Local Realtors Buy Print — Reluctantly

Peter Zollman’s research firm Classified Intelligence just conducted an in-depth survey of realtors about their advertising spending and attitudes toward print and online media. The findings are reported in some depth in this article. Here are some of the highlights:

Realtor newspaper advertising

  • 36% of surveyed realtors spent 10% or less of their total budgets in their local newspapers. 19% spent less than 20% of their total budgets on newspaper print ads. And 17% didn’t advertise at all in print newspapers
  • 52% of survey respondents reported promoting their services on free classified sites such as Craigslist (67%) Google Base (45%) and MSN/Windows Live Expo (33%)
  • 61% of respondents said the weren’t spending any marketing dollars on newspaper websites

Realtor ad budgets

  • 58% of agents surveyed said they were spending more on advertising in 2006 than in 2005, while 34% were spending about the same and only 8% said they were spending less
  • The majority of realtors were spending $1,000 to $10,000 annually on advertising: yard signs, billboards, flyers, print, the Internet and websites
  • 33% said they spend more than $10,000, while 26% spend between $5,000 and $10,000; 33% spent between $1,000 and $5,000 and 9% spent less than $1,000

Most spending on websites

According to the survey findings, 67% of realtors spent up to 30% of their ad budgets on maintaining their websites.

Local search lags

Only 26% of realtors spent anything on local PPC. 58% reported spending nothing on local search advertising (one question is how is that defined in the survey?). This finding appears to contradict earlier Borrell findings that local realtors were some of the most aggressive of local search advertisers. (The findings may not in fact be contradictory but it’s hard to tell at this level.)

Classified Intelligence’s Jim Townsend reported, according to the article, that “realtors are spending more money on advertising, but they’re not particularly satisfied with any advertising options.”

Marketing ‘purgatory’

Townsend’s remark is a perfect statement of the “purgatory” that now grips the local market. Local businesses cannot abandon expensive traditional media – because they’re still working but also because the alternative is a kind of confusing mess. The same situation confronts print yellow pages advertisers. Indeed, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that many local advertisers are eager to find alternatives to print yellow pages. But it still works and clear, easy-to-adopt alternatives have yet to emerge.

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9 Responses to “Local Realtors Buy Print — Reluctantly”

  1. Redfin and ‘Disruption’ in the RE Industry « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Related: Results of a Classified Intelligence survey of local realtors’ marketing attitudes and behaviors. [...]

  2. Trulia Upgrades, Adds Features and Data « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Also, a recent Classified Intelligence survey of local realtors found that there’s newspaper vulnerability in the real estate sector, which has performed well for them in print over the past few years. [...]

  3. Resentment for Newspapers, Yellow Pages « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] I do know this feeling among small businesses exists but the real question is: how widespread is it? Peter Zollman’s research with realtors is suggestive of it in the newspaper arena. I also heard this privately from a couple of newspaper execs. I recently spoke to. In addition, anecdotal interviews I was involved with while at The Kelsey Group also suggested this among select yellow pages advertisers. [...]

  4. Real Estate Market Snapshot « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Classified Intelligence reported earlier that, among local realtors, there’s reluctance to advertise in local newspapers: 36% spent 10% or less of their total budgets in their local newspapers, 19% spent less than 20% of their total budgets on newspaper print ads. And 17% didn’t advertise at all in print newspapers. [...]

  5. Zillow Adds Free Listings, Other Features « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Related: Peter Zollman’s Classified Intelligence did a study earlier this year that showed newspapers real-estate classifieds, worth approximately $4.6 in 2005,  were vulnerable to erosion. [...]

  6. I love real estate investing Says:

    That’s some interesting statistics, thanks for sharing. But from my oberservation, I can say that more and more realtors are spending more dollars on Internet marketing.

  7. GMG360 » Blog Archive » Real Estate Pro’s And Their Dollars Shifting To The Internet Says:

    [...] late 2006 newspaper analyst firm Classified Intelligence conducted an in-depth survey of realtors about their advertising spending and attitudes toward print and online media. Among the findings of [...]

  8. Zillow Comes Out of Beta « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] behind only auto dealers. Last year, Peter Zollman’s Classified Intelligence presented a mixed picture of local realtor online advertising. Inman News offered some data that supported the trend toward [...]

  9. James Says:

    Maybe they were saving their money for this recession happening now.

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