To advertise, my wife used to take out a newspaper classified ad. It was a process that required some thought about whether the ad should run two or three days, and/or over one or two weekends. You also had to be parsimonious about how many words you used, which involved lots of acronyms. After all, a tiny two-day ad costs more than $100.
Today, all those classified ad concerns/issues have disappeared. Why? Craigslist. Instead of taking out a newspaper classified, we put a free advertisement on Craigslist. Not only it is free but you can run the ad as early as you want in the month, for as long as you want, and quickly change the description/price based on supply/demand. Even better, Craigslist has become extremely popular with apartment renters, who used to scour the weekend newspapers for vacancies.
What troubling to newspapers is classified ads such as apartment rentals are high-margin products. They used to be the bread-and-butter of the business even though the more glamorous full-page ads dominated the landscape. With competition such as Craigslist and Kijiji, newspapers are in a serious battle to stay in a game they dominated just a few years ago.
In terms of online advertising growth, Veronis Suhler Stevenson expects the U.S. market will climb to $61.9-billion by 2011 from $23.6-billion in 2006, and that the Internet wills surpass newspapers as the leading mediu.
“We are in the midst of a major shift in the media landscape that is being fueled by changes in technology, end-user behaviors and the response by brand marketers and communications companies,” says James Rutherford, executive vice president and managing director at VSS.
More: The Financial Times has a news story on the VSS study while WatchMojo suggests the forecasts are probably too aggressive. Scott Karp had some interesting insights on Kijiji’s expansion plans earlier this month.