Do You Really Know What Content Is Likely to Turn Your Users Away?

In 2014 we conducted a survey amongst classifieds industry leaders. We wanted to understand what content related issues was generally thought to impact user experience the most. The answer was very clear. Fraud. Everyone agreed that this was the most serious issue and that tackling fraud should be the top priority in a sound content moderation strategy.

And it makes sense. Fraud is a very visible issue within our industry and it can have some scary consequences in the form of PR backlash and user haemorrhaging.

With this in mind we ran another survey to get the users perspective. We wanted to see if they reasoned the same way as professionals. The full report has a lot of interesting insights into what users find important when judging the quality of a classifieds site.

One thing that became very apparent in the study was the importance of relevancy.

The ad that scored the lowest was the one we had crafted to mimic the irrelevant ads we see every day in moderation. Even the fraudulent ad and one containing obvious racism and nudity did not leave the user with as negative a perception of the site as the irrelevant ad.

After seeing it ¾ of respondents answered that they would not:

  • Put their own items up for sale on the site
  • Recommend the site to others
  • Return to the site in the future


From a user point of view, relevancy is as such the main concern. If you think about it, this isn’t really that surprising. Scams aren’t going to be on the top of someone’s mind when entering your site to buy or sell something. And you probably agree; that’s a good thing.

Obviously the result from our surveys doesn’t mean you should stop focusing on fraud. Scammy ads are dangerous both to users and site owners and if they became the norm for classifieds the whole industry would suffer.

The survey does however give you a pointer to where you can quickly address some low hanging fruits.

Grooming Your Content Strategy

As we all know, the market is different today than just a few years ago.

Facebook is knocking on the door with buy and sell groups already stealing your listings.

Their latest move is a call to action tab to join Sales Groups and it is just one example showing that Facebook is building what Richard Kramer from Arete Research calls a “digital empire”. They want to be entangled in every action, of everyone, every day. And they do it by conveniently offering relevancy right where we are spending a large chunk of our time .

Mobile is another game changer.

It is and has already disrupted the world of commerce. Studies have shown that with the mobile revolution human attention span has fallen from 12 to 8 seconds in just 15 years.

Consumers are getting more and more used to having relevant content at the right time in the right place. Users hate spending time on irrelevant content and they will ditch your site in a heartbeat to avoid it. There are so many other options out there.

So what can you do to ensure that the content you offer users is always relevant?

First up you can groom your site – Ensure that your moderation process is looking for and dealing with duplicates and missing/low quality pictures. With automation you can easily catch ads that lack content. This might already be part of your current process, but take a minute to see if you are really addressing all irrelevant ads and think about how you are dealing with them once they are identified. Are your moderation actions upping the overall relevancy score of your site?

Engaging users to ensure better relevancy can be part of the solution. You can educate users who post low quality ads by sending them an email informing them of the benefits of adding more details every time they post something.

Relevancy Is Context Dependent

But relevancy is not only about having ads containing enough content. It is also about having enough content on your site to ensure that users can find what they are looking for and ensuring that the content you have can be easily found through search and smooth navigation of categories.

To facilitate this, it is important to take a very close look at your categories. Are they relevant? Do both sellers and buyers understand what they are supposed to cover? Are people categorizing correctly? Your moderation process can be amended to include a categorization check, where moderators manually change incorrect categories or you can automate the process either through category suggestions on ad creation or by automatically re-categorize misplaced ads.

Relevancy is going to be key moving forward. If you can’t offer that, then why should people even consider closing down their Facebook app to look for stuff on your site?

Want to learn more?
Join the crowds who receive exclusive content moderation insights.