Real estate agents rate social media sites tops for marketing

Citi analysts bullish on Zillow

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Real estate professionals consider Facebook and other social media sites to be the best online marketing tools at their disposal, rating them as more valuable than search-based campaigns and advertisements on Trulia, Zillow and other real estate portals, according to a survey conducted by Citi Investment Research and Analysis.

Asked to rank online marketing sites they use on a scale of one to five, with five being the most valuable, agents surveyed by Citi ranked Facebook and other social media sites as tops, with a score of 3.09.

Trulia’s agent ads ranked second with a score of 2.93, followed by Zillow’s Premier Agent (2.74), and Yahoo Real Estate (2.63). Rounding out the field were HouseValues.com (2.23), Move Inc.’s Top Producer (2.12) and AOL Real Estate (2.1).

With a score of 2.76, agents rated search-based marketing campaigns intended to generate traffic to their own sites as more valuable than any third-party real estate portal except Trulia — which is not to say that the big real estate portals won’t continue to boost ad sales to real estate agents.

The Citi survey — part of a bullish, 43-page report on Zillow projecting 100 percent revenue growth for the company this year — revealed that 62 percent of real estate agents spend at least some of their marketing budgets online, and that one-third plan to increase their online ad spending in the next 12 months.