Kijiji has made serious inroads in the Canadian market in the last few years. It has gone from being a small classified website that was overloaded with spam to an Ebay-owned subsidiary that generates over six million unique visits from Canadians every month. Impressive.
However, as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you are tracking the results of your advertising dollar to ensure that you are receiving the maximum return on investment (ROI) that you can. After all, if the ROI isn’t there then there’s no sense in advertising using that medium (unless you’re looking to raise awareness of your brand via creative advertising, such as the back cover of the phone book or a roadside billboard).
Wait… Isn’t Advertising on Kijiji Free?
The answer to this one is simple: yes and no.
Yes, the majority of the ads you see on Kijiji are free. These non-paid ads are the mainstay of Kijiji’s content base and the main reason why Kijiji is able to get its categories and listings indexed so well in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. However, to list your service on Kijiji with premium features (explained in a minute) can cost up to $55 a week per ad. I’ll elaborate in just a moment.
What Makes an Online Advertisement Effective?
Before we go any further it’s important that we talk about what makes an online advertisement effective. When you advertise online there are always a few things that you need to provide your potential customers, such as:
- All relevant contact information - Things such as your phone number, business address (if applicable), web address, etc.
- Immediate explanation of benefits provided - On the internet you only have a split second to interest a potential customer, so your advertising needs to provide a demonstration of the benefits offered as quickly as possible. Things such as video, photo galleries, and slideshows are great ways to do this.
- Targeting and qualification - If your advertisement isn’t reaching someone who’s qualified to see it (aka, someone who wants what you’re offering), the chances of that person converting into a lead (and then from a lead to a customer) are incredibly low.
These rules don’t just apply to online advertising. In fact, if you’ve been in business for a few years and have been advertising in print directories (such as the Yellow Pages), these rules are the same ones that your advertising consultant, assuming they were worth their weight, have been preaching for years.
Bringing It Back to Kijiji
Kijiji offers anyone the ability to post a free ad. The problem is that if the category they are posting in is a busy category their ad will disappear from the front page in a matter of hours. This is where Kijiji offers you the ability to purchase the $16.99 “Top Ad” option, thereby ensuring that you ad remains at the top of the category for 7 days. Then, if you want to catch some attention before your competition does, you can “highlight” your add for an additional $3.99. Not too shabby.
Now, let’s say you are an auto dealer and want to have your inventory visible ahead of everyone else. No problem, you can post an ad for each vehicle on Kijiji. Here is where they start to nickel and dime you: you can’t purchase one ad for your dealership and advertise each vehicle effectively. Instead you have to post an ad for each individual vehicle and purchase the up-sells for each ad.
Want to list six vehicles with top placement and a link back to your website? That’ll be $126 a week. Add an additional $29.99 per ad if you want to have it featured on the high-traffic front page. Not exactly expensive, but not free either.
Let’s Talk About Demographics
None of what I just said about Kijiji is bad. In fact, for a lot of businesses, Kijiji can be a great place to be found. However, what many business owners don’t consider is the other side of the equation. It’s not always about being found- it’s almost always about who you’re being found by.
What I mean by that is simply the type of people that are finding you.
Let’s compare two mediums. YellowPages.ca (Canada’s leading business directory website) is a comprehensive directory of just about every small business in Canada. Advertisers can purchase advertising on YellowPages.ca to showcase their wares, get found by people looking for them, and generally increase the number of people finding their business. Kijiji is a free classified websites, where people tend to go when they are looking to purchase something.
The difference is this: people only use a website like YellowPages.ca when they are looking to buy something. People who use a website like Kijiji are, more often than not, looking to score a sweet deal. Think about the times that you’ve used Kijiji- were you looking for a bargain for that TV stand you were hunting for, or were you browsing on Kijiji so you could pay the full retail price?
Know What and Who You Are Attracting to Your Business
Keep in mind that I’ve never once said that Kijiji isn’t a good place to advertise. In fact, I’ve said the opposite just a few paragraphs ago. What I am saying is that it’s important to always consider who you are trying to reach and what those people are looking for. As with any form of online advertising, targeting is key. Targeting your advertising to your exact target market will ensure maximum performance, the highest ROI possible, and no unnecessary dollars spent.
Kijiji, by virtue of the type of website that it is, tends to attract people looking for bargains or free items. This means that it may not be the ideal place to offer your web design or home cleaning services if you are hoping to get retail pricing for it.
Now, all of that being said, free advertising is free advertising. Like any advertising, it’s important that you try it for yourself to see how your results are. Just remember that Kijiji should never be your sole source of business.