Free classified ads are actually something fairly new. Classified ads have existed for a long time, but they usually would cost someone to have them published. They are often times found in a section of a newspaper that is devoted specifically to them. They are different from the usual ads you would see from a giant corporation, as classified ads are most often put out by an individual person who wants to advertise either a product or service that they are selling. They are also much cheaper than the big time marketing and advertising campaigns you will find in the corporate world.
Free classified ads may not reach the massive audience that a national marketing campaign would, but they don’t have to, as they are aimed at the local market. Until they made their way online, they were mostly found in newspapers, and they, along with other types of advertising, made up most of the newspapers industries revenue. Advertising makes up as much 80% of a newspaper’s total revenue, and sales of the actual newspaper itself makes up the rest. Now that classified advertising is moving onto the internet, the newspaper industry is faced with declining revenue.
These types of ads are usually very simple and often times only feature text, and simply tell what the product or service someone is selling, how much it costs, maybe a short description, and a phone number to call for more information. When a newspaper features classified ads, though not free classified ads, they are usually found in section all to themselves, and that section will often times have a few columns worth of ads. Abbreviations will also be used in an effort to save not only space, but also money, as the less space an ad takes up, the more can be fit onto a page, thus more revenue for the newspaper. Graphics and pictures are rarely, if ever, used.
Just like everything else in the printed media world, classified ads are moving their way onto the internet. Unlike the ads found in newspapers, which usually charge per line of text, the ones found online are often times free classified ads. The fact they are usually free online, though not always, often times means that they are longer than the printed versions, and can feature more detailed descriptions of what they are offering. Online ads are completely searchable and shoppers have the ability to search a bigger area, rather than be limited to just the local area that would be served by the newspaper.