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 Understanding Craigslist Results
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Sun, Aug 26th, 2007 5:57 pm

Let me expound on what I do with Craigslist, as it looks like I hit a nerve based on the comments section of a few other postings on the subject...  (Editor's Note: The Comments were lost when we moved blog platforms, sorry.)

I've been using Craiglist heavy for the past year and I've been researching the 1-800 Number (IVR) call patterns as well as tracking how many viewings each ad gets.

How do I track the viewings, you ask?  Each posting pulls images off of my webserver to complete the HTML template I use.  By making one image unique to each post, all you have to do is see how many hits that image file has to track how many time the page has been viewed.

From my experiences, Craigslist ads are only good for generating phone calls for the first two days they're posted.  Once they've been pushed down the list a few hundred postings very few people are looking at them.  It's like having your ad in Tuesday morning's paper when it's Friday- the only one looking at it is the bird whose cage it's lining.

However, every market is different when it comes to Craigslist because it's more popular in some areas than others.  I didn't really see them take off here in St. Louis until last year.  (And seriously, with all the IDX options I don't even understand why people use Craigslist at all, but for some reason they do).

Bottom line, having your ads on page 4 or 5 seems to be the death of the ads here (and ads on page 3 slow up phone calls quite a bit), so if you don't get pushed down that quickly you might be able to go longer before you need to delete and repost.  For example, I also post to a competitor of Craigslist called Backpage but I only repost there every few weeks because there are less people posting so the ads stay fresh longer.

As far as Craigslist's popularity is concerned, I think how popular their website is depends on local competition (a strong newspaper with online classifieds can hold its own for example) as well as how long Craigslist has been in your market.  Until it gets enough content, no one will go there.  Kijiji, for example, (eBay's entry into Classified sites) is still a joke in our market (Side Note: eBay also owns 25% of Craigslist).

In St. Louis, Backpage has teamed up with the secondary "hip" newspaper in our city and I think it took a while for Craigslist to catch on over them- but they still hold the distant #2 spot.  Originally I saw them as near equals but today Craigslist will generate 4-5 times the call volume (basically, Craigslist has grown and Backpage hasn't).

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in tech sales which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director. In 2011, he launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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