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A Guide to Paid Online Marketing, Part II

October 08 2013

In September, we posed some questions to consider when exploring online advertising opportunities. This month, we are continuing our guide to help brokers and agents navigate the world of online marketing.

According to the latest research from Borrell Associates Inc., real estate advertising is projected to be $27.2 billion in 2013, a 9.4 percent increase from 2012's estimate. Nearly three-quarters of those ad dollars ($8.9 billion) will be spent on online ads.

listhub guide online mrktg 2

Last month we also surveyed brokers, agents, and marketing managers to learn more about their online marketing strategy.

Here is what we learned:

  • 85% of respondents are currently enhancing their listings on consumer search sites like Zillow, Trulia, and realtor.com®
  • On average, respondents are spending about $8,000 each year on online advertising
  • 57% of respondents said they plan to spend the same amount on online advertising in 2014, while 28% plan to spend more

So what else do you need to know before deciding where to enhance your listings?

4. What is your lead volume and lead conversion rate?

"Great news! This month ABChomes.com had 5 million unique visitors and 10 million page views." But what does that mean for your listings? And how does a visitor or page view translate into a transaction?

The metrics that real estate professionals need to be asking about is around lead generation: How many MORE leads will be generated as a result of your paid advertising? Most websites should be able to provide an approximation, and then you can use the ListHub marketing reports to measure the results.

It's wonderful if 2,000 people view your listing, but not if they are not inquiring about it! Let's face it, the name of the game is conversion. You are posting your listings online because you know that 90% of consumers start their search there, and you want them to find your listing and contact you to help find their dream home!

More About Metrics...

As an online metrics provider, we love data! The ListHub Reports provide the most comprehensive online marketing metrics in the industry including the number of property views, visits (or click-throughs), and leads generated for their entire listing inventory from dozens of top publisher websites. With some simple math you can compare the projected lead volume that will be generated as a result of your paid advertising and divide it by the number of detailed page views you are currently receiving from the website by using your ListHub Reports (lead conversion = inquiries/page views).

One important distinction between ListHub's Reports and the reports provided by the publisher sites is that each website has a different standard for measuring traffic. While the terms (clicks, visits, page views) may be similar, there are variations which make it hard to compare traffic and leads from one site to another. For example, some sites might count a "view" as when a consumer visits the detailed property page on their site, while others might also include the search results pages as a "view" as well, which will greatly skew the numbers in their favor. ListHub has simplified this by normalizing all of the traffic metrics so you have an apples-to-apples comparison. Watch our short video overview of views, visits, and leadsvideo overview of views, visits, and leads on the ListHub Reports to better understand the traffic metrics ListHub provides.

5. Ask your current and past clients..."how did you find my listings?"

This might seem obvious, but often times we overlook the obvious when we are making important business decisions. There are a whole bunch of folks who found your listings online, including your past and present clients, so check with them to see where they found your listings. In some cases, you won't know unless you ask. In fact, you might even be surprised by the answer.

6. What additional exposure will my listings receive, if any?

It can be hard to keep up with the hundreds of real estate search sites available to consumers today, and with companies merging it can be even harder. At ListHub, we work with 115 national publisher websites which power a network of more than 800 real estate search websites! So how exactly does that math work?

Many of the publishers in the ListHub network "power" other real estate search websites, meaning that the listing data that is sent to the publisher website is also displayed on the sites that are powered-by the main publisher (if you are wondering what "powered-by" means we explain it in more detail herehere). For example, The Zillow Real Estate Network includes Yahoo! Homes, HotPads, StreetEasy, HGTV's FrontDoor and more than 100 local newspaper websites. If you are paying for enhancements on Zillow (or any site), ask what other websites your listings may be enhanced on.

In another example, if you enhance your listings on realtor.com®, you will benefit from added exposure from AOL Real Estate and MSN real estate. It is one of the benefits of the powerful network of real estate search websites available – more exposure, in more places!

The next time you are on the phone with a sales rep who is trying to sell you online advertising keep this guide handy, ask the 'tough questions' and make sure you are getting the most out of your online marketing!