Monday, March 20, 2006

Think Search Marketing is New for Real Estate Agents? Think Again

A recent report shows that almost half of local keywords purchased online are purchased by real estate agents. The fact is, advertising online works, and thousands of agents are doing it. Here are some exerpts from a report on Inman News today:

Complying with the dictum, "Follow the money" (or at least the consumers), real estate advertising now comprises half of the local advertising on search engines, according to a report released this month.

Paid search ads for individual local real estate agents account for 49.6 percent of listings on keyword searches for local business segments across 10 different cities, up from 17.5 percent of local search ads 18 months ago, according to Borrell Associates' "2006 Local Search Advertising" report.

Local advertisers now occupy a third of sponsored links in search-engine results, according to the report, and many on city-related keywords.

The Borrell report predicts that paid search advertising by local advertisers will more than double this year to $987 million, and nearly double again in 2007.

Local agents' search ads jumped from 17.5 percent of all local search ads 18 months ago, to 23.9 percent a year later, the report said.

Search ads for the keyword "mortgage" comprised 25.1 percent of listings on keyword searches, the report said. According to the report, the highest bids in terms of amount paid per click were for DUI attorneys, mortgages and real estate.

According to the March 2005 report, local agents occupy almost half of all search advertisements, and not just in big cities, either. "In Des Moines, half of the advertisements on the Google and Yahoo results pages for 'Des Moines real estate' are being placed by local agents bidding as much as $3 per click," the report said.

Matt Shaw, an agent with Coldwell Banker Mid-America Group in Des Moines, told researchers he estimates as much as half of his total advertising budget is spent on search-engine advertising, and an additional 20 percent on other forms of online marketing. "It's paid off," Shaw said, according to the study.

The report tracked more than 2,000 online search ads on Yahoo! and Google and also compiled the predictions of 400 so-called ad experts. One of the reports' more interesting predictions: "More than three-fourths of the Borrell panel agrees that within the next five years, yellow pages books will evolve into directories of local Web site addresses. Eighty-five percent of respondents think this will happen within five years."

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