With Auto Portal Watch founder and serial investor Simon Baker at the helm, over 250 attendees, among them 150 CEOs, 200 companies represented, from 75+ countries and 42 speakers are gathered at the first Global Online Classifieds Conference (GOC) ever, in Miami Beach, Florida.
Baker opened the conference stressing that the main reason the GOC is being held in the first place, is to bring together some of the smartest minds from around the world to meet, share, and stimulate ideas.
The three-day conference will explore themes around data, technology, AI and innovation, but today's session was particularly focused on data, mobile tech, and the importance of the traditional classifieds sector in embracing the digital world.
Tracking each and every bit of data online
The first speaker to officially start off the GOC was SimilarWeb’s Chief of Insight, Stephen Kraus, who opened with a classified ad from 1865 titled “Chance for a spinster.” Kraus compared the 19th century ad with current online classifieds, and pointed out that the concept was the same: present the desired outcome whilst highlighting one’s offerings in return.
SimilarWeb is able to track each app and every bit of data online, by pulling it from an array of different sources, as it crawls through 2.5 billion web pages, assessing the top searches by such companies as craigslist.org, avid.ru, leboncoin.fr, sahibinden.com to name just a few.
Kraus pointed out that classifieds’ traffic reflects weekly and seasonal trends, and that it is in this manner that companies are able to determine when people are visiting their website(s).
Craigslist was featured as an example; the classifieds giant receives 600 million monthly visits and it is the 40th largest website in the world and experiences most of its traffic in the U.S. SimilarWeb is able to determine which are Craigslist’s top pages, i.e. login, find your city and forums. It is also able to see what kind of sites people are coming to Craigslist, as well as the outgoing destinations. Kraus said that users no longer “funnel” onto a website, instead they do so in a “circular” fashion.
Dating online classifieds sector
The dating industry is yet another online classifieds sector that thrives in the digital world. Mark Brooks, CEO of the dating consultancy agency Courtland Brooks said that the main thing people seek in online dating is immediacy and that this is delivered via mobile apps. Monetisation is also quite possible because of the instance of ads which appear on the sites.
Brooks sees video as the future of online dating and says this medium has taken off with MeetMe, an app which connects potential suitors via video.
"Live video chat is changing consumer behaviour," Brooks said. "The way people are communicating is changing; it used to be voice, then text and in the future it will be images. Using a camera, telling stories and being more creative.”
Four steps for industry change in automotive
Webmotors' CEO Fernando Miranda steered the discussion away from trends and onto disruption, which he says is particularly ripe now in the digital age.
"Dealers don’t want to go online because they’ve been doing it face to face, they’re not comfortable," Miranda said. "Most customers start the journey online, they have to adapt - banks have evolved and this is leading to disruption; retail has evolved and Amazon is a result of this."
He says there are four steps to leading change in the automotive industry, which include,
•Changing ad model to lead models
•Helping dealers to better understand digital marketing
•Personalising the user experience
•Search, match, and data in the boating industry
Sam Fulton, the CEO of Boats.com had a fireside chat with Simon Baker where they discussed everything from the importance of keeping data in order to analyse an industr,y right through to the shared lessons across classifieds sectors.
Fulton said through working in the hotel industry he learned the importance of collecting data to be able to assist people in making informed choices. Although he says the marine industry isn't as close to matching consumers with boats as the travel industry is to matching travelers with hotels,' he says this will change in the future, as long as those in the boating arena keep collecting data.
Other speakers on day 1 included:
David Gonzalez Castro - Red Arbor
Javier Ortiz - Mitula Group
Roman Bach - James Edition
Mohamed Haouache - The Store Front
Don't miss day 2 of the Global Online Classifieds Summit.