The Big Head and Long Tail of Craigslist

While it’s not usually included in the list of hot social media sites, make no mistake about it, Craigslist is most certainly a social site. One of the reasons marketing departments tend to shy away from Craigslist, however, is because users have the ability to cry spam on every single posting.

Honest, well-crafted ads by online retailers or international brick and mortar stores looking to advertise something special, however, can be met with great results.

One of the biggest advantages of Craigslist for businesses is its extended reach. No matter where you live in the world, there is likely to be a Craigslist that serves your area. As such, you gain not only unique geotargeting options, but you also get the “big head and the long tail” effect that has been a staple in search marketing for years; only in this case, it tends to be related to the geography rather than a the niche.

The Big Head of Craigslist
When you are looking for the maximum number of eyeballs in short period of time, placing ads in metropolitan areas like NYC and LA can certainly accomplish this. The challenge in posting ads in large cities, though, is that posts happen very frequently. As such, the ability for your ad to stay above the fold is diminished. With most ads, timing is everything. Advertising in a large city location on Craigslist is no exception. Make sure you have a good idea as to what time of day your primary target audience may be looking. This should increase your conversions.

The Long Tail of Craigslist
When you post in more rural locations, you capture fewer eyeballs right away. Since posting is slower in rural areas, however, the ability for your ad to stay visible and above the fold longer is greatly increased. If you are an online retailer with an offer that lasts an extended period of time, it may be to your advantage to craft some ads that aim to capture the long tail traffic available in rural areas.

While Craigslist is a social environment, the old rules of marketing still play a large role: know your audience, know your product/service, and find the most genuine way to bring them together. Craigslist can help you with the last one. Those other two are up to you.