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.”
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.