New Inman Real Estate Report

I got a copy of the new Inman real estate report: The State of Real Estate Marketing. It’s based on findings from an online survey, which had a total of 770 respondents. Accordingly, it’s not entirely representative of the US realtor population but it’s very detailed and interesting.

Real estate is an especially interesting local vertical because realtors are often more proactive about marketing than other local businesses and it’s one of the high value classified segments that newspapers have historically dominated. Here are verbatim excerpts representing some of the top-level findings in the report:

Forty percent of respondents said they planned to spend $1,000 to $5,000 on this category (online marketing) in the next year. Approximately 20% planned to spend less than $1,000, and 18% planned to spend more than $10,000.

Search the most popular online ad category:

The most popular category of online advertising was search engine keywords, which 52% of respondents said they planned to buy in the next year. Featured listing ads ran a close second with 48% planned buys. Search engine optimization (SEO) services were a priority as well with 42% planned buys. Dollar amounts budgeted for keyword advertising in the next year ranged from zero to more than $5,000.

Within the online-spend category, search-engine keyword advertising, SEO services and featured listing ads on real estate Web sites trumped both banner advertising and a miscellaneous “Other” category. Almost 52% of respondents said they planned to spend money on keywords; nearly 48% planned to buy featured listing ads, and more than 42% planned to utilize SEO services. Only 19% intended to make use of banner ads. (Percentages total more than 100 due to multiple responses permitted by the survey.)

Approximately 64% of respondents said they planned to spend at least some money on keyword advertising in the next year. Half of these keyword buyers identified themselves as real estate agents, 23% said they were real estate brokers and 11% were broker/agents. The others included some marketing consultants and mortgage brokers.

Almost 38% of respondents who planned to buy keywords had less than five years’ experience in real estate. Some 30% had 5-15 years’ experience and 28% had more than 15 years’ experience. Those figures suggest keyword buyers are slightly more likely to be newcomers to the business.

More than 300 respondents answered a write-in question that asked: “What keywords will you focus on?” By far the most frequent responses were “real estate” or words related to specific locations such as the names of cities, towns or neighborhoods. Properties types such as “foreclosures,” “town homes,” “waterfront,” “commercial” or “equestrian properties” were also mentioned as were “retirement,” “boomer,” “luxury” and “discount” in conjunction with “real estate.”

Experimental online marketing:

Early adopters have experimented with both Web logs (“blogs”) and social networking Web sites. Nearly 22% of respondents said they had a blog while an additional 30% said they planned to create one this year. Approximately 31% reported that they’d used one or more social networking Web sites to advertise their services.

Print ads not dead:

Print advertising doesn’t appear dead. Only 5% of respondents had no budget for print, though 29% planned to spend less than $1,000 and 38% planned to spend $1,000 to $5,000 on this category in the next year. Fewer than 20% of respondents said they employ a full-time or part-time Internet marketing specialist. The other 80% rely on their own initiative, a brokerage company or service provider, or family members.

20 Responses to “New Inman Real Estate Report”

  1. Gids Says:

    Very interesting post Greg – thank you.

  2. Vernon Says:


    I must say those are some very interesting numbers.

    Considering all the mystery in the SEO/PPC world, had any of the respondents considered using print advertising to drive website traffic?

  3. Greg Sterling Says:

    Not sure. But it’s a good idea. Most of those agents aren’t going to be that sophisticated.

  4. Easylistings Blog » Blog Archive » Inman’s Report on State of Online Marketing in Real Estate Says:

    […] to Greg Sterling’s Post on this info This entry was posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007 at 2:38 pm and is filed under […]

  5. HomeThinking Prediction Markets « Screenwerk Says:

    […] a range of interesting discussions about local realtors and their marketing practices. The recent Inman real estate report found that paid search was the most popular form of online marketing for real estate professionals. […]

  6. Dimitri Says:

    We’re all for pay per click advertising to tap into our market overseas. Print advertising? Costly if targeted and then is still a pretty general demographic. I’m sticking with adwords.

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  7. Boca Raton Real Estate Says:

    Interesting numbers. Online advertising seems to be the way to advertise though

  8. Borino - Expired Plus Says:

    Interesting info… the question remains, can on-line advertising produce solid stream of LISTING leads? I have yet to see a proof.

  9. Carl Ringwall Says:

    How many agents put their phone number in their PPC ads? We have found this works well.

  10. Zillow Comes Out of Beta « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Classified Intelligence presented a mixed picture of local realtor online advertising. Inman News offered some data that supported the trend toward online but had some different […]

  11. Rick Vidallon Says:

    REAL ESTATE advertising — now that’s a subject that bakes my biscuits
    Large directories like, Trulia and other’s have an unfair advantage over organic results. How can a little guy in Virginia Beach with a 20 page website complete with a directory containing +3000 listings for Virginia Beach.

    I am waiting for the day when a new search engine innovator will display directories separately, much the same way they handle, video images and so on…

  12. Greg Says:


    Get with a company that knows what they are doing and that can show you proof of performance on related real estate searches.

    You don’t have to be a Zillow to see organic results. Let me know if you are interested in chatting.

    Thanks, Greg

  13. Real Estate Investor Says:

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  14. International Real Estate Says:

    Excellent post , thanks for sharing

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  16. The e Crucials Says:

    The e Crucials…

    This is great, original thinking Jenn. I’ ve not really considered the nuances in search marketing across generational spans before. I’ ve always seen it as being more in the realms of the traditional methods of advertising and marketing (who, inci…

  17. Small Business Key to the SEO Industry | SEarch Marketing Common Sense Says:

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  19. Jim of Sun City Says:

    This is interesting topic. I can also see that online marketing really works but we also have to work offline if we want favorable results.

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