Online classifieds are growing fast in recent times. Most companies are now comfortable advertising to the larger online consumers. It’s easier to reach young consumers who spend most of their time online. And most importantly it’s a cheaper way to reach millions of people compared to traditional advertising. Online classifieds will still be the preferred way to advertise goods and services to a greater audience for a very long time.

The market will get bigger as the number of internet users increase. But only online classifieds that change with time and serve consumers with better information in an intuitive way will ultimately win. Niche classifieds that focus on single sections of the bigger pie including automobile, real estate, job opportunities etc have a good chance to get even bigger. The growth has made it even more significant to create online classifieds for specific markets or countries.

With the introduction of hundreds if not thousands of online classifieds after the success of Craigslist, the only way to win big is to focus on usability. Consumers don’t have time to waste on sites that make it difficult to find products or services. Filtering is of immense importance to every consumer. If you don’t get it right, users will easily move to the competitor next door.

How big is the market?

Classifieds is considered one of the oldest form of advertising but new and online technologies are changing how goods and services are traded or exchanged. The internet has made it even easier to list products online to reach customers from different parts of the world. Every country rely on some form of classifieds for information on products currently on the market. In the US  alone, the online classifieds market has experienced significant growth over the years. The US Classifieds marketplace was estimated to grow to about $25 billion by 2010. Since the research, Online classified market has experienced further growth and it will get even bigger in the future.

Other regions and countries are yet to fully benefit from online classifieds. The growth in emerging countries are not as strong as developed countries, but there is still opportunities for growth. Online advertising in Africa and The Middle East is expected to reach $2.8bn by 2016.  Asia’s online advertising is expected to hit US$53.2 billion by 2016. Free classifieds in Ghana are taking shape despite Google’s decision to shut down its Google Trader free classified platform last year.

Focus on usability 

To make the most of online classifieds in any region, companies would have to improve customer experience right from the beginning. Product listings, filtering, search options and general presentation of ads and services would have to appeal to the user to get their attention and to ensure your users return time and time again. Unless you are Craigslist (which hasn’t invested in aesthetics in a very long time), you should focus on giving your users the best user experience to attract and retain new customers.

Invest in better search options

The growth of mobile devices has made it even more crucial to invest in a cleaner layout. Your business should be improving search to win mobile users. It’s a great challenges to present products and services on a small mobile device but customers expect the very best experience to stay with your business. Make your search better and get your filters right and users are more likely to come back for more. The more you grow as an online classified site, the better your user experience should be for your users.

Despite the increase in online classified sites, you can only win big if you provide what users expect when they visit your site. Product or service presentation is key to success.