An overview of classified advertising trends
October 23, 2008 by tom.corbett
”We are still in the business of connecting buyers and sellers: job seekers and companies, etc… but they need us less and less. Ads can be placed for free anywhere and search engines are replacing publishers”, says Gerald Coniel of Junk Mail in South Africa.
With 20 years of experience in global classified advertising, CEO of Pretoria-based Junk Mail Publishing provided an overview of the major trends at the INMA/IFRA Classified Advertising Seminar, organized in Prague on October 22-23, 2008.
(Gerald gets a lot of questions about the name of his company that seems a bit weird for people outside South Africa. However, it is a BIG brand in its country. It accepts over 40,000 classified ads weekly. Its websites are currently on of the Top 10 most visited sites in South Africa.)
Transition from print to online
The classified industry faces huge changes and strategic challenges.
Mr. Coniel cited Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. who had said: ”I don’t know any under 20 year old who ever looked at a classified print ad.”
According to industry analysts the worldwide online classified industry is expected to grow to $15 billion in 2010 from $10 billion in 2006.
From selling a product to selling a service
”The classified industry is facing the same challenges as the music industry! Why pay for a song? Why pay to view or pay for classified ad?,” said Mr. Coniel.
”And the online revenue growth doesn’t match the loss of physical world sales. The solution will be similar as those that the music industry uses.”
Google is unavoidable
”Content is no longer king!,” said Gerald Coniel. ”Search-able and relevant content is king!”
According to Junk Mail’s CEO, there is zero tolerance now for non-relevant ads. People expect classifieds to be search-able. ”If not, they will be the best kept secret.”
”Technology is your new partner and search engines are your new best friends!”, claimed Mr. Coniel.
In his opinion Google is unavoidable, as it carries 80% of all searches ordered by Internet users worldwide.
On average 25% of the traffic of US classified sites comes from search engines.
”A well optimised site will get 50% of the traffic via search engines. So forget the discussion of letting Google crawl your site or not!,” appealed Junk Mail CEO to newspaper publishers.
”SEO is as important to your site as distribution is to the print. Google needs to be able to find you!”