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Real Estate Advertising: Newspapers Versus the Internet

shutterstock_393521056In the age of digital marketing, you may be doing yourself a disservice to advertise in the newspaper. Less and less consumers are looking to print advertising, to find their next home.

In fact, a study by the National Association of Realtors found that more than 90% of home buyers begin their search online. Even if you think you’re covering your bases by listing in both, chances are you are spending more than you need to on real estate advertising.

A Dying Medium

With the enormous popularity of the internet in the last 20 years, the future of newspapers is looking grim. Most major publications have taken to promoting paid online subscriptions to keep their businesses alive. Ironically, people are now reading their newspapers online, more than in actual print.

Although the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal may survive, local publications are sure to become extinct. This causes a major problem for real estate agents, as many prefer smaller newspapers for cost and community purposes. Agents use local papers to stay local, but many are finding innovative ways to do so online as well.

Marketing Trends

A decade ago, only an average of 11% of advertising funds were allocated towards online marketing. By 2010 the number had increased exponentially to 64%, and today, the numbers are even higher.

Real estate marketing and industry analysts, BIA/Kelsey predict online marketing to make huge gains from now, until 2017; with the majority of ad dollars being spent on digital media and copy. Their current data clearly reflects this trend:

  • Real Estate Advertising Budgets
    Online 40.8%
    Mobile 12.6%
    T.V./Cable 11.6%
    Direct Mail 7.9%
    Newspaper 6.9%
    Radio 4.3%
    Misc 15.9%


Advertising online isn’t just about visibility, but functionality too. National listing aggregators, like Trulia and Zillow are able to find the most minute details of a buyer’s needs, and deliver the listings accordingly.

These companies have employed diligent search engines, with specialized metrics, that a set of eyes simply cannot compete with. In other words, the chances of a buyer skimming over your listing in a newspaper are much greater, than that of online.

In addition, you can also track the behavior of buyers easily in a virtual environment. Online, a listing broker can quantify consumer engagement by tracking website impressions known as “click-throughs.” The only means of knowing if a buyer saw your ad in a newspaper, is if they mention it to you; and tracking those metrics is virtually impossible.

Other Tools

Although digital advertising scores the advantage, there are still necessary measures to take to ensure your listing is seen. Hiring a professional “Search Engine Optimization” SEO expert, can guarantee top visibility and position for your ad in a buyer’s search.

Social media and mobility are other avenues to explore, once you have your digital feet wet. By creating an online community around your listing, and making the information available on-the-go, you will always be ahead of the game when it comes to modern real estate marketing.