Classified advertising is a form of advertising which is particularly common in newspapers, online and other periodicals which may be sold or distributed free of charge. Classified advertisements are much cheaper than larger display advertisements used by businesses, although display advertising is more widespread. They were also commonly called "want" ads, starting in 1763.
Advertisements in a newspaper are typically
short, as they are charged for by the line or word, and are one
newspaper column wide.
Publications printing news or other
information often have sections of classified advertisements; there
are also publications that contain only advertisements. The
advertisements are grouped into categories or classes such as "for
sale—telephones", "wanted—kitchen appliances", and
"services—plumbing", hence the term "classified". Classified ads
generally fall into two types: individuals advertising sales of their
personal goods, and advertisements by local businesses. Some
businesses use classified ads to hire new employees.
issue with newspaper classified advertising is that it doesn't allow
images, even though display ads, which do allow images, can be
found in the classified section.
years the term "classified advertising" or "classified ads" has
expanded from merely the sense of print advertisements in periodicals
to include similar types of advertising on computer services, radio,
and even television, particularly cable television but occasionally
broadcast television as well, with the latter occurring typically very
early in the morning hours.
Like most forms of
printed media, the classified ad has found its way to the Internet, as
newspapers have taken their classified ads online and new groups have
discovered the benefits of classified advertising.
classified ads do not typically use per-line pricing models, so they
tend to be longer. They are also searchable, unlike printed material,
tend to be local, and may foster a greater sense of
urgency as a result of their daily structure and wider scope for
audiences. Because of their self-regulatory nature and low cost
structures, some companies offer free classifieds internationally.
Other companies focus mainly on their local hometown region, while
others blanket urban areas by using postal codes. Craigslist.org was
one of the first online classified sites, and has grown to become the
largest classified source, bringing in over 14 million unique visitors
a month according to Comscore Media Metrix. A growing
number of sites and companies have begun to provide specialized
classified marketplaces online, catering to niche market products and
services, such include boats, pianos, pets, and adult services,
amongst others. In many cases, these specialized services provide
better and more targeted search capabilities than general search
engines or general classified services can provide.
A number of online services called aggregators crawl and aggregate
classifieds from sources such as blogs and RSS feeds, as opposed to
relying on manually submitted listings.
companies provide online advertising services and tools to assist
members in designing online ads using professional ad templates and
then automatically distributing the finished ads to the various online
ad directories as part of their service. In this sense these companies
act as both an application service provider and a content delivery
platform. Social classifieds is a growing niche.
In 2003 the market for classified ads in the United
States was $15.9 billion (newspapers), $14.1 billion (online)
according to market researcher Classified Intelligence. The worldwide
market for classified ads in 2003 was estimated at over $100 billion.
Perhaps due to the lack of a standard for reporting, market statistics
vary concerning the total market for internet classified ads. The
Kelsey Research Group listed online classified ads as being worth
$13.3 billion, while Jupiter Research provided a
conservative appraisal of $2.6 billion as of 2005 and
the Interactive Advertising Bureau listed the net worth of online
classified revenue at $2.1 billion as of April 2006.
Newspaper's revenue from classifieds advertisements is decreasing
continually as internet classifieds grow. Classified advertising at
some of the larger newspaper chains dropped by 14% to 20% in 2007,
while traffic to classified sites grew by 23%.
As the online
classified advertising sector develops, there is an increasing
emphasis toward specialization. Vertical markets for classifieds are
developing quickly along with the general marketplace for classifieds
websites. Like search engines, classified websites are often
specialized, with sites providing advertising platforms for niche
markets of buyers or sellers.
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