- Classified advertising
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. Advertisements in a newspaper are typically short, as they are charged for by the line, and one newspaper column wide.
Publications printing news or other information often have sections of classified advertisements; there are also publications which 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 advertisements are much cheaper than larger display advertisements used by businesses, and are mostly placed by private individuals with single items they wish to sell or buy.
Classified advertisements are usually charged for according to length; the publications in which they appear may be sold or given away free of charge. Advertisements usually comprise text with no graphics, and may be as short as a statement of the article on sale or wanted and a telephone number, or may have more information such as name and address, detailed description of the item or items ("red woman's sweater, V neck, size 10, slightly used, good condition"). There are usually no pictures or other graphics, although sometimes a logo may be used.
Classified advertising is called such because it is generally grouped within the publication under headings classifying the product or service being offered (headings such as Accounting, Automobiles, Clothing, For Sale, For Rent, etc.) and is grouped entirely in a distinct section of the periodical, which makes it distinct from display advertising, which often contains graphics or other art work and which is more typically distributed throughout a publication adjacent to editorial content.
A hybrid of the two forms — classified display advertising — may often be found, in which categorized advertisements with larger amounts of graphical detail can be found among the text listings of a classified advertising section in a publication. Business opportunities often use classifieds to sell their services, usually employing 1-800 numbers. Classified and classified display ads are used by many companies to recruit applicants for jobs.
Printed classified ads are typically just a few column lines in length, and they are often filled with abbreviations to save space and money.
In recent 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.
Internet classified ads do not typically use per-line pricing models, so 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-policing 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.
Additionally, other 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 niche that is growing in online classified ads.
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[update] and the Interactive Advertising Bureau listed the net worth of online classified revenue at $2.1 billion as of April 2006[update].
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 specialised, with sites providing advertising platforms for niche markets of buyers of sellers.
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