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Is video really the future of classifieds?

Mauricio Morales, CPO from themotion.com talked about how online video could be the future of classifieds. Let’s have a closer look at this topic.

The numbers are pretty clear: Internet video traffic is growing and will continue growing in the coming years. Cisco Systems predicts that consumer internet video traffic will be 80% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019. All major social networks are pushing the video format. So far so good.

When it comes to user-engagement, video is one of the best content formats to use, which is why video can’t be missing in your professional content marketing strategy. And I agree that video is king.
By telling your story on video you can catch user attention and build trust towards your brand and/or company. At the same time you’ll win more use-time, which will benefit your SEO goals as well. We all like videos. Especially those which catch our attention, and provide a level of entertainment. When it comes to classified ads I’m not sure how videos can contribute to the success of a single listing.

In Real estate
Buying or renting a new property is a highly emotional occasion. This is the perfect opportunity to use a video within a listing, and also a chance to stand out from your competitors. A tour through the property catches a potential buyers interest. With a good video an agent can save time (and money) when it comes to showing the property to potential buyers, since only really interested people will contact the agent.

But there is also a downside to video in real estate ads. There is a risk that agents will be contacted less by potential buyers. That means less leads and the opportunity to promote other properties disappears. A seller can refuse to show his furnished home due privacy reasons. Agents don’t always have the know-how to film and present a video online. Not to mention, video editing skills. An agent could always hire a professional to make the video, but they might be unwilling to cover the costs. And what if an agent is successful in selling houses without publishing a video in his listing? Why should taking videos even be considered?

New services promise to turn static content into engaging video ads. Is this really a good shortcut?
The question here is: What is the added value for your audience? The same information that classified sites try to organize in your listing will be re-used and packed in a video. Does a slideshow with fitting music and maps integration really improve your ad? Will you stand out? I have my doubts here.
It might be my preference, but I like to scan the listing myself and click through the gallery at the speed that fits my needs.

In my opinion, in this case video should be used in the presentation of the agent and/or company. Such videos build trust and may be a measure for getting new clients.

Conclusion
In the case of real estate, I believe a 360° virtual tour fits user needs better. For the agent it’s easier, faster and cheaper to create than a video. Additionally it can be used with virtual reality glasses, which could really be the future of real estate classifieds.

Extra
If an agent’s budget allows it, there are great examples out there on how to present the property. See this one: https://youtu.be/K_50_-lW7mo
Since we like videos, this one is great too (even if it has little to do with video): https://youtu.be/QbqkQUrhBHQ

Author: Gianfranco Gaio, Product Manager at Homegate.ch

Art on demand

Art is one of those things many don’t buy because they don’t know if it’s worth the price or think to themselves, “I can paint that myself, and better!” Since each master piece can be unique, how do you value a one of a kind painting? No worries, Ethan Appleby to the rescue, who as founder of Vango, has made buying and selling art as easy as ordering an Uber.

Users can go to Vango and find that perfect piece to accentuate their wall, while artists can login and have their art curated by the Vango team to get top dollar for their work. A cool feature Vango has on their app is the ability to see how a piece of art will hang on your wall giving the users a great experience and minimizing the “will that look good on my wall?” question.

The marketplace world has gone beyond the traditional buying and selling of stuff we no longer want from people we don’t even know to finding stuff you never even knew you wanted from sites that guarantee your satisfaction…and Vango is no exception.

Author: Gabriela Martin Del Campo, Digital Operation Director at El Clasificado

Growth in the regional classified market

Author: Claudia Nessler, Head of Classified Portals at Russmedia Digital, Austria

At this year’s ICMA Spring Conference 2016, I had the opportunity to give a brief presentation about current challenges in Russmedia’s Austrian classified business, and our ideas for growth that go along with that. For those who couldn’t make it there, I am happy to share here some of the main thoughts.

Classified portals might basically work more or less the same, no matter where they operate, but regional markets indeed are unique in some aspects. In Vorarlberg – the small province in the most western part of Austria – Russmedia benefits from the fact that the market is rather small and it’s easy to get in touch with the audience. On the other hand, regional businesses, which are competing with national or even international players, sometimes have a hard time when the big ones pull out their marketing plans.

The Austrian classified business of Russmedia Digital is more or less tied to Vorarlberg, and it is also the home-market of Russmedia, where the company’s history started more than 100 years ago with a local book-printing plant (for more information on the company, check russmedia.com). Geographical and cultural aspects of this region provided the company with a very innovation-friendly climate, which was definitely supportive in growing the No. 1 regional job portal (ländlejob.at), the No. 1 regional realestate portal (ländleimmo.at) and the No. 1 regional general classified portal (ländleanzeiger.at). Those portals are market leading in terms of number of ads, revenue and reach, as far as comparable.

Now, what about competition? Indeed, pressure is coming from national players, as well as Facebook, Linkedin etc. No need to mention that those players have slightly more market power, since they are national/international/global, have other dimensions of marketing spend and since they are targeting the whole market, can use TV campaigns etc. to expand their reach, which is not really an efficient option for a regional-only player. On the other hand, one of the biggest advantages of the regional market is the level of personal contact with clients and customers, which is much more intense. And it’s much more fun than sending commercials on TV. Competing with much bigger players, Russmedia has managed to defend its home market successfully, and is still growing.

So is there anything, we do different than others companies? Well, there is no secret key to success I can share with you, but I can provide at least some insights in a few areas.

Technology, design and structure: In terms of technology, Russmedia relies on inhouse development. Synergies arise from the fact that identical platforms are used in Austria, Hungary and Romania and also for third-party clients.
Platforms are built with the latest technologies, UX is improved continuously and major redesigns take place every 2-3 years. Although design is not a killer argument (think about Craigslist), especially for vertical platforms there’s no way of having a worse user experience than your major competitor has. Owning the technology also provides more flexibility and faster changes.
In terms of structure, print and web teams are 100% separated. Product-teams are usually kept very small and project management happens across platforms, which enables small and efficient structures and therefore allows for cost optimization.

Relationship management – creating stages for clients: Meeting clients should not always be related to selling something to them. Like anyone else, clients love being honored, celebrated and to win prizes. Creating stages for clients is already kind of a tradition at Russmedia. Smaller activities like honoring the real estate-agent of the month can be executed rather easily and quickly. Moving this a level further, Russmedia initialized an own workplace study – representing one of the biggest surveys in the region – which honors 25 employers of any size on a yearly basis. Participation is free and any company (client or not) in the region can be nominated. The feedback from the market is extremely positive and the event even allows us to generate additional revenue for the job portal.

Product development – (re-) invent products and sell solutions: In a limited market, it is not easy to grow revenues from the core business itself. That’s why it is very important to launch additional products. There is an almost unlimited range of ideas to come up with. Classics like promoted or pre-listed ads go without mentioning. What works very well in the real estate portal ländleimmo.at for example pure image products, like premium profiles for agents, which allow agencies to present themselves in an extended way.
Further, keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Better act as a reseller of Google or Facebook ads, than wait till your clients buy directly there.
If a product is not successful, don’t be afraid to take it off the market again. Try to fit your client’s needs better with the next one.

Don’t believe everything you think: There’s a lot of common sense advice, one tends to forget in the day-to-day routine of doing business. The one I try to remember the most is “Don’t believe everything you think”, cause it is applicable to almost any situation. Have you ever assumed a feature on your platform is good or bad, but never asked a person who was really using it? Have you invented products nobody really wanted to buy? Have you done major changes on your platform and wondered later why conversions went down? Maybe you did not talk to users, or you did, but did not really listen. I was lucky enough to find my absolute super-user in one of the platforms and I can guarantee that this is the most useful source of information I could ever find. So watch out and find yours as well.

PS. For more insights into successful classified businesses, save the date of October 19th-21st. ICMA will be in Bern, Switzerland for another conference full of great inputs and networking.

Peer-To-Peer Marketplaces Encouraging Trust in a Shared Economy

The charm of being able to be anywhere and at anytime “connect” to the world around you, is strong in the times we live in.

Millennials are being shaped to expect certain staples within the technological world and generations after are to know no different life than a life of expedience and dependence on technology.

Obviously.

But the reality of this reminder that Pieter van de Glind, the Co-Founder of shareNL, highlighted is that alongside the advancement of technology, the world is moving more and more towards a “sharing economy.”

And as he points out, we are currently just seeing the youth of the extent this sharing economy can impact businesses and consumers in the grand scheme of things.

In fact a new mindset is arising. It is becoming increasingly common thought that everyone’s best interest is to have access to all products, services, and the knowledge base to sustain a connected life of expedience to best means possible. Established boundaries are hence being tested as consumer reliance on technology is increasing and trust in the internet as a source for obtaining desired transaction goals is building.

Technology is now more so than ever before reducing transaction costs while making asset sharing a cheaper and alluring leading factor in driving ROIs for consumers and the businesses themselves. The scale of advancement is increasing the scope of possibilities for businesses to model this sharing of assets and thus, the expectations are rising within generations of our times.

Why buy a new product or service at full price when you can share, rent, or borrow?

At a larger scale, the availability of data about people and their preferences, tendencies, and other profile data is further allowing businesses to tailor their transaction processes in such way that even encourages this sharing economy mindset. Communities, groups, tags, and websites are allowing physical assets to be exchanged almost seamlessly through shared interests and transaction goals. Before the advancements we have now, renting, sharing, or borrowing was a hard to manage feat. Today these cheaper alternatives are way more feasible. Now websites match up owners with renters, mobile technology matches people with nearby interests, social network platforms rally goals, and advanced online services respond accordingly to these almost self-created target groups.

Airbnb, RelayRides, and SnapGoods are just some example businesses Peter pointed out stealing hearts for their breakthrough platforms exampling this sharing economy mindset. Offering services with better or similar results to competitors but yet at lower prices was their starting point. Their further growth is relying on a collaboration of perspectives.

What major detail made their businesses models revolutionary?

They modeled their transaction process as a collaboration of consumers who together seek to attain the best price possible for the best quality service or product possible at the greatest expedience and with the least amount of setback. This collaborative economy exhibits the increasing willingness of people to make ends meet even if it means not being the sole owner of such products or services.

Here are just a few recommendations for how to respond to the growing sharing economy:
– Do research into your target audience habits, expectations, and transaction goals
– Match up with the advanced sharing business models of startups who increasingly exhibit where the market is heading
– Remain connected with researchers and related topics to stay up-to-date on technology advancement
– Commit to continuous training of team members to respond to the changing times

Best advice: Be aware of how generations are continuing to flock towards a sharing of products and services versus sole ownership and respond accordingly.

Written by: Elizabeth de la Torre, El Classificado