Posts Tagged ‘Classified Ads’

Newspaper Classified Ads Functionally Obsolete

September 14, 2008

Newspaper classified advertising remains a $14 Billion dollar annual business.

However, in 2007 newspapers saw the single largest percentage drop in year over year classified advertising revenue since the Newspaper Association of America began compiling sales data 57 years ago.

From 2006 to 2007 newspaper classified advertising declined 16.5%.

Trulia CEO and co-Founder Pete Flint has produced graphs from the Newspaper Association of America showing quarterly classified expenditures along with their annual percentage change in revenues over a ten year period for three major newspaper classified advertising categories: real estate, recruitment and automotive.

As their charts illustrate, each newspaper classified advertising category’s expenditures appear to have mirrored US economic cycles yet more importantly, they also appear to reflect general media consumption trends.

Newspaper Real Estate Classified Ads

Newspaper Real Estate Classified Ads

Newspaper real estate classified advertising inflated along with the national housing market seeing its expenditures peaking in 2006.

Recruitment Classified Ads

Recruitment Classified Ads

Newspaper classified advertising for recruitment ie. jobs, saw its annual expenditures peak in 2000.

Automotive Classified Ads

Automotive Classified Ads

Expenditures for automotive classified ads peaked in 2002.

None of newspaper classified advertising categories have reached new levels of expenditures since each reached their respective peak.

Coincidentally, these newspaper classified advertising categories – real estate, recruitment and automotive – now produce a fraction of the revenues they once did for publishers -roughly $600 million per quarter.

It would be easy to attribute expenditures on newspaper classifieds to each respective industry’s sales peaks and troughs along with their accompanying economic cycles, but why are the charts for each category continuing to show double digit annual percentage drops in publisher revenues?

Because the graphs also illustrate changes in media consumption habits and how their adoption within a market disrupts then reduces expenditures on newspaper classified advertising along with publisher ad sales.

When a newspaper classified advertising category’s audience moves online for the new time efficiencies online classified advertising provides – both the newspaper publisher and their advertisers pay the price.

When a publisher’s audience segment disappears, so eventually will its advertisers and their money.

The first newspaper classified advertising category to be eviscerated by the internet was recruitment. Recruitment began moving online in earnest in 2000 and went on to became one of the first models to survive and thrive online – ultimately transforming recruitment in the process.

In 2002, automotive marketing began moving online.

eBay Motors has since become the world’s largest car dealer. When was the last time you heard of an individual placing a classified ad in the local paper to sell their car? When was the last time you placed a classified ad to sell your car in your local paper – and then sold it?

The next newspaper classified ad category to disappear?

Real Estate.

The newspaper industry and its Real Estate classified advertising business are now under assault on two fronts – the decline of the national housing market and the ascent of internet home listing information and marketing services like Pete Flint’s Trulia.com

If the newspaper industry’s loss of the two previous categories to internet publishers is any indication of how they will respond to the internet real estate publisher threat, newspaper real estate classified ads will soon become the next classified ad category to become functionally obsolete.

YouTube Classified Ads: A Car For Sale

May 16, 2008

After nearly ten years of driving the same car, I recently bought a new one.

I decided to sell my old car the new way – online.

Having been on the web now for nearly a decade, I have found a lot of inefficiencies remain when it comes time to bridge the gap between generating a lead online and closing a high ticket sale offline.

When it comes to selling cars online there are several options.

eBay Motors and AutoTrader.com were the two resources that came to mind.

Up until yesterday, I didn’t have an eBay account so eBay Motors wasn’t an option. If I recall though, eBay Motors is the largest single used “car dealer” in the world – last time I looked I think they generated $2 Billion in car sales annually.

I have an older Mercedes and because of its limited appeal, I sought the advice of a local used car dealer on how best to go about selling it.

He recommended trying AutoTrader.com.

I set up an account and got my car advertised online within a day and then in the local Auto Trader print publication within a week.

Auto Trader Ad

Auto Trader Print

I started getting calls soon after my ad came out and then slowly came to realize some of the aforementioned online lead to offline sale time related inefficiencies.

The internet is great for connecting sellers with buyers they wouldn’t have otherwise likely ever met, however when it comes time to sell something large and physical it presents a whole new set of problems.

Half of the inquiries I received about the car resulted in the callers desire to see and test drive the car.

Well, I am not a car salesman and I don’t have time to drop everything I am doing to go show a car at unpredictable times of the weekday. Scheduling time to meet potential buyers on the weekend is even more difficult.

The problem: How can I “show” my car to prospective buyers without having to take an hour or two of my time to do it?

My answer: Produce a short video clip of the car that shows its condition to prospective buyers and post it on YouTube. Prospects can then “look” over the car without either of us having to physically meet to do it.

I shot a couple of minutes of video and then posted it in my YouTube account.

I also modified both my online and print AutoTrader ads to include “Search YouTube” to see this car.

Autotrader.com Ad:

The video has been up a week and according to YouTube’s insight feature the video has already been viewed over 100 times primarily from searches within YouTube.

YouTube Video Insight:

YouTube Insight

I have also posted a Craigslist ad for my car. It too mentions viewing the car online beforehand by searching for it in YouTube.

Craigslist Ad:

Now whenever I get a call about the car, I ask them whether they have seen it on YouTube or not and then direct them to its YouTube page to see it first before we arrange a time to test drive it.

Using YouTube to preview used cars for sale reduces the inefficiencies of showing vehicles to non buyers while further qualifiing the prospects most interested in potentially buying my car.

I have set a couple of appointments for prospects to test drive my car this weekend.

Regardless of whether the car gets sold this weekend or not, I haven’t wasted my time showing it to someone who hasn’t already convinced me they are a highly qualified –ie., interested – prospective buyer .