Are my customers getting scammed? Is my site being used for illegal sales? Are offensive language and disturbing images flourishing without my knowledge?
These have been the primary concerns since the dawn of classifieds, frequently discussed at events, forums, in the media and among peers. And it makes sense, a site where illegal drugs are being traded, where fraudsters are thriving and visitors get offended, will most likely develop a pretty bad reputation and face a slow but steady death. Right?
Sure, we do not deny this, but times are changing, and just avoiding negative buzz is not enough anymore to build a thriving site. In 2021, marketplaces needed to build on their brands actively, and we are seeing increasing amounts of money being thrown on brand-strengthening campaigns and commercials. But are companies living up to their brand promises? How does content quality affect the perception of a site and how is quality perceived by the users? This is something we wanted to find out. And this is why we initiated a survey.
What Content Affect Users?
We asked 1000 people in the UK and US how they perceive listings with different types of content and what actions they would take based on the ads. And this is what we found:
Is It Relevant?
Consumers clearly don’t have any patience with irrelevant or missing information. When shown an ad lacking relevant content nearly 80% said that they would not return to the site where it was posted, nor would they recommend it to others. “I would never buy a phone from an ad or site like this” was a common response to the ad.
People also found Racism and nudity disturbing, but the interesting thing is that this content wasn’t perceived to be as bad as the ad missing relevant information.
Scam Detection Failure
Scam should continue to be a priority for marketplaces, as almost half of the respondents failed to identify an obvious scam ad containing a “too low to be true-price”, a western union payment, and/or typos. We would continue to maintain that it’s your responsibility to protect your visitors. That clearly remains true as many of them are otherwise sitting ducks that scammers will pray on.
Counterfeit is another area where users have problems. Less than 50% spotted the fake phone even though it was clearly stated in the ad.
Lack of Trust
We could spot a general lack of trust. The listing that was genuinely good was also the best perceived one, but even here many people expressed concerns. This only points to the importance of brand building. A strong brand will likely generate a higher trust, so take care of your reputation and keep a clear and consistent focus on building confidence on your site.
Talking about trust… Brits appear to be more skeptical than Americans across the board as they regularly chose not to take the desired actions on the ads shown to them. The reason? Lack of trust. So if you need to prioritize moderation efforts across different sites, this might give you some clues on where to start in order to break into the market rather than falling flat on your face.
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