Is Online Advertising Worth It For Realtors?

Agent Advice

Written by

Andrei Geist

Published date:

Updated: Feb 26, 2024 by

online advertising concept on a laptop

For real estate agents working in the sphere today, there’s no denying that marketing is a key part of becoming successful. In order to sell real estate, you’re going to need to get your name out in the sphere. It doesn’t matter how highly developed your other skills are, without a solid marketing strategy you won’t go far.


With the arrival of the digital age, the art of marketing has gone through a paradigm shift. Many of the conventional marketing strategies of past decades have fallen by the wayside as newer and more technologically advanced marketing tools have become the norm. While old-school marketing hasn’t yet become completely outmoded, digital marketing is the new favorite in most industry sectors.


Among these new digital marketing tools, online advertising is one of the most effective tools in the 21st century real estate agent’s marketing toolbox. Using a wide variety of different platforms, real estate agents and other professionals can target potential clients with an exacting degree of precision and effectiveness. While it obviously won’t guarantee that everyone the ads reach will make a purchase, it will result in more sales overall.


Considering how widely used these tools have become in the last decade, real estate agents who want to stay ahead of the curve will obviously at least consider using online advertising to boost their exposure. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea, but only one why it might not be such a great idea: cost. 


Online advertising costs. The price: is it right?

digital campaign concept

For real estate agents without well established brokerages or client bases, the price of online advertising is likely to be the most compelling deterrent. While some options offer more affordable pricing than others, online advertising invariably comes at a hefty cost. The bottom line? When it comes to online advertising for realtors, you can have anything you want, but you won’t get it for free.


Now that we’ve established that online advertising comes at a hefty cost, there’s one question left to answer: is the cost of online advertising worth the payoff for the realtors? The answer to this question is hardly simple, nor is there any clear cut answer outside of whether or not it works for you. In spite of this fact, we’ll be doing our best to objectively present, for realtors and not only, with the benefits of each platform and it’s advertising value. That said, let’s begin! 


Different types of online advertising that realtors can use

There are a wide variety of different tools, platforms and websites that offer online advertising for realtors of a number of different types. Different types of online advertising include pop-up ads, web ads, social media ads and direct email advertising, but the types of online advertising we’re going to be covering today generally fall into the categories of search result ads, social media ads and general online ads.


With so many advertising options for realtors to choose from, your ultimate choice of marketing and advertising services are up to your budget and personal preference. It’s up to you to research each service individually and come to a conclusion on which will best serve the interests of your brokerage and your long term career goals. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular online advertising tools available now!   


Google AdWords

g ads smartphone in pocket concept

Starting with the most widely used and ubiquitous advertising service, we’re going to be taking a look at the services provided by Google AdWords. As a tech industry giant, Google has an iron grip on some of the most high-traffic niches of the world wide web, with everything from video sharing to web searches and professional business tools.


Considering how broad their sphere of influence reaches, it’s no surprise that their advertising platform, Google Ads, is among the most widely used and most effective advertising tools available for realtors. There are a number of different websites and platforms where you can choose to have your ads displayed, but generally this is the best way to have your ads appear only for a carefully selected audience.


As far as cost goes, Google Ads is one of the most costly advertising platforms, with an average cost-per-click of $1-$2. Most small- to mid-sized companies spend upwards of $10,000 a month on these ads, so it’s hardly the cheapest option available. This isn’t to say that it isn’t worth it, however; if you’re looking to use a highly tailored marketing strategy, it’s one of the best and easiest options currently available.


Whether or not the high cost depends on the size of your brokerage and how effectively you’ll be able to take advantage of the increase in exposure. If you live in a big city and are experiencing underexposure, the added business can more than justify the cost, but if your brokerage is more rural, you might not be able to so easily justify it. 

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Facebook Ads

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While Google Ads allows you to reach a specific and highly tailored audience, advertising on Facebook casts a much wider net at a lower cost. Facebook advertising doesn’t have the benefit of being as precise and targeted as Google Ads, but more than makes up for it with it’s nearly incomprehensible reach.


Facebook’s advertising tools generally allow the realtors to narrow down your target audience by age, demographic, location and a few other factors, but lack the extensive customization that you gain access to with Google Ads. In spite of this, Facebook remains a very viable tool due to their relatively low pricing.


So how expensive is it to advertise on Facebook? Not too expensive, as it turns out! Facebook prices their ads on an auction based system, where you essentially set a budget for your ads and then an algorithm chooses the highest bidder for each individual user depending on how closely they fit the predetermined demographic. This allows you to work with exactly as much money as you’re willing to spend on advertising, without accidental overspending.


Generally speaking, Facebook advertising is a great way to increase brand recognition and reach a broader target audience. As a realtor, you can advertise effectively on Facebook without spending as much as you would with Google Ads, and if your brokerage has a well established social media presence you can increase traffic to your social media pages. Overall, this is a great option if you’re working with a heavily limited budget. 



Bing Ads

bing ads social media network concept

Hot on Google’s heels as everyone’s second favorite search engine, Bing is Microsoft’s answer to the most popular search engine on the web. While it’s often taken as something of a joke, Bing has a dedicated user base, albeit a comparatively small one. With fewer users, ad space is typically less costly on Bing, and can be purchased at a relatively low price.


Despite its small user base, Bing is actually an effective advertising tool. For real estate agents working in large cities, it’s a perfectly viable option that costs less and yields similar results. While it might not be quite so viable for brokerages in mid-sized or small cities, it’s still something you should consider.


As far as pricing is concerned, your best bet at getting exposure at a reasonable price is by using Bing’s contextual advertising functionality to tailor your target demographic and determine where your ads appear. This will allow realtors to advertise specifically to users who are searching for sites such as your own, and reach a much more focused audience.


One more thing you should keep in mind is the fact that Bing users are, on average, more affluent than Google users. This means that the audience you reach is far more likely to have the financial means to contract your services. If you’re working in a large city, this is definitely something you should consider. 



Advantages of online advertising

publicity red arrows hit the center

When comparing online advertising to more conventional marketing mediums, you may be wondering what advantages the former has over the latter. While online advertising has increased dramatically in popularity over the past few years, it might not be immediately apparent what its specific advantages are. 


The most obvious advantage of online advertising is its widespread exposure. Online advertising allows realtors to reach a tremendous number of potential customers, garnering a tremendous increase in name and brand recognition. This allows you to exceed the boundaries placed upon you by conventional advertising and reach a much wider audience.


Another significant advantage of advertising is the ease with which you can set up and run an effective marketing campaign. All of the tools mentioned above are straightforward and relatively simple to implement, and they can all be used from your office desktop. For real estate agents pressed for time, this is an invaluable tool. 



Disadvantages of online advertising

moeny bag and arrow down

It isn’t all sunshine and butterflies in the world of online advertising, however. It’s not a perfect advertising medium, and there’s no doubt that it has its fair share of downsides. While conventional marketing has fallen by the wayside in recent years, there are situations in which old school marketing mediums still are the optimal choice. So what are the disadvantages of advertising online?


One of the primary disadvantages of online advertising is its price. Online advertising provides you with vastly improved opportunities to reach potential customers, but it also comes at a far higher price. Many real estate brokerages spend thousands of dollars a month just maintaining a nominal online advertising strategy.


Another very notable downside of online advertising is its limited effectiveness for real estate agents working in rural areas with poor internet coverage. In areas like these, online advertising is unlikely to be as effective as good old-fashioned conventional advertising. While it may still be somewhat effective, online advertising is generally not the best option in this context. 


So, is online advertising worth it after all?

If you aren’t particularly technologically savvy, the concept of online advertising can be a difficult one to wrap your head around. There are so many services, platforms, techniques and strategies available that it comes as no surprise that some agents opt to avoid online marketing altogether. With this article, we hope we’ve answered some of your questions and made things a bit clearer for you.


Still having difficulties? Why not find a real estate agent who works in the digital sphere, and see what advice they have for you? As you probably already know, most real estate agents are more than willing to share some tips and tricks in areas where they excel, and those who use online marketing are no exception. Call one up and invite them out to coffee so you can pick their brain; we promise you won’t regret it!


Did you enjoy this article? Want to ask a question, or leave some feedback? Leave us a comment in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Our readers are our top priority, and making sure your experience is as great as it possibly can be is of the utmost importance to us. We look forward to hearing from you!


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