In an atmosphere where dealers are rightfully searching for demonstrable ROI, it's our task to make sure they understand the numbers behind sites like Craigslist, eBay Motors, and posts on social media. We dive into the numbers constantly and if there's one unquestionable trend we've seen, it's that Craigslist results are better now than they've ever been.
Is the site getting more popular? Did many dealers stop using it when they started charging for the listings? Are consumers relying more on classifieds today than they have in the past?
The answer to all of these questions is, "yes." The site continues to grow. Despite its age and the way that the internet tends to like newer sites and services, Craigslist has remained in the upper echelon of sites like eBay, Amazon, and AutoTrader as maintaining strong numbers regardless of age.
When Craigslist started charging $5 per listing, many dealers left. For a while, its free listings meant that many companies were able to "spam" the listings sites. This completely reversed once they started charging for it. Those who have continued to take advantage of Craigslist are realizing that the "thinning of the herd" has allowed them to get much more exposure for each individual listing. More people searching plus fewer listings on the site means a greater chance. In a way, charging for listings has made Craigslist automotive classified listings more powerful than they've ever been.
The last piece of the puzzle, reliance on classified listings, is one of those trends that ebbs and flows. It goes up and it goes down. Today, we're definitely in an upswing. For the rest of 2015 and into 2016, we expect more customers to be flocking to the classified listings rather than going directly to manufacturer or dealer websites because of the state of the market. It's currently in that uncommon situation of being both a buyers' market as well as being a sellers' market.
These three trends combine to make Craigslist the best bet for true ROI in automotive sales. Dealers that "get it" are really starting to get it.