Paper advertising vs property websites

With some local competitors no longer advertising in the city property newspaper, we thought it would be worthwhile analysing a selection of our own adverts to see whether our expenditure was worthwhile. We’re hearing more and more from industry pundits that property websites generate the most leads on any given home (and at the price they charge per month they should be!) but is it true in real life?

Case study 1 – St Anns Way, Bathwick (3 bed family semi with large gardens, priced at £425,000)

St Anns Way

This was always going to be an easy one to get viewings on being in the second best postcode in the city, next to the best primary school and fee paying school, an easy walk to town and with plenty of potential to expand. By the time we finished phoning out the property, we had booked 8 viewings. Website releases generated another 8 bookings over two weeks. However, we advertised the property in a half page two days before our first open house appointment and were amazed to find an extra 12 viewers turned up (all clearly stating they saw the property in the paper on Friday or Saturday morning). That wasn’t all – we held another open house on the following Tuesday (and had 3 bookings from the usual websites) and another 4 people came from the paper ad.

Result – 45% of the viewings on this particular house came directly from one newspaper advert. Advertising on Rightmove, Findaproperty, Primelocation and many other websites for over 2 weeks only generated 31% of all activity, with the remainder coming from our mailing list.

Case study 2 – Abbey Court, Bathwick (3 bed mansion block apartment with garage and views)

Abbey Court

Now, this one may have been a bit unfair to choose as a study as the vast majority of previous buyers in the block have been well into retirement. However, I wanted to see if, packaged alongside more orthodox second homes, the property websites would generate as much interest as they have on a Henrietta St or Johnstone St. Also, I secretly wanted to see if any retired buyers were web capable or if sons and daughters were looking for them over the web. Lastly, with almost 1000sqft of space, it is a superb alternative to nearby Georgian flats and I wondered if any of those clients would pick up on that.

The property was released to Rightmove and others on Saturday last week. The first ad in the paper (another half page) appeared today. Despite (for example) over 3235 summary views on Rightmove (and a 5.4%click thru rate), no viewings have appeared as yet from the web. Conversely, it took just 1 hour from publication to book our first viewing from the paper and 3 more have appeared since.

Result – 100% of viewings generated directly from newspaper ads during the course of a week.

Now, let’s deal with some possible objections to the results

“You chose particular properties to skew the results” – No, these are simply the last two instructions we had chronologically and are happily entirely different types.

“The Easter hols disrupted people looking for homes” – Surely the same factor would affect both web and paper but we deliberately exposed both homes to the web for a long time before advertising and both properties were advertised in the paper on different weekends (29th April and 5th May)

“People ring for details from the web then book viewings after they have received them” – Usually true if the information on the web is insufficient. However, in both cases we released full brochures to the web (checkable here) with floorplans, upwards of 12 photos per house, historical research and inventories.

If you have any other thoughts as to why these results are as they are, I would be delighted to explore them with you – comment below, follow me on Twitter (Madison_Oakley) or find us on Facebook .

For more info on Madison Oakley or contact details for our directors, do visit our website.