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Classified Advertising - Everything you need to know

  • Aadithya Athreya
  • Jan 11, 2022
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When we think of Classified Advertising, we imagine those two pages in the middle of a newspaper that no one reads. Filled with various small advertisements or offers of employment, it looks like any standard advertisement board or poster. 


A jumbled up mess of small advertisements. However, Classifieds are extremely important for a host of factors. Before understanding Classifieds, it is vital to understand what advertisements themselves entail.


Advertising is a marketing technique for raising awareness of a product or service. Because businesses rely on advertising to sell their products and perceive it as a fast cure for their marketing requirements, a variety of commercials have been developed.


Firms can pick from a variety of advertising options, such as print advertising, broadcast advertising, covert advertising, outdoor advertising, and more, depending on their specific needs.


This article focuses on the concept of Classified ads which entail a dedicated advertising space, usually in newspapers and now even on websites, for businesses to advertise their product or more commonly post job offers. 


(Check out - Native Advertising)



Advantages of Classified Advertisements


Apart from the obvious advertising advantages, Classifieds play a much bigger role. They connect both the buyers and the sellers and in effect act as a market. Some of their advantages are as follows:

  1. Monetary benefits


The first benefit an enterprise gains from classifieds is the lower cost. Buying classified advertising for a business is usually far less expensive than buying other media space such as print, radio, or television adverts. Businesses can even advertise for free on some classified sites.

Businesses won't have to waste time or money making ads using classified advertising since they won't have to pay for the services of a creative firm.

It's typically as simple as writing some brief material and providing contact information to place a classified ad. Many magazines and websites that sell classified ads provide aid to firms who wish to create a more complicated ad.

  1. Reach


Businesses may target their marketing to the locations where they conduct business and contact individuals who are likely to buy their goods or services by using classified advertisements. 


Many online classified services allow companies to define the locations they serve, ensuring that their ad appears when potential clients search for businesses like theirs nearby.

Using readership demographics, companies can target the exact portion of the populace they want to attract and avoid both wasteful expenditure and make the marketing process more efficient.

  1. Ease of use


Classified Ads are often an easy to use system for both the consumer and the producer. The fact that the ads are often in websites designed for the one purpose of attracting consumers and showing a high reach pushes them to often maximize their efficacy in getting a customer to a particular business’s site. 


The websites for classified ads are specifically intended to draw in a huge number of potential clients. Users may struggle to grasp the terms and conditions if the website's interface is difficult to navigate. They may simply switch to another site without spending any time.

As a result, many classified ad websites feature a user-friendly layout that makes the process of buying and selling between two parties easier.


  1. Employment


Classified ads not only refer to advertisements directed at buying and selling of goods but also include postings of job offers and employment opportunities.

In old movies, when the hero is down on his luck, we see him circling ads in the newspaper. Ever wondered why? That's Classifieds!


The fact that newspapers are often extremely cheap allows companies to reach their ideal employment demographic. For example, companies requiring graduates who are from middle income families thus will be given middle income salaries advertised in newspapers that cater to said demographic.

The fundamental feature of Classifieds is that it has a two way street relationship between producers and consumers. While on one end it can advertise products to a consumer, it can also provide employment to people and give companies an inexpensive but highly effective method in attracting employees.


Many of our parents have used the same when looking for their first job post college. It used to be commonplace for people to spend a day by the phone simply calling various enterprises on the offer. However, Classifieds have their own disadvantages too.

(Check out our blog on Guerrilla Advertising)



Disadvantages of Classified Advertising


Just like any other advertising system, classifieds have their own set of positives and negatives. While in many situations the positives outweigh the negatives, it is important to note that the ads are not a one size fits all model. 


While Classified Ads might work for a certain type of enterprise, there is no guarantee that it would work in another business’s case.


There are three primary disadvantages of Classifieds and they are as follows:


  1. Competition


Just like any other public marketing space, Classifieds is subject to competition. Despite the relatively low cost, Classifieds presents a threat to Medium sized enterprises looking to grow their business.

The law of Scarcity states that as a commodity’s quantity decreases, its value will increase. In cases of Classifieds in reputed newspapers such as The Hindu or Times of India, the page can prove to be too expensive for many businesses thus being the monopoly of big businesses.

This creates a vicious cycle where to grow their business, one needs to advertise and to advertise, one needs to be able to afford it. Thus, small scale enterprises that cannot compete with higher bids offered by bigger businesses often miss out on vital advertising required to establish their often fledgling businesses.


  1. Sphere of Influence


​​​​​​​Unlike digital marketing or social media marketing, Classified Advertising’s reach is usually limited to the demographic that buys the newspaper that it is in. Considering the still nascent online Classified industry, it is safe to say that Classified remains a physical, paper based affair.

For businesses that choose Classifieds, they can only reach the physical audience that purchases the paper and an even lower percentage who actually read the fields. While an online campaign can literally circle the globe, Classifieds is bound by physical barriers that often make it cumbersome for an enterprise to truly expand their market capitalization.


  1. Lifespan


​​​​​​​A Classified ad, once taken out, is a one time affair only. It will be there in the newspaper for a day alone. Unlike other forms of advertisements such as billboards or commercials, Classifieds has an extremely short lifespan.

This often forces companies to take out multiple ads to ensure that they capture consumer attention and properly reach their target audience.It is a case of simple probability. The more you advertise, the bigger the chance that someone will see it.

Unlike billboards or commercials, Classifieds are not based on time on air or time the billboard is up. It is simple based on space and is a daily affair. The fact that it is often buried among other advertisements unrelated to a business makes it less likely for companies to derive any actual benefit.



  1. Wastage


​​​​​​​Despite the fact that by taking out an ad in a particular newspaper you can hope to reach your demographic, it is highly likely that you reach people uninterested in your business.

Considering that newspapers can charge a higher rate based on the number of people seeing the ad, they can charge for views that were never yours in the first place. This comes about the problem of waste of resources.

While the cost may be low, the fact that Classifieds cannot be targeted at a particular audience but instead are a blanket ad makes it difficult for companies to justify their efficacy. 


Social media marketing can be customised based on cookies, commercials played based on the channel people are watching and even billboards customised based on location.

Classifieds, on the other hand, must be a one size fits all type of advertisement which makes it difficult for companies to properly reach their base.


Ultimately, Classifieds is a product of a past era with reduced contemporary relevance. The need for paper based ads is ever shrinking in the modern world and with other forms of advertising showing greater success, Classifieds has been regulated to two unnecessary pages in the middle of the newspaper that very few truly read.


However, for millions across the country who still do not have access to employment opportunities, the Classifieds page is a godsend. It remains to be seen that while it is still an integral part of society, its importance is dwindling with the march of time.

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