Why The Internet Has Not Killed Print Advertising

By Craig Lowe


Seven or eight years ago I would have told you that the internet was going to kill real estate print advertising. Fast forward to now, and one thing I am certain of is that print advertising remains essential to generating the best possible sale price and a timely result when selling your home.

So why hasn’t the internet killed real estate print advertising? Advertising property on the internet generates a lot of enquiry. The internet is also much cheaper than print advertising. But internet advertising is not without disadvantages. For instance, because the internet carries the entire country’s housing stock (including homes that have been on the market for years) a buyer usually has to be quite specific about what they are looking for in their search criteria to even find your home listed online. On Trademe, buyers can have the latest listings for specific suburbs sent to their inbox every day, and this is great, but not every buyer uses this function. Another issue is that buyers are not always suburb specific. Especially in Wellington where most suburbs are fairly close to the city, getting the right house, and not the specific suburb, is often more important to a buyer. There are several important ways to help you maximise your online exposure, but not every buyer will find your home if you only display it on the internet. Even when buyers come across the same property advertised in several places it is not a waste; like any marketing effort it can take several ‘sightings’ to prompt someone to take action.

On average, the Saturday Dominion Post has 234,700 readers every week with 12,600 of them active in the Wellington real estate market. The property section displays local listings that are generally new to the market. Many buyers use the Saturday morning paper to decide which open homes they want to visit and it takes very little energy to browse the pictures and decide to read further if they like the look of something – rather than sitting in front of a computer putting data in to narrow their search. This allows the vendor the luxury of letting the photography attract buyer attention rather than hoping buyers will enter the right variables to bring it up on screen. Sometimes we sell properties to people not even thinking of moving, who notice an advertisement in the paper. I suspect many people simply find it enjoyable to relax and browse the property section in the paper, either at home or over a flat white at a café.

One real estate commentator recently stated, incorrectly, that real estate agencies are the only ones who benefit from print advertising by increasing their company profile. Aside from being cynical, this is a self defeating argument. If enough ‘eyeballs’ are viewing the advertising to boost the profile of the companies selling the houses then the houses being advertised also benefit from all those ‘eyeballs’. Indeed, the more properties that are advertised in the newspaper the more useful it becomes to buyers, sellers, and agencies. In economics this is known as a network effect.

The vast majority of home sellers understand the need to advertise broadly, but occasionally someone lacks the budget for print advertising and we end up using the internet only. Consequently, this is when we experience our lowest levels of buyer enquiry. Unlike selling a lawn mower or a widget, one or two extra buyers can translate into literally tens of thousands of dollars more on your sale price. Marketing real estate effectively is therefore a numbers game. More buyer activity translates into more competition and higher prices. That is an indisputable fact.

House prices involve enormous numbers and it makes no sense to leave ‘stones unturned’ in the pursuit of a competitive sale. The most effective marketing campaign includes both print and internet advertising. For a free appraisal of your homes current market value, call me anytime on 021-764-647.


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