What you should consider before you choose an automated moderation solution 

 Are you stuck at a crossroad trying to decide which automated moderation solution provider to go with? 

There are so many things you need to ensure works with a moderation partner; Are your unique needs and requirements met? Will the provider deliver a high-quality solution? Is the documentation transparent and the integration smooth? Are you supported after the purchase and is the solution well-maintained? And much more… 

With all these parameters to consider, it’s not easy to decide which automated moderation solution provider that suits your marketplace needs the best.  

To help you make that decision easier, we’ve developed a checklist with the questions you should ask both yourself and the solution provider to make sure the partnership will work as smoothly as you want it to. 

Download the checklist here: 
What to consider when choosing an automated moderation solution.

When did you last add an innovative feature to your marketplace? Does it align with and support the future trends within the marketplace industry?

In 2018 the big talking point at industry conferences and reports has been the move from classifieds to marketplaces. But what does this move actually mean, and what impact should it have on your operational and innovation strategy?

Here are 3 new challenges that you need to think into your business plans going forward:

Monetization strategies are changing

Traditionally classifieds earned money from listing fees and paid advertising. Going forward this will be less and less profitable. Seeing yourself as a lead provider to amateur and professional sellers is no longer going to be a viable strategy.

As more sites and Apps implement AI for smarter seller and buyer matching the lure of marketplaces as a lead generator will quickly dissolve. In the future, the name of the game will be value-added services. Marketplaces will use technology to match sellers and buyers with 1-3 high-quality leads and surround that match with ancillary services that both parties will find relevant. Such services could be everything from financing, insurance, delivery, to more creative value ads like stylist services when buying gala-clothing.

The winners will be those who manage to add the most successful value-added services both in terms of revenue and users experience.

Greg Goldring has shared a framework for how they decide which ancillary services to offer their visitors. It’s worth a look if you are stuck on how to implement this in your business.

Become part of the transaction

One of the main differences between classifieds and marketplaces is that, on the former, physical meetings is still a pretty standard part of the process. Contact may be established online, but delivery and payment is mostly done in the offline space. Apart from the inconvenience, this also leads to quite a bit of platform leakage, especially when it comes to professionals. Once that initial contact has been established, they no longer need the marketplace.

The solution, of course, is to handle the entire user journey inside your platform. This includes payments. Make sure it’s easy and safe to pay through your platform and you will stop the majority of leakage. We are moving into the era of the convenience economy and people will increasingly pick convenience over price.

Make convenience your new mantra

Speaking of convenience. Aimgroup recently quoted Martin Scheepbouwer, CEO of the OLX Group saying, “Convenience is the future of classifieds.”

This is going to be true for not just transactions, but for the entire user journey of both buyers and sellers. The platform that can develop the most features that support convenience will be the one that grows the most and if they can weave in value-added services to be part of the convenience model, they will not only win at attraction and retention but also have a much easier time monetizing.

Listing fees are no longer going to keep you alive, affiliate payment from value-added services are and your full development focus needs to switch from lead delivery to incorporating a convenience-centered design approach and ensuring that your core product supports this new strategy.

Another important thing to consider is that to push a user to the point in the user journey where they will be open to value-added services, you need to ensure that your product is delivering a unique and smooth customer journey throughout all touchpoints.

Strategies for distributing resources for innovation and growth

With so much to focus on it can be hard to know how to best allocate resources. To help with that decision. Take each area and fit them into one of two boxes. Business need and unique selling points (USPs).

Business needs are things that are required to run your business, but which are not going to set you apart from your competitors. It’s everything from the servers that host your platform to the tele-company providing your phonelines for customer support. You can’t operate your business without them, and you need them to be reliable and of high quality, but it’s not the value proposition you pull out when people ask why they should use your site over your competitor.

Unique selling points, on the other hand, is where your product rises above others in the market. This is obviously where you should focus your resources.

The rest can be outsourced and in many cases handing your business needs over to professionals will save you money. The time and resources you save can instead be used to increase the velocity with which you develop features and other areas that fall into the USP area.

What can you save by letting 3rd party vendors deal with your business needs?

Now comes the fun part. it’s time to look for areas that you can outsource without losing a competitive advantage and see how much you can gain from passing it on to a professional partner.

Content moderation is a really good example of such an area. It’s a critical business need for all marketplaces to keep your users safe and the user experience smooth, but it’s not a differentiator. It’s not what will set you apart from your competitor.

This makes it a perfect area to outsource so your developers can use their time focusing on your core product rather than creating solutions that already exist in the market.

On top of freeing resources, you can also save a good deal of money opting for a turn-key moderation solution, rather than an in-house setup.

Many companies we talk to are not fully aware of how much they actually spend on their in-house moderation. To help you better understand your total cost of ownership, we’ve put together a list that will help you calculate the total cost of ownership for your current content moderation set up.

Technology
  • Design and development of control panel including both manual and automation features.
  • Maintenance and hosting of all tools related to content moderation
Personnel
  • Salary of both direct and indirect staff
  • Recruiting/acquisition and retention
  • Onboarding and ongoing training to align with changes to policy and CX
  • Shrinkage and shift management
  • Impacts of ineffective and/or costly moderation
  • Damage to brand and retention
  • Reduced conversions and stunted growth
  • Customer support costs

On top of this remember that the cost you pay for moderation isn’t just financial it’s also about opportunity cost. Setup and management of moderation processes will divert some focus from what really matters. Developing a competitive product and features that can carry your platform into the new reality of the online marketplace industry.

Benefits of Besedo Total

For 16 years we’ve been supporting classifieds and marketplaces across the globe. As moderation has moved from a USP to a business need, sites are increasingly looking for a provider where they can just offload their entire moderation process. Not just the manual labor, but the technology, the setup and the day to day management.

To meet the demands of the marketplace industry of tomorrow, we’ve developed a completely new service called Besedo Total.

With Besedo total you are guaranteed:

  • Moderation of 100% of your listings
  • 30 minutes or less average time to site
  • Moderation accuracy of at least 95%
  • A monthly report covering listing flow and trends and user insights observed while moderating

We shoulder all the responsibilities of day to day management, staffing and quality assurance. Giving you space to develop your core product.

Finally, our clients have seen a cost reduction of up to 60% of their previous moderation cost.

How does Besedo Total work?

For Besedo Total to work well it’s important that we truly understand the needs of our clients. As such, each setup begins with a thorough discovery phase where we discuss and agree on policies, processes and estimate the monthly volumes. With the foundation in place we can move on to implementation and execution quickly and in total, we can go live in about 9 weeks from the contract is signed.

Here’s how the full implementation roadmap looks.

moderation roadmap

“Besedo offered an easy solution exactly targeting our needs. We couldn’t have been able to develop a better solution.”
– Jelena Moncilli Anti-Fraud Specialist at anibis.ch

What does Besedo Total cover?

Besedo Total covers every single listing you need moderated and will be able to replace your entire moderation set up.

You will no longer have to develop and maintain a moderation tool, you save time and money as you no longer have to hire, manage, train and retrain a moderation team. Besedo Total also removes the need to spend time keeping up to date with new moderation challenges.

We handle both text and images with no extra associated cost and no restrictions on the ratio between them.

The Besedo Total setup consists of 1st and 2nd line moderation with trust and safety cases covered by experts in the area to keep your users safe.

All of our agents go through an in-depth training program and benefits from internal knowledge and support, but 2nd line agents are more experienced and often have more specialized focus areas.

Get time to innovate where it matters

Handing something so fundamental as content moderation over to a partner can feel daunting at first, but it’s a necessary step towards resource optimization. With Besedo Total you get a partner who understands content moderation to the core, with over 16 years of experience in the field, specifically focused on classifieds and online marketplaces.

You get a full-fledged moderation setup, that doesn’t require any micromanagement on your part, while still delivering the high-quality results you require.

Finally, integration is easy and smooth, implementation is done in 9 weeks or less and once in place, no maintenance is required on your part.

Isn’t it time you stop feeding resources into reinventing existing tools and focus full speed on developing features supporting the value-added services required for tomorrows monetization?

Get in touch with a solution designer to hear how we can take moderation off your shoulders so you can spend time on the challenges that will set you apart from your competitors.

Facebook is coming! So are the other tech giants, as well as an uncountable number of vertical competitors.

To survive as an online marketplace, the only strategy is to offer something no one else has and to keep coming up with smart ways to differentiate your online marketplace from the rest.

There are multiple approaches to make your marketplace stand out and the truth is that you may have to deploy more than one of these to truly set your platform apart. Because you are not alone in wanting to build a unique marketplace experience.

In fact, according to Gartner “By 2018, more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations“.

Designing your user journey with engagement in mind is one of the strategies that can help you win the race. After all, engaged users are more likely to remember your brand, and engaged consumers buy 90% more frequently and spend 60% more per transaction.

How to build Engagement at each step of the user journey

At Besedo we know how important high-quality content is to user engagement, however, we also know that you need to apply an array of other tools to create a truly engaging user journey. To cover more ground, we partnered up with Kahuna, who specializes in data-driven personalization, and did a webinar to provide a broad perspective on engagement driven user journeys for both buyers and sellers.

The key to getting it right is to think engagement into each touch point the customer has with your business. Learn more from Kahuna’s Jeff Nolan and Besedo’s Sigrid Zeuthen.

It’s 2018 and AI is everywhere. Every company and their grandmom are now offering AI-powered solutions. With so many options to pick from does, it really matter who you partner with for AI moderation?

When we started building our AI for moderation in 2008, machine learning had hardly been applied to content moderation. Since then others have understood the value automation brings in keeping marketplace users safe.

Every time we go to a tradeshow or conference we see new companies with AI offers and we understand that as the market gets more saturated it can be hard to decide which vendor to bet on.

To help you navigate the AI jungle we wanted to highlight some very specific areas where our AI is unique in the market.

It’s actionable

A lot of AI models work based on a sliding scale and the output you get is a probability score. The score gives you a picture of how likely the content piece is to be whatever the algorithm is looking for. So if a content piece receives a high probability score from a model looking to detect unwanted content, there’s a good chance that the content piece falls into that category.

However, a scoring system is often arbitrary. When should you reject an item as a scam? When the probability score is 100%? 99% or maybe 85% is good enough?

Our AI doesn’t operate this way. We want to provide our clients with clear answers that they can apply straight away. As such we do not send back an abstract score, instead, our algorithm provides a concrete answer.

We operate with 3 different, but clear answers that are easy to apply a moderation action to. The 3 values we expose are OK, NOK (not okay) and uncertain.

Let’s use the unwanted content model as an example. Our algorithms will look at the content and determine whether it’s unwanted content. If it is it will return “NOK” and you should reject the content piece, if it isn’t you will get “OK” back and you can accept it. If the model isn’t sure it will send back “Uncertain”, this doesn’t happen often, but if it does you should send the content for manual review.

That’s how simple it is. There’s no grey zone, only clear actionable answers to each content piece you run through the model.

 

A holistic AI approach

We believe that the value of AI is often mistakenly judged on the accuracy of the models alone. The reality is that it’s more complex than that. To explain why we need to get a bit technical and quickly outline a bit of AI terminology. (If you are interested you can read more about the basic concepts of AI moderation here)

When evaluating an AI there are multiple KPI’s you can look at, accuracy is just one of them. To determine if our AI is performing to our standards, we look at a wide array of metrics. We can’t cover all in this article, but here are some of the most important ones.

Precision

Is a number that describes how often models predictions were actually correct. If there are 100 content pieces and the machine determine 10 of them to be unwanted content, but only 8 of them were actually unwanted content then the model has a precision of 80%.

Recall

Recall is showing how many of the actual unwanted content pieces the algorithm correctly identifies. If we go back to our example with 100 content pieces. The AI correctly identified 8 unwanted content pieces out of the 100, but, there were 16 unwanted content pieces. In this case, the recall of the model is 50% as it only found half of the unwanted content cases present.

Accuracy

Describes the number of decisions the model gets correct. If we have 100 content pieces and 16 of them are unwanted content the accuracy of the model will be negatively impacted both by the unwanted content it fails to identify and by any good content it wrongly identifies as bad.

This means that if a model out of 100 content pieces correctly identified 8 unwanted content when there were 16 present and it wrongly identified 2 good content pieces as unwanted content the model would have an accuracy of 90%.

Automation rate

Automation rate is a way to measure exactly how much of the total content volume is being handled by AI. If you have 100000 content pieces per day and 80000 of them are dealt with by the models, then you have an automation level of 80%

When judging how well AI works we believe it needs to be based on how it performs in relation to all these 4 metrics as that will give you a truer picture of how well the AI is dealing with the content challenges.

You can never have perfect accuracy, precision, recall, and automation at the same time. Our AI is unique in that it is calibrated to meet your business objectives and to find the right balance between all of these indicators.

 

Supervised and continuous learning

Machine learning models can be taught in different ways and the way they are taught has a huge impact on how well they perform.

Our AI is trained on structured and labeled data of high quality. What this means is that the data sets we train our models on have been reviewed manually by expert content moderators who have taken a yes or no decision on every single piece of content.

We also update the models regularly ensuring that they are updated and adhere to new rules and global changes or events that could impact moderation decisions.

 

A calibrated solution

One of the benefits of designing our AI with an eye on multiple metrics is that we can tailor-make a solution to ensure the perfect fit for your business.

We have multiple levers we can pull to adjust the output allowing us to tweak accuracy and automation ensuring that everything is calibrated as your business requires.

With our solution the accuracy and degree of automation are elastic and that makes our AI setup much more flexible than other available options.

 

Adaptive AI Solution

One of the few drawbacks of Machine Learning is that it’s rigid and static. To change the model, you need to retrain it with a quality dataset. This makes it hard for most AI setups to deal with sudden changes in policies.

We‘ve solved this problem by deeply integrating it into our content moderation tool Implio. Implio has a powerful filter feature which adds flexibility to the solution, so you can quickly adapt to change.

For example. when a new iPhone comes out the AI models will not pick up the new scams until it has been trained on a new dataset including them, but you can add filters in Implio until there’s time to update machine learning. The same is true for other temporary events like the Olympic Games or global disasters except that these are over so quickly that it’s likely not feasible to update the models. Instead, you can add Implio filters that ensure high accuracy even during times with special moderation demands.

In addition, we have a team dedicated to studying moderation trends and best practices and all our AI customers benefit from their knowledge and our 16 years of experience to support and guide them.

 

ML Tailored to content moderation

Most of the AI solutions on the market were created to solve a general problem that occurs in multiple industries. This means that the AI works okay for most companies, but it’s never a perfect fit.

We took the other route and dedicated our efforts to create an AI that’s perfect for content moderation.

When we develop our AI we do it based on the 16 years of experience we have helping companies of all sizes keep their users safe and the quality of their user-generated content high. That has made our stack uniquely tailored to content moderation ensuring unparalleled results in our field.

We also have a team of experts supporting our AI developers with insights, internal learnings from moderating global sites of all sizes and research into industry trends and the challenges faced by online marketplaces and classifieds in particular.

Our research team feeds their insights to Besedo as a whole ensuring a high level of expertise at every level of our organization. From moderation agents to managers and developers. This ensures that our experience and expertise is infused into all our services and products.

 

Get an AI solution that fits your needs

There is no question about it, AI will play a huge role in marketplace growth over the next couple of years. However, to truly benefit from machine learning, make sure you get models that will work well for you.

We often talk to marketplace owners who have become slightly disillusioned after testing AI solutions that weren’t properly calibrated for their business. They have wasted time implementing a solution that didn’t solve their issue in a proper way and now they are wary of AI as a whole.

That’s a shame, when applied correctly AI is a great money saver and provides other benefits like fast time to site and user privacy protection.

To avoid spending money on the wrong AI, have a chat with our solution designers and they will give you a good idea of which setup would work for you and the results you can expect. Together you can tailor a solution that fits your exact needs.

Get in contact with us for our tailored AI moderation solution

In a recent webinar with Kahuna, Jeff Nolan made the statement that for digital marketplaces “Trust is the product”.

At Besedo this is exactly in line with our experience, working with online marketplaces for over 15 years.  As they do not carry their own goods, but merely facilitate the contact between users, their primary purpose is to ensure a safe environment for users to engage.

If users do not trust the marketplace, they will not carry out transactions through it.

They are probably unlike to even browse listings on it.

In fact, 50% of those that don’t shop online state that lack of trust is the reason.

But how do you know whether your site is trustworthy or not? It all comes down to the quality level of your inventory.

Determining this can be a daunting exercise. The nature of marketplaces is to facilitate users to post their content to reach buyers. This means that without proper processes in place you have limited control over the content that is submitted to your platform.

How many good listings do you have versus how many bad ones? And where should you start the process of pruning?

Not all bad content is created equal. At Besedo we’ve spent years learning which content poses the biggest risk for marketplaces.

Based on this experience and to help marketplaces understand their content quality better, we’ve created the Besedo layers model.

Essentially, the model is a way of assessing the quality and safety of sites and marketplaces. We use it to clarify specific areas of need for marketplaces and as the framework for our index reports.

 

Drilling down to the threat impact

We’ve used this model successfully for years and recently updated it to make it even clearer where and how the threat impacts your marketplace and what the ROI from managing the threat is.

To achieve this, we’ve broken the model into two areas.

Content quality threats and user experience threats. If both areas are well managed, you will be well on your way to establish user trust.

 

Content quality threats

All threats included in this table are things that lower the overall quality of your inventory. It includes illegal items, dangerous assets and are things that will make most people turn away from your site.

These threats directly impact acquisition and user churn and they may get you into PR or legal trouble. Especially if your marketplace operates in a market where the platform is liable for the content they feature.

 

User experience threats

content that negatively impacts user experience

The threats listed in this table impact the search and user experience and generally decrease the smoothness of the customer journey. Scams, duplicates, and wrongly categorized items all make it harder to find the items users are looking for, which in turn decrease overall conversion.

 

User Trust: The Overarching Objective

The primary goal of the Besedo layer model is to create a conversation around user trust and what impacts it. By creating discussions about threats within content we aim to give online marketplaces additional clarity – and by providing dedicated insights we hope to help companies tailor their moderation strategy and create better solutions.

We often undertake an assessment like this when a new marketplace or classified site approach us; it’s a way of understanding their pain points and figuring out where they can improve. Sometimes clients have an idea of what they need to do, but a formal analysis helps clarify specific needs.

 

Broader Industry Assessments

As well as client assessments we also use our insight tools to create ‘State of the Market’ reports: indexes in which we review content on a set of 20-30 websites operating in a specific sector, industry, or geographical area.

All things considered, quality content and a good user experience reinforce trust – a fact that applies across all businesses. Enabling UGC always carries a certain level of risk, but with the right awareness and tools in place, these can be easily and quickly mitigated.

You can view all Besedo’s Index reports, or in conducting an assessment of your own marketplace or classifieds site? Get in touch today!

Without content moderation, your online marketplace or classifieds site could end up a little like the Wild West: lawless. While user generated content (UGC) is – for the most part – contributed by genuine customers, a system that’s open to the public is open to abuse: which is why content moderation is a must.

However, despite its importance, there are a number of massive misconceptions about content moderation.

Let’s bust some of those myths right now.

Myth #1: Content moderation is censorship

Some people see content moderation as a form of censorship; a way for organizations to exercise control and block comments, posts, reviews, and other types of undesirable content.

The truth is, content moderation is about providing a healthy and safe environment where users can comfortably engage with others and upload their own products, posts or comments.

Flags and report buttons allow users to notify site owners when something’s out of place, human moderators ensure that all users comply with community standards, and well-trained AI moderation solutions use filters to screen for inappropriate words, phrases, and images – helping weed out the trolls, bullies, and spammers; keeping your online space a great place to be.

In short, content moderation isn’t censorship, it’s a tool to improve user experience, ensure that you adhere to local and global laws and that your users can interact through your services without fear of getting scammed.

Read how you can avoid making your users feel censored >>

Myth #2: Content moderation gives no ROI

Hmm… where to start? The notion that content moderation is simply another time-consuming and resource-heavy task that provides little ROI is a common one.

Marketers need to remember that all their hard work on SEO, branding, and marketing is all for nothing if a damaging image gets uploaded, someone is bullied, or links to spam content or NSFW material get posted.

Speaking of SEO. Content moderation helps here too. By removing duplicates, re-categorizing misplaced items and rejecting low quality ads you can increase your Google ranking.

Learn more about how to improve marketplace SEO from SEO expert Oliver Winberg >>

Content moderation also helps breed and maintain trust. A qualitative study we conducted  showed that 75% of users who saw scam on a site would not return and in a quantative study we found that 50% of participants encountered something they thought was a scam.

That means you could potentially experience 38% user churn just from scams.

And finally, a great content moderation strategy not only protects your brand value, it helps increase engagement as well. Besedo customers have seen a significant improvement in bounce rate, for example. In some cases, a drop from 35% to 14% – increasing the chance of conversion and return visits.

So, while you may not be able to directly translate money into money out when it comes to content moderation, you will definitely feel it on your bottom line if you neglect to set up a strong strategy for content review and management.

Myth #3: AI is not accurate enough

People just don’t seem to trust robots (thanks Terminator!). And while Skynet is still a way off (waaay off, we hope!) current forms of AI are tailor-made for content moderation – and are actually in many cases as accurate as human moderators.

Case in point: our own experience working with Meetic – an online dating platform with 6.5 million monthly users. We were able to automate 74,8% of their content from day one with 99% accuracy and over time we have moved the automation level to 90%, without negatively impacting the accuracy.

You can read more about this in our Meetic case study >>

Myth #4: Building your own content moderation solution is cheaper than using a SaaS solution

Building your own content moderation platform is a huge task, especially when you want to use machine learning AI to support your human team. Setting your developers to work on building something will cost a lot of money and take a lot of time. That’s time that could be used creating unique features that will give you the competitive edge.

Segment CEO, Peter Reinhardt states  “You should only be building your own tool if you’ve tried lots of others on the market and find that none of them will solve your problem. Only build if you’re left without a choice. And still take care: I’d estimate that 50% of the startups that I see build tools can’t maintain them.”

So if you haven’t yet tested our content moderation tool Implio, put your in-house development on hold. Implio is a proven SaaS solution, with inbuilt AI, customizable filters and an efficient manual interface developed specifically for online marketplaces, sharing economy sites and dating apps. And it’s free – for up to 10,000 items a month.

Most importantly, it’s religiously maintained, and new features are added regularly, without impacting your product roadmap.

Consider those myths busted!

There’s a lot of misinformation regarding content moderation. But fail to get it right and spam will harm your SEO, trolls will harass your customers, and irrelevant content will ruin your site’s user experience.

Want to get it right first time? Talk to our solutions designer team here at Besedo.

Conversions are the holy grail for online marketplaces. Once you have a healthy level of conversions from your listings you can start the transition from lead generator to transactional services.  

To get to the stage of persistent conversions, however, you must ensure high quality inventory, return visitors and construct a smooth search experience.  

The latter is especially important considering that according to studies by the Nielsen Norman Group, users will abandon your site within 10 seconds if they don’t find what they are looking for 

 

5 steps to improve inventory quality and increase conversion 

At Besedo we have conducted a number of studies on content quality, search experience and how it correlates to conversion.  

At the recent Global online classifieds summit in Miami AimGroup CEO Peter Zollman invited us to present our findings to a crowd of 267 online marketplace professionals.  

The end of our presentation included 5 steps that online marketplaces can take right away to improve the content quality of their site resulting in better conversion and lower churn.  

Now we want to share these actionable insights with all of our blog readers as well. You can watch the entire presentation below.  

Ready to improve user experience and conversion rates? 

Get in touch with a content moderation expert and learn how our moderation solutions can help your online marketplace convert better.

No doubt about it: developers are in demand. Positions are opening up fast and the profession is expected to grow around 24% until 2026 in the U.S. alone. While developers are brought in to help companies innovate, frustratingly, a lot of their valuable time is often spent solving problems that already have smooth, existing solutions: like content moderation, for example.

As an online marketplace, you need to monitor and review large volumes of user-generated content (UGC) – so a solid moderation tool is pretty essential. Historically many online marketplaces have built such tools as part of their back office setup. This practice occurred, first and foremost because 15-20 years ago when the first real online marketplaces were born there weren’t any good alternatives. That is however no longer true. There are off-the-shelf alternatives developed exclusively for our industry. As such the main arguments we hear these days for developing your own tool are control and customization.

Wanting the ability to keep your data close for insight on how to develop your product, is a great reason for creating your own tool. So is the goal of customizing your tool to your exact needs. Except that’s rarely the outcome seen when online marketplace owners develop their own tool. Too often we hear about clunky tools and slow interfaces that don’t  have all the functionalities needed to do the basic moderation tasks efficiently, let alone provide all the benefits described above.

Peter Reinhardt, CEO at Segment estimates that 50% of the startups he sees build their own tools can’t maintain them.

The truth is that when developer resources are distributed, moderation tool development and maintenance are rarely at the front of the queue (if it even gets to line up). And even when they do, that developer time could almost certainly be spent better.

Here are a few examples of what your developers could be doing instead of reinventing the wheel:

 

1. Improving the seller experience

Scrolling through categories on an e-commerce site can be frustrating for vendors to say the least. Finding exactly where to post a product can sometimes feel like rocket science – is a USB pen drive an accessory or an electronic product? Is this laptop case a bag or a computer accessory?!

As a result, users often end up advertising in the wrong category, which can hurt their sales, your SEO, and also your bottom line when consumers can’t find what they’re looking for. By setting your developers to work on building an image recognition tool that suggests placement based on submitted images, you can save your vendors a lot of time, improve conversion, SEO, and customer satisfaction in one go.

 

2. Increasing your conversions by as much as 20%

People care about security, especially when it comes to giving their credit card details online. An AIM Group report in February covered the security of escrow payments and showed that, statistically, non-secure payment solutions decrease conversion rates by as much as 20%.

Tasking your developers with improving security for your site in general is an excellent idea, and having them focus on payment process security can help you build even more customer trust and improve profitability.

 

3. Keeping your customers on site

In an ideal world, customers would set your site as their homepage. While that’s unlikely (!), you should definitely aim to keep them on your site for as long as possible, because people who stick around and search on your site are much more likely to convert.

Your developers could build a ‘related items’ feature into your marketplace, helping customers who have just landed on your site to find items similar to what they were looking for and upping the chance of them finding what they need.

 

4. Giving your customers exactly what they want

On a similar note, helping your customers find what they are looking for quickly is a surefire way of holding their attention and encouraging them to add items to their shopping baskets.

Get your dev team to roll out a solid search engine, built on data, and give your customers no choice but to convert when they see perfectly matched items popping up time and time again.

 

5. Staying on top of the latest trends

Many industries, from architects to real estate, and even car manufacturers are already taking advantage of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). And they’re getting the attention of younger generations, particularly Millennials, who are increasingly wielding more financial power and respond well to this kind of tech.

This is the perfect opportunity to encourage your developers to flex some creative muscle and for your online store to get an edge on your competitors. And with the right focus, resources, and insights the sky is very much the limit.

 

These are just some value-adding ways you can get your current dev team (and any future hires) to innovate. Content moderation, on the other hand, should not be the focus for your developers.

Particularly not when you have alternatives like Implio, our all-in-one content moderation tool. It’s ready to use right away and combines both AI and manual moderation to maximise accuracy and efficiency. With Implio you get all the customization you want with our customizable filters and the option to add tailor-made AI. And you keep control of insight generated by your data through Implios analytics dashboard.

Developer time is gold, don’t waste it on a costly reinvention of the wheel.

Talk to our team about using Implio today!

We’ve all seen those unnecessarily mean comments and personal attacks, in response to articles, videos, and social media posts. The faceless “trolls” behind them seem to get a kick out of humiliating people; just for voicing opinions or sharing content online.

Though it’s clearly unpleasant, such behavior is often ignored or dismissed as an inevitable part of our online experience. But for many people abuse like this can have very real consequences; when trolling turns into full-fledged cyberbullying.

A Hidden epidemic

Often hidden from view on social media platforms, forums, or messaging apps, cyberbullying can be hard to spot. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. According to anti-bullying organization, Bullying Statistics, more than 50% of adolescents have experienced cyberbullying in some form or other – and up to a quarter have been repeatedly bullied online.

And it’s just as damaging as school- or workplace harassment, hurting the victims emotionally and often leaving them too afraid to socialize or go to school. In more extreme cases it escalates into physical abuse and has sadly led to a number of suicides.

As online marketplaces and classifieds sites increasingly chase community building, do they also have a responsibility for user actions on their platforms? How can they address the important issue of cyberbullying?

Germany sets an example

Germany certainly thinks businesses have a job to do. The country’s new “Network Enforcement Law”, which came into effect in October last year, sets a very strict precedent when it comes to dealing with offensive material on social networks.

The new act levies fines of up to €50 million if a social media platform – with more than 2 million users – fails to remove posts that break German law within a certain (very short) timeframe.

This law has already drawn international attention. And, as broader awareness of cyberbullying increases, governments around the world are likely to start following suit; putting regulations in place to ensure that businesses do everything they can to protect their users.

However, many countries are struggling to enforce action as current laws don’t categorize certain ‘bullying’ behavior as necessarily negative. For example, in Sweden, publishing a naked or sexual image is not seen as ‘defamation’ as being sexually active is normal adult behavior. A 2016 article in The Guardian, illustrates just how varied actions against online harassment can be.

From a business perspective, the time to start tackling the issue of cyberbullying is now. As companies everywhere begin to take action, the cost of not having an effective online bullying strategy in place will be high – and not just financially, but also in terms of brand reputation and user churn. In fact, recent statistics show that 30% of users that witnessed cyberbullying on a site stopped using the service afterwards.

As the digital society continues to mature we are also likely to see increasing legislation as governments start holding companies responsible for what happens on their platforms.

Taking steps to keep your users safe online

The growing problem of cyberbullying has been a difficult one to face for many companies. Reviewing billions of comments, messages and posts is an impossible task for a human team to do alone. However, there are a  number of ways to handle cyberbullying and neutralize it on your website.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) filters can catch inappropriate comments or posts before they’re published. This not only prevents people from posting offensive content, but it also forces them to reflect on what they are saying.
  • “Report” buttons allow users to flag offensive comments or content online; meaning moderators can then take the appropriate action – deleting the post, warning the user, or even banning a person from using the service. This type of moderation can also be applied to private messages, groups and chat functions; as the worst kind of bullying often takes place in a one-to-one setting.
  • Training should be offered to all customer support staff; so that they know how to deal with instances of cyberbullying, especially when young people are involved. No matter how well integrated your anti-bullying safeguards are, it’s important to be aware that digital harassment often occurs across online platforms. Victims are followed from service to service and your agents will often find themselves in situations where they have to take a decision without knowing the full context.

Building A supportive valuable community with Besedo

Let Besedo help you build the community that you want; a friendly, safe place that benefits all of your users and keeps them coming back time and time again.

To find out more about how our AI content moderation service can help you protect your users from cyberbullying, please get in touch.

This is part 2 of our guide to top marketplace SEO. In part 1 you can learn about how to SEO optimize for buying and selling intent on online marketplaces.

Created content to supplement user-generated content. 

Marketplaces have the incredible advantage of receiving a mass of user-generated content (UGC). When this content is presented in a solid search engine optimized format, you will find that this UGC will attract significant traffic based on long tail search.  

Your category structure and the resulting dynamically generated listing pages do also contribute significant traffic volumes based on users’ search terms.  Your content marketing team should, therefore, take ownership of the category structure, which must be based on solid keyword research. To further strengthen the category keywords, each category and sub-category should include a unique and well-written introduction.  

However even after going through a comprehensive category analysis, it won’t be possible to cater for every user’s search terms within the category structure alone. To capture this search traffic overflow, it will be important to develop a ‘created content’ strategy.  

You will likely already manage a blog. Use these surplus keywords towards new post ideas. Add links within those posts where possible to categories that are most relevant. Internal links are a very powerful SEO tool that are often overlooked. 

A blog post may not always be the most relevant landing page for the user’s query. In some cases, it may be necessary to development addition dynamically generated landing pages to cater for some keywords. The best example of this are price guides that could be used to gain traffic from queries such as ‘average price of second hand iPhone 7 plus in London’ based on data derived from the UGC. Most searched for, most sold items, etc are also good examples of created content. But your keyword analysis should provide many ideas.  

 

Measure and test 

Define the KPIs by which you plan to measure your SEO effectiveness. There is a multitude of metrics that you can use to track your SEO progress. Top of the list is always traffic. Look at this based on the number of visitors that reach your site in total versus those that reach your site through organic search. Next always measure conversions. This could be a lead or a new ad submitted, etc. You likely measure these already but break these down by source – most importantly the percentage that can be attributed to SEO traffic. Thereafter measure your number of indexed pages, page load speed, incoming links, keywords rank, bounce rate, and any other metrics you decide are important and that are possible to obtain historically and monitor regularly going forward. 

This set of SEO KPIs must become your baseline. Every time you update the SEO structures of your site or do any changes to your site, record the status of these metrics, plus the date of the new change. Then again measure and monitor these KPIs carefully during the update process. Speak to your SEO team in advance and ask for forecasts and timelines. Don’t necessarily expect short-term results. But as with any optimization, you should expect improvement. If these don’t come when expected, be ready to go on with the next optimization or even redo the current set of optimizations. 

Much of SEO is about getting to know your user’s better, such as learning which search terms lead to the best conversions. You will have a backlog of tests that you want to try out. Make sure that these tests can be done in such a way that the traffic acquired from these tests can be isolated from the rest of your site. If the result is good within the agreed time period, then keep the test as a permanent optimization. If not, revert the optimization quickly and move on to the next test. 

 

Challenges of SEO for Marketplaces  

Quality is a word that is being emphasized by all the major search engine – mostly loudly by Google. Google has made many adjustments in their ranking algorithms to better highlight the quality content that web users are demanding.  

The focus has been to eliminate duplicate content and content that is both fraudulent and spammy.  

Duplicate content can be defined as content that appears identical on your site and on other sites across the web. Good technical SEO can be used to ensure that all content only appears under unique URLs and with unique page titles and descriptions. It the job of your technical team to fully understand these structures and make the necessary optimization to differentiate your content uniquely across your marketplace web pages. This is a challenge, but the guidelines are well defined, and the skills can be acquired. 

The greater challenge comes in the form of user-defined content. Sellers are notorious for uploading the same content many times. It is possible to filter out much of this duplication via your own backend, but catering for all the permutations that a user can submit require a lot of time from your technical team. Time that could be better spent on other optimization that will have more direct monetary returns.  

The same can be said of fraudulent or spammy content. Users that have the intent to defraud others are becoming more sophisticated every day. They will continually switch identities and the type and structure of their content. 

The best way to traditionally address these challenges has been through using a combination of user reports and human moderators. However, building your own moderation platform means keeping up to date with the techniques of these non-genuine individuals. This will mean making the necessary technical updates to your platform and updating the skills of your moderation team. 

The availability of cloud services now makes it practical to integrate with external, custom built moderation platforms to mitigate the complexities and lost opportunities that building internal moderation tools will bring to your business. 

Improved content moderation will be reflected in the organic traffic metrics that you track for your marketplace.

Takeaways

  • Web users are using search engines to find products or services.
  • Search engine optimization strategies – technical on-page SEO, reputation building off page SEO and content marketing optimization strategies – are critical to acquiring traffic from search engines.
  • Marketplace SEO strategy must be devised to target both buyers and sellers.
  • Use your category and region listings to bring in free organic traffic.
  • Each step of your content strategy must be supported by well-documented keyword research.
  • Created content, such a price guides, can be used to target users on non-typical paths of their customer journeys.
  • Always consider the quality of your content.

This concludes part 2 of our guide to top marketplace SEO. You can read part 1 here.

Want more advice from Oliver Winberg? Check out our webinar how to improve your online marketplace SEO and attract more organic traffic or download the comprehensive keyword research for online marketplaces checklist.

Oliver Winberg SEO expert for online marketplaces

Oliver Winberg has spent the past 20+ years working in the highly competitive classifieds advertising space in South Africa – employed at the highly successful and innovative Junk Mail Digital Media.

In 2008 was offered the opportunity to found Junk Mail’s digital marketing team. With the help of training from Blue Rank in Poland, Oliver discovered the power of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which has since become his passion.

Oliver has now relocated to Stockholm and survived his first true winter. With extensive experience and expertise within marketplace SEO, Oliver is looking forward to working with you to find solutions to the challenges you may be facing with you Search Engine Optimisation strategy.