Get Smarter about Connecting Buyers & Sellers in Online Marketplaces

By Gil Sperling, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Flow

Get Smarter about Connecting Buyers & Sellers in Online Marketplaces
Get Smarter about Connecting Buyers & Sellers in Online Marketplaces. Image source: Unsplash

Connecting buyers and sellers in more effective, efficient and content-rich ways is a key focus in the online space at the moment, no matter the industry. Making use of rich data, retargeting audiences and working smarter to deliver a better user experience are the keys to success, across verticals. As a tech platform that’s already connecting buyers and sellers on social media, Flow is creating seamless solutions for this transformation.

We recently visited the Global Online Marketplaces Conference 2023 in Miami to talk about off-site social ads for portals, why they need it and how it unlocks more revenue for them. The Global Online Marketplace Summit (GOM) brings together C-Level leaders from online marketplaces around the world to discuss the key issues facing their businesses and solve problems and evolve existing ways of thinking. The amazing response showed us that we are ahead of the curve in many ways.

We fundamentally believe in collaborating with other businesses in these industries to further innovate, disrupt and revolutionise the future of marketplaces. From the Global Online Marketplace Summit in Miami, we returned with our top four insights.

AI-led search is set to revolutionise marketplaces

ChatGPT is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities of AI search engine integration, especially in the marketplace, where it can completely change the experience of how we shop online. Currently, if you use a search engine like Google, it will sort through millions of results in seconds, surfacing the top three that are most likely exactly what you’re looking for.

Developments in AI-led search seek to further enhance this experience for users. This could mean that soon, users will be able to input a specific image of what they’re searching for and receive product listings that relate to their query.

Davor Anicic from is at the forefront of these developments and during the GOM Summit, shed some light on how these advancements could be implemented in the property space. From auto-generated listing descriptions to AI valuation and dynamic pricing, these technological improvements will improve the user experience for both buyers and sellers.

AI or humans – who edits better?

Listings with great images are proven to perform far better than those that don’t, and the deciding factors can come down to little things like lighting and angles. Not only can AI overcome these shortcomings, but it is also much cheaper and quicker than outsourcing your editing to a photographer or editor who may take up to 12 hours to complete a job.

Another great implementation of AI is that it is able to generate content to auto-stage an image. For example, if a user is looking for a home suitable for a growing family via a portal, a photograph of an empty room might present as a toy room or games room to give prospective buyers a visualisation of how their lives could look in this otherwise empty home. This query-specific content generation is a massive game changer in the property industry.

Off-site social ads are in demand

From our own research and knowledge of the ad tech space, we know that our target audiences spend an average of 4 hours a day on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, whilst they may only spend an hour a month on portals looking for something that they want to buy. Marketplaces are looking for ways to increase traffic to their portals and present their products to audiences in the places where they spend the most time.

Currently, most agents use multiple platforms to manage their listing pages and social media ads, with limited visibility on how successful each may be. The reach of each listing is also limited by its place on the portal’s page. If portals were to integrate an offering, much like Flow’s, users would have the ability to create, manage and track their off-site ads through one portal, leading to increased product visibility across those platforms. The reach of a social media ad far surpasses that of a single listing, improving outcomes and opportunities for sellers. Best of all, these off-site ads could be automated, saving an agent or seller a lot of time and money.

We anticipate that the demand for this offering will increase, and soon become an expectation rather than a ‘nice to have’.


Jonathan Turpin from AIM group brought news of how technology is being employed to bridge the gap between consumer demand and the number of available agents, through “next-gen-lead-gen”, a business model where marketplaces and portals share a commission with agents on products that have been sold. This means that agents don’t have to do the legwork of finding listings and finding buyers, rather the portals take on this work for a fee.

This business model has gained traction in developing markets where a large percentage of the population is growing to ‘middle-class’ and the demand for housing is high. Although there are still some hindrances to this model such as delayed payment and the portal needing a very robust tracking system, these advancements are a peek into the future of how portals may evolve their operations in specific markets or specific niches.

Moving into other verticals

Using smart tools to connect agents, buyers and sellers and helping agents build their brands is proving successful in the property space – but the same tools can be applied to many other verticals. Our tech works in the property space because it’s such a fragmented industry – and it works equally well in similar verticals, like automotive and financial services.

The fact remains that people are researching and shopping online for everything they need, so it makes sense to target them there. They trust what they see on their curated social media feeds and if the ads they receive are laser-focused and relevant to what they’ve been looking for, the brands who are doing that will benefit from that trust.

They’ll boost sales, improve trust, build relationships and grow their audiences, no matter the industry.

By Gil Sperling, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Flow