Google, Facebook, Zillow, Trulia, When it comes to managing an advertising budget as a broker or agent, don’t forget the old-school outlets like newspapers, magazines, billboards, TV, radio, (hot air balloons), even bus benches.

That’s according to Gordon Borrell, CEO of the advertising research firm Borrell Associates Inc., who has data that shows U.S. brokers and agents spent more than 70 percent of their $11.7 billion ad budgets in online advertising in 2012. In 2010, brokers and agents spent about 60 percent of their ad budgets on online advertising, Borrell said.

“Brokers and agents are overspending on digital,” Borrell said.


Gordon Borrell

Among all real estate players — developers, mortgage providers and rental property firms — real estate agents and brokers have nearly doubled their proportional spend in online advertising from 2010 to 2012. In 2010, brokers and agents accounted for 39.8 percent of real estate’s $19.6 billion online ad spend. In 2012, that percentage rose to 61 percent of the sector’s $19.2 billion online ad buy.

“Agents have forgotten the need to brand,” Borrell said.

“They seem to have grasped the Internet and social media, but traditional media does a good job in branding brokerage firms,” he said.

Digital marketing helps a broker or agent sell, Borrell said. But to build a name, traditional outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio and TV are good choices, he said.

This shift in real estate brokers and agents’ online ad spending has fueled Trulia, Zillow, and’s growth in local markets in 2012, according to Borrell Associates’ “Local Online Media” revenue survey. This growth came at the expense primarily of newspaper ad spend, Borrell said.

What percentage of your ad budgets is spent online? Do you agree that brokers and agents are overspending on digital? Leave your comments below.

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