job portals, real estate, and car verticals, giving our clients the tools they need to succeed in the online industry – using customized campaigns that generate the most value for business.

If you’d like to hear more about how dedicated marketing technologies, tailored to your unique goals, can drive campaign objectives – we’re ready to show you the power of classifieds advertising.

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