Classified ad revenue fell by over 90 percent during the first decade of the 2000s, going from $8.7 billion in 2000 to $723 million in 2010. Media business analysts consider the huge drop in classified ad revenues to be one of the main reasons newspapers have suffered so extensively in the internet age.
With Craigslist expanding to more cities than ever and local free classified sites popping up everywhere, revenue development with classified advertising is challenging. However, it can be done with a good strategy that makes the most of your reputation as an online newspaper or trade publication website. Here are 5 ways to increase classified ad revenue.
1. Make Self Service Easier
Your classified platform has to be easy enough for everyone to use. Don’t make users search for instructions on how to add pictures or other features to their ads. Your classified platform should be a one stop shop for online advertisers. Include helpful links (that open in new tabs) to information about your site’s audience and reach. Create category headings that are relevant to your website’s audience, and post example ads so that customers can compose ads exactly the way they want them.
2. Offer Tips and Resources for Composing Effective Ads
People who haven’t used classifieds may not know how to write a classified ad that attracts attention. Have a brief tutorial on how to create a good classified ad, including the elements to include, how ad photos can be helpful, and commonly used abbreviations in classifieds. Your list of abbreviations can be grouped by type of ad, including real estate, automotive, employment, and other types of ads.
3. Make Up-Sell Offers Automatic
If a user creates a bare bones ad, be sure that up-sell offers are generated automatically. Ask if they want to include photos or other premium features. Don’t make them go searching, because this is a sure way to increase ad abandonment rates. If users can create, embellish, preview, and pay for their ads on one user-friendly page, they’re less likely to abandon their ad and more likely to get the results they want.
4. Reach Out Internationally When Possible
In certain parts of the world, classified ads are thriving. For example, Middle Eastern countries and India often reach out to countries in the west to find employees. Offer international ad buyers an easy, cost effective job board solution for recruiting in the United States, and you could find the number of employment ads on your site increasing. This is particularly true if you run a trade website and have an engaged, targeted audience.
5. Make Classifieds Mobile Friendly
If your classified ads look great on phones or tablets, you have a real edge over sites that require users to pinch, zoom, and squint to see or create ads. Whether you create a mobile version of your ad site or an app, making classifieds more convenient for mobile users (whether they’re buying or selling) is an investment that’s well worthwhile. With employment classifieds in particular, mobile friendliness is a huge advantage due to the browsing habits of today’s job seekers.
It isn’t easy to compete with Craigslist and other free classified platforms, so it’s important that you draw on your site’s strengths, which may be a particular demographic or visitors who are employed in a particular industry. If you plan to run employment classifieds on a trade publication website, your best bet is to partner with providers offering recruitment advertising for trade publishers. The best job board software providers offer revenue sharing opportunities, have great network reach, and are fantastic for connecting employers in your trade with the exact people they’re looking for. RealMatch invites you to explore its terrific opportunities for making employment classifieds a strong draw as you increase audience development efforts.