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AOL as a Resource for Real Estate Agents: Evaluating Its Pros and Cons

By Ben Shepardson | June 26, 2023

Once a key player in the early days of the internet, America Online (AOL) has evolved, incorporating various online services such as email, news, and various other web-based offerings. While not as prominent as it once was, AOL still holds potential value for real estate agents. This article will explore whether AOL can be a good resource for real estate professionals, analyzing the features, benefits, and drawbacks in today's dynamic digital landscape.

AOL’s Legacy and Current Position

AOL was one of the first internet service providers and dominated the 90s internet landscape with its wide-ranging services. Though AOL’s popularity has declined over the years, it continues to provide a suite of online services including email, web portal, content creation, and digital marketing tools under Verizon Media, its parent company since 2015. With millions of visitors each month, AOL has the potential to provide visibility and engagement opportunities for real estate agents.

AOL Mail for Real Estate Professionals

AOL Mail, despite the emergence of other email providers like Gmail and Outlook, remains popular among a segment of internet users, especially those who have been using it since the 90s. For real estate agents, an AOL email account could serve as an additional channel to communicate with this audience. However, compared to more modern email clients, AOL Mail lacks some advanced features like AI-based filtering and email scheduling. Thus, while AOL Mail could be utilized as a secondary email account, it may not serve as effectively as a primary email service for real estate professionals.

AOL News and Content Marketing

AOL’s news platform, though not as renowned as some other major news outlets, still garners a significant amount of traffic. Real estate agents can use this platform for content marketing or as an advertising space. A well-placed advert or a sponsored post about the real estate market could reach potential clients. On the other hand, AOL's demographic skews older and may not reach younger, tech-savvy home buyers who tend to use other platforms like Google News, social media, or more specialized real estate websites.

AOL Search and SEO

AOL Search, powered by Bing, can be another potential source of visibility for real estate agents. However, most internet users prefer Google for search queries. Therefore, while optimizing for AOL Search could give some additional visibility, focusing SEO efforts primarily on Google will likely yield better results.

Advertising with AOL

One of AOL’s strengths lies in its advertising platform, facilitated through Verizon Media's advertising tools. These offer targeted advertising across AOL’s wide-reaching network, which could potentially increase visibility for real estate professionals. Moreover, AOL offers programmatic advertising, allowing real estate agents to automate their ad placements, optimize their ad spend, and improve the efficiency of their advertising campaigns.

The AOL Community

AOL has a loyal user base that can prove advantageous for real estate agents who want to target this specific demographic. Although this audience may not be as expansive as the ones on Facebook or Instagram, it can still serve as a niche market for real estate agents.

Limitations of AOL

While AOL offers potential avenues for visibility and engagement, it's important to consider its limitations. AOL's user base is significantly smaller than platforms like Google, Facebook, or Instagram, and it might not cater to younger demographics effectively. Its tools, while useful, are not specialized for real estate professionals, unlike platforms such as Zillow or Redfin. Real estate agents might also face credibility issues when using AOL Mail as their primary email service, as some clients may see more modern platforms as a standard in professional communication.

Does AOL have a cost-effective advertising platform for real estate agents

In terms of cost-effectiveness, it largely depends on your specific objectives, target audience, and the efficiency of your ad campaigns. Here are a few factors to consider:

1. Audience: If your target audience aligns with AOL's user demographic (generally an older audience), advertising on AOL could be more cost-effective for you compared to other platforms where this demographic is less prevalent.

2. Programmatic Advertising: AOL's programmatic advertising platform can be a useful tool for real estate agents. It allows for automated buying, placement, and optimization of media inventory via a bidding system. This automation can save time and potentially increase the cost-effectiveness of campaigns by targeting ads more precisely.

3. Specific Features for Real Estate: Unlike some platforms like Zillow or Trulia, AOL doesn't provide advertising features tailored specifically to real estate agents. Depending on your requirements, more specialized platforms might provide better value for your advertising budget.

4. Performance Measurement: Any advertising campaign's cost-effectiveness should be gauged by measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as clicks, conversions, and return on ad spend (ROAS). AOL provides analytics tools for tracking these metrics.

5. Competition and Cost: AOL's advertising platform might have less competition compared to the crowded ad spaces of platforms like Google and Facebook. This could potentially lower the cost of ad placement. However, AOL also has a smaller user base, which could affect the reach and impact of your ads.

AOL's advertising platform can potentially be cost-effective for real estate agents, especially those targeting AOL's specific user demographic. However, to truly determine cost-effectiveness, real estate agents should consider their specific objectives, measure campaign performance, and potentially compare results with campaigns on other platforms.

AOL can serve as an additional resource for real estate agents due to its suite of services including email, content marketing, search, and advertising. However, given its limitations in user base and specialized features, it may not be as effective as more popular and specialized platforms. Therefore, real estate agents could consider using AOL as part of a broader, multi-channel digital marketing strategy, while placing a greater focus on more modern and specialized platforms to ensure they're effectively reaching their target audiences.

Ben Shepardson is a Realty Biz News Contributing Writer and has a long track record of success in online marketing and web development. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, he worked doing enterprise-level SEO and started an online business offering web development services to small business customers.
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