Digital vs Traditional Advertising in Real Estate
Advertising plays a key role in the success of a real estate project. Ads work. Good advertising – well placed and well messaged, works better. But how do you know it’s successful and that too much or too little money is being spent? In the past, that question was a lot tougher to answer. There was no pinpoint analytic data that could show you how effective an ad run in a local paper was. In real estate, and in fact many other categories of business, advertising dollars were spent without a clear determination if those dollars actually resulted in a sale.
Online advertising has changed all that.
Now, with the ability to track data so accurately, we can see more clearly how our advertising is performing. So is this to say that all your advertising dollars should be switched out of the more traditional mediums like print, outdoor, and direct mail and into online advertising? Not so quick. While online advertising is becoming a bigger focus of most real estate advertising campaigns, there is more to consider when you design an effective advertising strategy.
Start with creative.
A boring ad, placed on-line, that says nothing new is still a boring ad that says nothing new. People respond to ads and products that stir emotion or rational contemplation. Once a good ad has planted that seed, it’s up to a well planned ad campaign to encourage it to grow, which means people have found relevance in an ad, see it again. A person may be triggered to act (register online, visit a PC, call a sales person, etc…) after they see the ad for the first time, or after the 10th time. It is still near impossible to tell at what moment a person decides to act.
The online data may draw a nice line from ad, to registration, to PC visit to contract, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Even if a campaign were to use online ads exclusively, it is hard to tell at what point the decision to act is made. Which brings us back to those old stalwarts of print, outdoor and direct mail. While not the belles of the ball they once were, these old girls still have relevance..
While we continue to spend more time online, the majority of our days are still spent in a less virtual world. We still drive with the radio on, take transit to work, read newspapers, watch tv, check the mailbox and many other non-online activities. Seeing a relevant ad away from our computer or mobile device can have a profound effect, both consciously and unconsciously. As any good salesperson will tell you, reassurance is an important part of a sale.
So go ahead, increase your online advertising spend, it’s a good idea. But remember, the old places still have a lot of eyes and ears tuned in. Just because they don’t give you the flashy data doesn’t mean the message isn’t being seen and heard. A good marketing team, together with a good media planner will be able to create a strong and flexible campaign that eliminates wasted spending while delivering favourable results.