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Print Advertising Does it Matter for Real Estate Agencies

By Mihaela Lica Butler | June 24, 2022

Advertising is an essential component of a solid marketing strategy, and since marketing is about building trust, you should give advertising the same consideration. And sure, you already invest in digital ads, but are you still advertising in newspapers and magazines, and is print advertising still viable for real estate?

Global Ad Spending Statistics

According to Statista, this year, the worldwide ad spending in the Print Advertising segment is projected to reach US$50.38bn globally, and most ad spending will be generated in the United States (US$12.37bn).

Interestingly, also per Statista, the largest print advertising revenue comes from newspapers, with a global market volume of US$35.59bn in 2022. However, the newspaper advertising space revenue in the USA has not surpassed US$15bn since 2015. 

But while newspapers lose readers and ad revenue, magazines gain readers. In 2020, there were 221.9 million magazine readers aged 18 or older in the USA, a decline of six million readers compared to 2019, mainly due to the lockdowns imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The following infographic from Finances Oline offers other insights and numbers to review: 

print advertising statistics

Print ads are trustworthy and memorable.

While it is true that print ads are more memorable than digital ads, the latest statistics regarding their efficacy are from 2017. Back then, MarketingSherpa reported that four out of five Americans (82%) trust print ads (newspapers, magazines), while 80% trust TV ads. Five years later, we cannot count on the same numbers in a rapidly changing digital era. In addition, Nielsen doesn't even include newspapers and magazines in The Nielsen Total Audience Report: Advertising Across Today's Media in 2020.

Nielsen advertising report

The Nielsen Total Audience Report: Advertising Across Today's Media does not include print advertising.

Some sources predict that the print media is declining; however, the "Print Media Global Market Report 2022" by shows other figures: the global print media market is expected to grow from US$305.44bn in 2021 to US$320.07bn in 2022, and US$366.73bn by 2026. Do note that these predictions refer to the print media as a whole, including books, periodicals, calendars, greeting cards, maps, brochures, flyers, etc.

The largest advertising sector globally is digital, with a US$455bn total ad spending in 2021 and expected to surpass US$645bn in 2024. In addition, TV and radio will grow to US$177bn by 2024 from US$160bn in 2021. 

Historically, TV ads were always outrageously expensive, and it makes more sense to spend on digital video ads than on TV clips. However, radio is the only traditional media that will grow in 2024, bouncing back from a decline caused by the pandemic in 2020. Statista predicts a global ad spend on radio ads of around US$30bn in 2024.

Meanwhile, print remains the most underutilized advertising medium, with newspaper advertising expected to drop to US$25.8bn by 2024 from US29.5bn in 2021 and magazine ads to US$15bn in 2024 from US$17bn in 2021, respectively. 

Does Print Advertising Make Sense When Local Newspapers Are Vanishing?

However, statistics only show how much advertisers are willing to invest in every medium. Of course, digital ads will draw more ad spend and revenue because they are cheaper and have a broader reach. And while print advertising is the only form of traditional media in severe decline, its value for real estate remains because of the nature of this business: addressing local homebuyers. 

However, here's the fine print: local newspapers are dying:

"Over the past 15 years, the United States has lost 2,100 newspapers, leaving at least 1,800 communities that had a local news outlet in 2004 without any at the beginning of 2020," reported  Penelope Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. "Half of newspaper readers and journalists have also vanished over the past 15 years. Many of the country's 6,700 surviving papers have become "ghost newspapers" – mere shells of their former selves, with greatly diminished newsrooms and readership. The loss of both journalists and circulation speaks to the declining influence of local newspapers and raises questions about their long-term financial viability in a digital era," she added.

The News Landscape in 2020: Transformed and Diminished

If local newspapers have not closed their doors because of the pandemic in the area where you practice your real estate business, investing in print ads makes sense. 

Still, consider that as of February 2022, only 12% of Americans used newspapers as a daily source of information. Can you assess how many people read the local newspaper? Also, with a lot of information online, many people now access news on the go, on smartphones or tablets. 

newspaper consumption 2022

In this landscape, it does not matter that print materials require 21% less cognitive effort to process because they stimulate both sight and touch - a statistic derived from a 2009 Millward Brown neuroscience study. What matters is that there's nothing to touch anymore. 

Print advertising never ceased to matter for real estate. Ideally, a smart advertising strategy in this sector should include digital and print ads in a local newspaper (or magazine) - if your local newspaper is still in circulation. However, it would be best to consider lowering your budget for print advertisements in newspapers and magazines and investing more in print marketing. So, invest in brochures and flyers, business cards, and billboards if you must have something in print. 

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Mihaela Lica Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues, with an experience of over 25 years in online PR, marketing, and SEO.She covers startups, online marketing, social media, SEO, and other topics of interest for Realty Biz News.
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