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Online Media Surpasses Print in 2012 – What It Means for REALTORS®

January 23 2012

We recently spotted an article on that boldly proclaimed that dollars spent on ads online would surpass dollars spent on print for the first time in 2012. You can read the Mashable article (based on a study from eMarketera study from eMarketer) herehere. We were intrigued and believe it has important implications for REALTORS®.

For what seems like a long time now, many of us have had our doubts about the return-on-investment of real estate ads in newspapers and other print media. After all, multiple studies have shown that the majority of homeowners begin their search online. Apparently this is a trend that is true across many industries, as you can see in the chart from Mashable below.

US print vs online

Why is this so? Today’s consumer is accustomed to the instant gratification of the Internet – information is free and mobile. Now, even those who enjoy newspapers and periodicals can read them on their tablets. But what about real estate? Just consider . . . the static, single-photo, often black-and-white images of print ads don’t hold a candle to the colorful, interactive, multi-photo ads that can be created online.

“But my sellers expect me to advertise in the newspaper!” We understand that many consumers are attached to the concept of print media. In some markets, they may be right. Clearly, knowing your local market is very important, but keeping up with national trends is as well. Rather than just doing the “same old” with your advertising, take a moment to review your strategy and see if it needs an update. Agents who ignore such glaring results are doing themselves and their sellers a disservice.

Nevertheless, some print media remains very effective in real estate. Companies like The Real Estate Book continue to deliver impressive results. If you’re interested in direct print marketing programs, you may want to consider one of the companies in our product directory.

For further reader, check out this article by Victor Lund of the WAV Group. In it, he discusses the growth of consumer engagement on mobile vs. print media.