Millions of people browse online classifieds every day to meet multiple needs, such as looking for travel services, real estate, cars, and so on. With so much attention being placed on these ads by users, businesses, and advertisers alike, the online classified industry has evolved rapidly over the past few years, and it’s expected to rise in value to US$32.33 billion by 2024.
Furthermore, with the explosion of online shopping and information, it’s no wonder that ads for similar products are popping up on almost every website. When it comes to classified ads, online sellers have a few advantages over their offline counterparts. The most obvious benefit is accessibility: anyone with a laptop or smartphone can access local offers and services from anywhere in the world. However, that doesn’t mean that all classified ads are equal. While there are several successful sites and apps providing great user experiences and real value to advertisers, they also face unique challenges that hold them back from achieving growth in the online classifieds industry.
In this blog post, we will run through the top 5 challenges faced by online classifieds today and how they can address them to improve their advertising revenue.
1. Building a Complete Overview of Customers
Even though online classifieds capture a wide range of first-party data from clients, obtaining a precise picture of the entire customer journey can be challenging. It is difficult to gather all of the consumer data required by advertisers to allow them to make the best decisions about what content to promote to their target audience. Attempting to do so manually becomes inefficient in terms of time and accuracy. This is where online classifieds can offer valuable assistance.
It can be difficult to maintain a consistent message to customers across all touchpoints in the modern customer journey. With unpredictable customer buying behaviour, online classifieds advertisers must capture the attention of their customers with highly targeted digital advertising that resonates at the right stage of the buying cycle. Online classified portals – especially the ones with horizontal models – can gain important insights into the buying patterns and interests of online customers, such as when and how they prefer to book or buy a service in particular, but also how much time the customer spent researching and how they did so.
This information can be used by advertisers to improve communication with their target audience, which is where classified website owners can make a profit. The new advertising revenue stream will outweigh the time and focus spent monetizing this data once the right system is put into place.
2. Digital Inventory Management
Inventory management across multiple channels can be a time-consuming and painstaking process that many businesses find challenging to manage effectively. Problems with inventory booking can damage your classifieds site’s reputation and, ultimately, cost you customers. By integrating with your inventory management systems without additional manual effort, artificial intelligence and automation can reduce the burden when you lack the resources to complete these types of operations on your own. Having control over all aspects of your process allows you to be certain about the advertising load you can handle at any given time, providing an additional way to successfully maximize your advertising revenue streams.
Furthermore, incorporating a world-class ad management system becomes key to simplifying the overall operation of your classifieds platform. With systematic management of ads, listings, and orders, in addition to real-time reporting and inventory availability checks across all channels, you can rest assured that your classifieds site will run more accurately and efficiently.
3. Data Spread Across Multiple Platforms
When you have a large amount of data spread across multiple platforms that must be manually collected in order to analyze a vast number of campaigns, it might be difficult to get a full picture of all activities within the ad revenue stream.
The majority of online classifieds leverage a number of tools, ranging from classified ad systems to customer relationship management, or CRM, programs. To effectively use customer data for targeted advertising, multiple processes must be tied together to improve efficiency, which can be time-consuming without the right support system.
With today’s advertising-specific software tools, such as API Data integrations, ad servers, and exchanges, it is possible to combine data from all external solutions to capture valuable first-party customer data across all touchpoints to meet advertisers’ needs.
4. Streamlining Ad Sales Processes
Without an innovative strategic approach, adding a new layer to your advertising business will likely result in more effort and less profit because it will take more time to establish new processes and draw attention away from existing tasks. Process automation technology can contribute significantly in this area, so finding a solution to streamline advertising management in a cost-effective manner that prevents advertising activities from distracting you from your core business becomes a priority.
Self-service ad management with simple guided workflows can help overcome this challenge by freeing the publisher from involvement in the ad booking process, allowing them to focus on other aspects of growing their business across all revenue streams. As a result, publishers can automate procedures such as ordering and invoice generation through a self-service advertising platform.
Overall, when advertisers manage ad slot bookings themselves, publishers can keep track of the booking calendar and offer discounts on unsold ads, ensuring that no ad space goes unsold and improving ad sales for the online classified site.
5. Managing Media Buying & Selling Activities in One Location
To succeed in the competitive landscape of the media industry, you must constantly be on the hunt for new revenue streams. With the demise of third-party cookies, most publishers are looking for new ways to monetize their source data to attract advertisers. This involves exploring new techniques, and thanks to processes such as audience extension and retargeting, online classifieds can generate revenue from their site traffic by allowing advertisers to reach their audience not only on their website but all over the web.
With this new vertical in the picture, it can be difficult to combine media buying and selling into a single solution, especially given the need to track campaign results across multiple channels and have a full view of all advertising transactions in a single location. By implementing the right platform with key integrations to social media channels, ad servers, and exchanges, online publishers can centralize their advertising management while reducing overall operational costs.
There is no doubt that the online classifieds industry continues to grow and adapt, and as more people use it every day, the need for effective systems and processes becomes more important. With the rise of artificial intelligence and automation tools, there is no reason why publishers can’t take advantage of the opportunities offered by the latest technology trends and reach more customers through the effective management of first-party data.
Ultimately, the key to ad revenue success for online classifieds is to combine the right solutions to address modern challenges and keep up with digital transformation to remain competitive in the advertising space.