Will Local Advertising Suffer in Recessionary ‘08? Print vs Online?

Interesting article from Greg Sterling on the dynamics of print versus online local advertising in a recessionary environment.  Two interesting data points:

1) The early 2000’s saw job classifieds shift dramatically from offline to online in the recession.  Employers liked the accountability, ease of use and better ROI of their online spend.  Companies like Monster and Hotjobs rode this wave, destroying the jobs section of the local newspaper. 

 2) Recently, we have seen a major pullback in the real estate and mortgage markets.  Ironically, in real estate, ALL of the online real estate advertisers have been punished.   In real estate, agents and brokers have actually returned to print advertising – newspaper and rack publications, at least in the short term. 

Why? 

1) Demographics: The average real estate agent is 51 years old.  In the real estate downturn, as many younger agents are leaving the market, the established veterans are maintaining their current media mix, in which online may be a smaller portion.

2) More Listings: As the real estate market cools, there are more listings on the market that need to be advertised.  Though a number of firms have developed online products to market listings (pay per click listings, enhanced listings etc), my sense is that most of them are ineffective.  The most effective online marketing system for listings is simply the MLS, Craig’s List, and a host of free sites which aggregate listings.

3) What’s Familiar: At the end of the day, with so many alternatives to advertise, in the real estate free fall, I believe agents and brokers are going back to what is familiar …  at least in the short term.  I think over the next three years online advertising will overtake print in real estate.  I think it will require the real estate market to get back on its legs first, or at least show that it is back on the upward curve.

Here is a link to the article: Will Print YP Suffer in Recessionary ‘08? « Screenwerk

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