Is print advertising worth the cost?

As online real estate marketing becomes more and more pervasive, is print advertising becoming a thing of the past?

A typical sales marketing campaign runs to between $10,000 and $20,000 for a house, and $6,000 and $8,000 for a $700,000 apartment.  The vast bulk of this is spent on print advertising. Vendors are increasingly asking if they need all that print advertising, or even any. The answer is not cut and dried.

The old saying that today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s fish and chips wrappers has never been more apt. An online listing remains until the property is sold, long after a far more expensive print ad is nothing but worm food

And consider where people are looking. The Sydney Morning Herald and the Wentworth Courier are no longer must reads for buyers. In fact, most people are looking solely or predominantly online. You can see far more detail on the web, and it’s more immediate – buyers can see properties as they come up, rather than waiting for the next edition. It’s also more immediate for vendors. We can have a property posted live on all websites the same day we have photography, and we’ll generally receive our first enquiry within minutes of listing.

On the face of it, there is a pretty good case for ignoring print altogether.

On the other hand, there is still a strong case for newspapers.  A significant number of people still look at print ads. They will often start browsing in the newspaper and go to the web for more detail on particular properties. An ever shrinking minority use print as their major source of information. It would be foolish to ignore them.

While the cost of print seems increasingly unjustifiable, it’s insignificant compared to the difference between a good and bad sale result. What vendor wants to be sitting at their auction wondering if they have done everything possible to get the best result?

So, is it worth the cost?  Probably not, but we still need it. Don’t ignore print completely, but look more closely at the amount used. For instance, for smaller properties both the Wentworth Courier and Domain East now have sections for properties under $650,000, which are far more cost effective. Domain East bundles it’s advertising with ads in the Saturday Domain and enhancements on, making it better value. Consider whether there is any benefit in a full page ad over a half page. In some cases there is, but don’t assume it’s the case.

The two dominant websites are and Listing on these two sites is a must for any property and they are ridiculously cheap compared to the enquiry they draw. However, they are constantly thinking of ways to charge more.

At the moment, they are doing this by moving towards a per listing fee structure. While the large annual subscription fee remains, vendors are being enticed to pay per listing fees to purchase ‘enhancements’. Enhancements ensure that your property features more prominently (eg higher up, highlighted, with more photographs) in search results. Websites are able to show that properties with enhancements receive significantly more ‘hits’ and enquiries.

We believe that certain enhancements present good value and are becoming a necessity rather than an add-on. Consequently, all of our sales and rental properties are listed as priority placements on both and For certain properties, it is worth considering further enhancements (such as email alerts and ‘feature property’ status).

Expect to be paying more and more for online advertising and less for newsprint. So who’s going to pay for journalism in the future?

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