Gumtree aims to surpass Facebook and Google as UK’s biggest digital brand

Having undergone a ‘major’ rebrand today (7 January) that will see it launch a revamped logo, improvements to its listings service and a new brand identity, Gumtree says it is aiming to match Facebook and Google when it comes to UK user levels.

The listings service has persisted with the same logo since 2000 but has now scrapped it for a more minimalist green tree motif set to a darker background (pictured).

It is also launching 24-hour customer service support through its online channels, improved message notifications for users and will launch a new narrative TV campaign (developed by Fold7) from the 15 January.

Gumtree’s general manager Morten Heuing told Marketing Week: “The brand has been too functional, we have 15.3m customers monthly in the UK but they are only talking about how they use it and not necessarily connecting emotionally with us.

“We’re making major changes to our marketing as a result. Gumtree is a place that can help you get a job, find you a place to live, create an income for your family or pay for an holiday. We want to frame and conceptualise the life-changing opportunities that Gumtree can create for users in order to connect more emotionally with the UK audience.”

Heuing has major ambitions for Gumtree and insists it can become the UK’s number one digital brand. In particular, it is aiming to get every single adult who uses the internet in the UK to be an active Gumtree user by 2018.

He said it is “ambitious but realistic” to expect the eBay-owned Gumtree to persuade at least half the UK population to sign up within three years.

“It is obviously an ambitious target but if you look around similar markets such as the Nordics, classifieds have well north of 60% reach and 100% engagement – so they are matching and even surpassing the most successful digital brands,” he adds.

gumtree app
As part of the rebranding campaign by creative agency Koto, Gumtree has rolled out improvements to its mobile app

“Once we get to the point where we can battle with Facebook and Google to decide who is the best in the UK we will be very happy; we want to, and can, be part of that conversation. I’m not sure if we can reach every single adult in the UK but we will definitely reach huge numbers.”

A long way to go

However to “be part of the conversation” Gumtree still has a long way to go.

According to comScore’s most recent list of the top 20 biggest digital properties in the UK market, Google leads the way with 45.7m unique monthly users while second-place Facebook has just shy of 40m. Both still some distance ahead of Gumtree’s claims of 15.3m monthly users.

The ambition to become the UK’s number one digital brand is somewhat of a step change from last year, when Gumtree’s head of marketing Hannah Wilson told Marketing Week it would settle to be in the top ten most popular UK websites.

Last year, Gumtree upped its ad spend by 40% as it unveiled high-profile sponsorships with brands such as BT Sport.