Craigslist Wipes Out HTML and Levels the Playing Field

by | Nov 12, 2013

Last week, Craigslist eliminated the use of most HTML in posts. This means:

• No more links to your website
• No more images in your post
• Tracking that relied on links or images won't work
• If you were using HTML ads or posting tools, you need to rewrite your ads.

Techies take note: TABLE, DIV, SPAN and CENTER tags are also disallowed.

So where do we go from here? Is all lost?

Not really. This is a good opportunity to rethink how you position your communities in Craigslist postings, fine tune your ads, and measure how Craigslist works for you.

First, ask why prospects rent from you. Perhaps you include free heat and hot water, allow large dogs, or have washers and dryers in each apartment. Maybe you have a great concession. These time, money, and stress-saving amenities grab people, and should be featured at the top of the ad. Leave your large closets, wall-to-wall carpeting and award-winning team for later.

Second, reevaluate your images. You’ll need to manually insert images in your ads. Now’s the time to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Are the photos compelling? Well-lit? Do they look like home?

Use what's still in your toolbox. Judiciously employ spacing, bold headings, and capitalized text to make important information stand out.

Finally, implement a new tracking system. Use a call tracking number in the body of your ad, and consider setting up a new landing page to track web visits (thanks to Mike Whaling for this idea). Set up a manual system to quickly audit and record how frequently your team is posting. While this is somewhat of a step backwards, the manual process lets you quickly see what the ads look like, something posting tools don't allow.

The good news is everyone is in the same boat. But with some strength, resilience, and ingenuity, we'll emerge stronger than before.

Ask us about the Respage text-based ad generator to help you with this process.