Marketplace success is built on 3 pillars: Trust, content quality and user experience. In this blog post we will focus on content quality, explaining the concept in detail and sharing ways to achieve it through moderation.
What Is Content Quality?
There are as many definitions of content quality as there are marketplaces. Depending on your niche, different types of content will be perceived as good or bad quality by your users. If for example you run a buy and sell site for vintage cars, an ad for a new car will be perceived as a bad quality listing and vice versa. You are the expert on your type of content, but there are a few things to consider to be able to guarantee the quality your marketplace requires.
Content must be relevant to be perceived as high quality. This means that listings should be relevant to the person visiting your marketplace and match his or her expectations. For example, if your business is selling second hand vehicles, your users will probably not be pleased to find newly manufactured cars or toy trucks when doing their initial searches. A recent survey revealed that the one thing most likely to turn off your users is irrelevant content.
Make sure that:
* Only products or services relevant to your audience are allowed on your site or app.
* Irrelevant information is removed from all listings. An ad for an iPhone 7, for example, doesn’t need a photo of the person listing it or their dog!
All listings need to have sufficient information for a user to quickly assess the offering and decide whether to move forward with the transaction, keep browsing through the ads or leave the site and look somewhere else. This may sound obvious, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. You need clear guidelines and processes for posting and moderation or you’ll end up with really poor quality ads, which leads to an over all perception of bad quality on your site.
Make sure that:
* Titles are concise, descriptive and emphasize any unique features that define the items listed.
* The description gives all the information the reader needs to decide if the product or service is relevant to them or not. This obviously depends on the listing, but the brand, model, how old it is and the condition are generally information you want to include.
* Delivery information. Where and how can the purchase be picked up or does the seller offer delivery?
Humans are not rational. If we see a listing with typos and poor photos we’re naturally turned off, even though we know that bad spelling or photography skills don’t necessarily equal a bad product. Airbnb is a classic example, when the founders went out to the hosts and took professional photos of apartments themselves in order to secure the quality, the site took off for real. Learning from that example, some fairly simple steps can do wonders to your conversion rate!
Make sure that:
* Photos are well lit and of good resolution
* Typos and bad grammar are corrected
Learn how to moderate without censoring
Why moderating content without censoring users demands consistent, transparent policies.
Why Is Content Quality Crucial for Marketplace Success?
Now you know what good quality content is. So let’s take a step back and look into why it’s crucial for the success of your marketplace.
1. Changes in Attention Span
You’ve probably heard that the attention span of online users nowadays is shorter than that of a goldfish. Even though the origin of this statement is debated among experts, there’s little doubt that consumers are getting more impatient when searching for products and services online. Some researchers claim that we’re becoming more efficient when extracting and processing information. This means that we’re judging the quality of a new site much faster than only a few years ago and there’s really not much time to prove that your marketplace is worth spending time on.
2. Increased Competition
With an increasing number of choices, there’s no reason for anyone to accept irrelevant or bad quality content. This raises the bar for marketplace owners when designing their sites; once your potential customers have turned away from your content they’re not very likely to give it another chance. And why should they? There’s always another site or app to turn to if your dream home, vintage bag or perfect date doesn’t show up within a few clicks.
3. Your Brand Is More Important Than Ever
With more players on the market, many marketplaces are working hard on finding their niche and building a strong brand that their core segment can identify with. But is your service living up to the brand-promise? If your marketplace is promising to provide vintage clothes to demanding design-brand-collectors, all the listings should be of high quality vintage pieces and you can’t allow any low-price jumper from last year to slip through.
How to Ensure Content Quality
There are several measures to be taken to ensure content quality. You can force or educate the content poster to fill out certain fields the way you want by e.g. only allowing certain formats or by implementing tooltips. However, no matter how well you do this, there will always be better and worse content posted and therefore you’ll need to supplement by moderating the incoming listings. Choose the moderation method that’s most appropriate for you. But regardless if you choose pre- or post-moderation, manual or automation you need to set up processes for how it should be tackled once it appears. Because believe us, sooner or later you will have low quality postings appear on your marketplace.
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