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Sponsored Freelancer Search Ads Test

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
1 of 43

Today, clients will notice sponsored freelancers displaying at the top of freelancer search results. These freelancer ads are part of a new feature we are testing to understand how a “sponsored” freelancer profile placement in search impacts invites and hiring rates.

 

Currently, these ads we’re testing highlight freelancers who paid for the Freelancer Plus plan. Depending on the data from our test, we may consider offering this as a paid option to all freelancers, similar to what was offered on Elance.

 

How does it work?

 

When clients search for freelancers, the first three freelancers with a Plus plan that would have naturally appeared in those search results will also be highlighted at the top with a “sponsored” tag (see example below).  With one freelancer being featured atop of pages 1-3 of search results. Subsequent search result pages after page 3 will not display freelancer ads.


ATS SR page 1 ad 1.png

This test is not changing search results. Clients will still see the same results they do today when they search for freelancers. “Sponsored” profiles will just be highlighted at the top of the search result pages.

 

Let us know if you have any questions.

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Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
2 of 43

1) I didn't knew that 3 people with a Plus plan always appear on the top of proposals search results.

 

2) If Upwork wanted to push freelancers to take the Plus plan, this is exactly what they would have done.

 

3) Wait...

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
3 of 43

Hi Rene,

 

To clarify, this test is NOT about highlighting proposals but about highlighting profiles in search. With this test the first three freelancers with a Freelancer Plus membership who appear in search results are highlighted as “Sponsored." Also, this is a new test and this hasn't been done on Upwork before.

 

~ Valeria
Untitled
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
4 of 43

Valeria K wrote:

Hi Rene,

 

To clarify, this test is NOT about highlighting proposals but about highlighting profiles in search. With this test the first three freelancers with a Freelancer Plus membership who appear in search results are highlighted as “Sponsored. Also, this is a new test and this hasn't been done on Upwork before.

 


Thanks Valeria. I somehow totally missed this point. My concern about the wording remains, however.

 

 

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Baris A Member Since: Mar 15, 2017
5 of 43

When you offer this as a paid feature, will those paying for the feature appear on top of the search results instead of those now appearing naturally?

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
6 of 43

I understand what Upwork is doing here. They are testing the waters to see if they can replicate they way Elance freelancers could have their proposals featured so they stand out.

 

Back then, a freelancer could spend some extra connects to have their proposal featured. Featured meant being amongst these on the top of the list and they even had a distinctive background. Whether that worked or not, I don't know.

 

The issue I have with what Upwork is doing now is in the wording: sponsored

 

Man, this sounds just like what it is: a paid-for ad. I don't know, I never click on sponsored links on Google or on Amazon because I know that they are not the best fits, but results that have been paid for.

 

I'm afraid this may happen with the poor souls that have this sponsored label stuck on their proposals profiles.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 43

I don't like this at all.

Tacky.

 

I remember there being many good reasons why Upwork got rid of the "sponsored proposal" nonsense after scooping up the remains of Elance.

 

Shame.

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
8 of 43

René hit the nail on the head. Seriously, "sponsored"? Why not "skip me"?

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
9 of 43

Rene K wrote:

The issue I have with what Upwork is doing now is in the wording: sponsored

 

Man, this sounds just like what it is: a paid-for ad. I don't know, I never click on sponsored links on Google or on Amazon because I know that they are not the best fits, but results that have been paid for.


Yep, I usually ignore the "sponsored" results on Google as well, but I suspect that we're in the minority. It must work, otherwise nobody would be paying to be sponsored. 

 

If Upwork must do this, I would vastly prefer the word "Featured" rather than "Sponsored". I was considering upgrading to the "Plus" plan myself, but I think I'll hold off now.

Community Guru
Ela K Member Since: Feb 9, 2015
10 of 43

Oh dear - and the ones with the specialised profiles will never ever be noticed again. That feature got old real quick.

 

Until now, they were only losing out to regular profiles: due to not appearing on the first couple of pages, the low specialised earnings, low numbers of specialised jobs, the "highlighting" by way of adding a pale grey star & writing. 

 

Now you've added another layer of paid-for (sponsored) sparkle...

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