Classified Advertising

Classified Advertising

A form of online and print advertising that appears under a particular category in a publication. Examples of classified online ads include advertisements in online publications for job openings, apartments, cars, and furniture, which help businesses and individuals reach local buyers.

Classified advertising began as a type of traditional marketing before the internet became popular. Individuals would post classified ads in local and national newspapers for everything from dating to pets and furniture. Now, classified advertising can take place online through popular publications, such as local newspapers.

There are many types of classified ads, including those for individuals who can put ads out when they’re looking for a job and companies who can put job listings in classified ads sections of a publication.

Additionally, you can sell almost anything using classified ads, making them a great solution for businesses and individuals. But what are classified ads, and is classified advertising right for your business? Keep reading to learn more.

What is classified advertising?

Online and print publications are one of many marketing channels businesses can use to increase their sales and profits.

Classified advertising is when businesses or individuals pay a publication to include an ad in their private section. These types of advertisements are displayed in online and print magazines and newspapers and allow almost anything to be published.

In general, classified advertisements are small ads that can be used by businesses and individuals to sell products and services. For example, landlords might use classified ads to attract potential tenants, while a maid service would use them to find potential customers. That said, they can also be used for product advertising.

Benefits and drawbacks of classified advertising

Classified advertising isn’t a new concept; many individuals still use it to help them find products and services in their area. For example, someone looking for their next apartment might look at a classified online ad to start doing their research. But, of course, like all types of marketing and advertising, classified advertising has pros and cons. Benefits of classified ads.


Benefits of classified advertisements

Classified advertisements have allowed individuals and businesses to advertise their products and services affordably and help them reach a wider audience. The benefits of classified advertisements include the following:

Low cost

Classified advertising is relatively low cost, especially compared to other types of traditional and digital marketing, such as billboard and digital ads.

Most businesses and individuals can afford to publish ads in their local papers. Buying classified ads is less expensive than other types of advertisements like print, television, radio, and billboard. In addition, some sites may even offer free classified advertising, saving businesses even more money.

Since classified ads usually don’t contain images, businesses won’t have to invest in graphic design or visual elements; instead, they only have to focus on writing the ad, which will only be a few words long.


Classified ads mostly benefit small local businesses, allowing them to target their marketing efforts geographically and only reach potential customers most likely to buy their products and services.

Many online classified services enable businesses to determine which locations they want to target to use demographics to find the right audience without spending more money.


Classified ads are reasonably simple to understand for businesses and individuals. Because there’s no need to hire a design or marketing agency to create an ad, companies can write their advertisements and pay for them to be placed in publications.

Classified ads are also easy for consumers since many people already use them to find everything from services to housing.


Drawbacks of classified advertisements

Classified ads can benefit small local businesses and individuals looking to sell products and services. However, there are a few downsides, which include the following:

Limited reach

A limited reach may be ideal for small, local businesses targeting particular customers in a certain location. However, this limited reach is not suitable for all businesses.

Compared to other marketing strategies, such as SEO and social media marketing, classified advertising is limited in how many people a business can reach. Even if you create a classified online ad, its reach is limited by the publication’s readership.

Length of availability

Your ad’s lifespan will depend on where you post it. However, when buying classified ads or other media space, your ad will only be shown for a limited time unless you continue to purchase advertisements with the publication.

If you choose traditional print newspapers, your class will only be available until the next edition comes out. Since classifieds have a shorter lifespan than other forms of traditional and online advertising, they might not increase your sales unless you purchase more of them.

No targeting

Since classifieds have limited reach, you can’t effectively target your audience. Unlike digital advertising methods like ad retargeting and traditional marketing tactics like postcards, you can’t decide who will receive your marketing message.

Without targeting, you’re using more of a shotgun approach, which means you may be paying to reach individuals who aren’t interested in your products or services.

10 common types of classified advertising

There are several types of classified advertisements, and your choice will depend on the product or service you’re selling.

Remember, publications have dedicated classified sections, and your ad will be categorized depending on your target audience and which category your ad falls under.

Here are the types of classified ads:

1. Employment & Recruitment

Many classified ads are for individuals looking for jobs or businesses looking to fill open positions.

Anyone can post a job classified ad. For example, if you’re a writer looking for work or a marketing agency looking for a writer, you can post a classified ad through an online or print publication.

Recruitment advertisements are among the most popular types of classified ads designed to attract applicants. They may include a short blurb about the job duties and requirements and a phone number or email for prospects to contact them.

2. Housing & property

Another popular type of classified advertising is property and housing. These are effective for selling and renting properties like houses and apartments. In addition, landlords and property brokers may purchase classified ads to attract prospective tenants and clients.

3. Marriage

Classified ads aren’t just for businesses and individuals selling products and services; they can also be used to make public announcements. For example, matrimonial ads are marriage announcements couples or family members can make that display an image of the bride and groom to celebrate their upcoming nuptials.

4. Obituary

Obituaries are a type of classified advertisement families can write and submit to local publications. They can also submit a death notice. These types of classifieds typically honor the person and provide public information, like where the funeral service will be held or let the public attend.

5. Legal & public notices

Legal classifieds are typically public notices regarding certain legal proceedings. They’re typically issued by a government agency and can include everything from foreclosures and unclaimed property to community information.

6. For-sale

For-sale classified ads are another type of common newspaper ad because they’re affordable and allow businesses and individuals to create public advertisements to sell products like furniture. For-sale ads allow anyone to sell just about anything, but they’re most popular for small businesses and individuals looking to get rid of unwanted personal belongings.

7. Vehicles

Vehicles are technically a for-sale classified advertisement, but some publications may separate them from the rest of the products for sale. With a vehicle classified ad, anyone selling a car can attract prospective buyers, including car dealerships and individuals selling their automobiles.

8. Pets

Some publications have a Pets section of the classifieds in which businesses and individuals can sell animals and animal-related products and services. This might include businesses selling pets and pet products or individuals looking to rehome their pets.

9. Garage sale

Garage sale classified ads announce a garage sale within a local community placed by individuals selling their personal belongings. These ads aren’t typically for businesses, but you may see “going out of business” sales in classifieds.

10. Business & services

Businesses & services is one of the most popular classified ad categories for businesses because it covers a wide range of companies and service types. All businesses can advertise here, including local cleaning businesses, auto repair shops, and marketing services. In addition, any local service can be advertised, including those where individuals offer their services.

Tips for writing a classified ad

Classified advertising can help businesses of all sizes attract customers, tenants, and employees.

Whether you’re trying to attract local customers or fill a vacancy in a rental, you can use a classified ad to spread the word about your business. All classified ads contain a few lines of text, so learning how to write effective copy is crucial to help your ad stand out and make readers take action.

Here are a few tips to help you write a classified ad:

Know your target audience

When writing a classified ad, you should know who you’re trying to reach. The audience varies depending on the type of business you operate and the products or services you’re selling. For example, if you’re trying to sell a car, your audience will be individuals looking to buy a new or used vehicle in your local area.

When writing your advertisement, consider your target audience and their individual needs. In the example above, a car dealership might create an ad for individuals looking to buy any vehicle. However, suppose an individual is trying to sell a used car. In that case, they should write ad copy that targets other individuals looking for a used vehicle and provide information about the car.

Choose the right media type

Many online classified ads services allow you to choose the right publication to reach your audience and attract more prospects. You can purchase media space from free local newspapers and magazines, paid, subscription-based publications, and weekly shoppers distributed among certain communities.

When choosing an online classified ads service, you should determine which categories are suitable for your particular ad and ensure you target them by location, especially if you own a local business.

Study existing ads

Grab your favorite publications and look at the classified ads to find examples you can use to help create your ad.

Of course, you shouldn’t take anyone else’s words or images, but you can use them to determine which ads are most effective, such as those that provide benefits of products and services or words they use to entice readers to take action.

Consider your headline

The first few words of a classified ad are the most important because they tell readers what you’re selling and can capture their attention.

Remember, your ad is just one of many on the same page, whether online or print, so it must stand out from the crowd. Always use impactful words that make a reader stop scanning the page to read your advertisement.

Keep it short

Short classifieds means your ad takes up less space on a page and can get lost in the crowd. However, keeping your ad brief is crucial for attracting buyers because it tells them what they need to know in as few words as possible. Therefore, your ad should always describe what you’re selling and why someone should buy it. Of course, you should also include enough space for contact information, such as an email address, website, or phone number.

Try several publications

Ultimately, you won’t know if your classified ad is effective unless you test it in several publications. By testing your ad, you can determine where your prospects are coming from and choose to spend more on advertising in that particular publication instead of wasting money somewhere else.

Unfortunately, the only way to know which publications are best for you is to try the most popular in your area and online and measure the results.


Always proofread your classified ads. Typos, grammatical errors, and misspelled words can make your ad look unprofessional, resulting in fewer potential customers overall.

How to write a classified ad

Now that you understand the best practices for writing a classified ad, you can follow these steps to ensure your next one is a success:

1. Write a headline

Remember, the first few words of a classified ad are the most important because they have to grab the reader’s attention. Your headline should be concise, telling readers what you’re selling and why they should buy it. Consider the product’s or service’s benefits and create a headline that can capture the reader’s attention.

2. Write your sales message

Once you’ve written your headline, you can write the body of your classified ad. The ad body is the sales message that will entice readers to take action and purchase your product and service. You should include information like the benefits and offers. For example, if you’re a chiropractor, you might discuss a limited-time offer for new clients.

3. Include a call to action

Every classified ad needs a call to action (CTA) that tells readers what to do if they’re interested in purchasing your product or service. Your CTA could be anything from “visit our website” to “call us” and make it easy for readers to take action by including contact information or a website URL.

The most effective CTA for your classified ad will depend on your audience and what you want them to do. For example, an individual selling a used car may ask readers to call them on their phone for more information. Meanwhile, a business selling a product or service may ask readers to visit its website for more information, book an appointment, or purchase a product.

4. Revise for length

Depending on the publication, you might be limited by character or word count. If your classified ad has a particular length limit, revise your headline, sales message, and CTA to fit the desired word count and cut superfluous information. You can also abbreviate where it makes sense to reduce your word and character count. Of course, when abbreviating, only use common abbreviations that most people, especially your target audience, will understand.

Print or online, always include a CTA

Print and online classified ads are a cost-effective way to reach more potential clients and customers to grow your business. However, you should always do your research to find the best media outlets and publications when buying ad space.

Likewise, when writing copy, always try to capture the reader’s attention and measure the results of each of your advertising campaigns to ensure you’re using the right types of ads to attract customers.

As with any advertisement, your classified ad should always have a CTA that encourages readers to take action. With online classified ads, you can send users right to your website, making it easy for them to learn more about your product and service offerings.

Mailchimp makes creating a professional business website easy to make your classified ads more effective and measure the results to ensure you’re spending your marketing budget wisely. Try Mailchimp today.

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