Is your real estate advertising working? 5 facts to consider

by Peter Thomas Ricci


Marketing and advertising are major expenses for most agents. According to the 2016 Member Profile from NAR, Realtors spent a median of $1,100 on marketing expenses, along with another $930 on business promotion expenses (and that is in addition to $800 on technology and $900 on professional development).

How certain can you be, though, that those advertising initiatives are working? New research from YouGov suggests that advertising works in different ways with different people, and below, we have broken down the five most notable findings from YouGov’s research:

1. A Negative Reaction – In general, American consumers have a negative reaction to advertising, with 61 percent of the respondents in YouGov’s survey reporting a dislike of advertising; of that crowd, 33 percent dislike advertising “a little,” while 28 percent dislike it “a lot.” On the flip side, only 5 percent of consumers like advertising “a lot.”

Response to Advertising Share of Respondents
Like a lot 5%
Like a little 29%
Dislike a little 33%
Dislike a lot 28%
Not sure 4%

2. Battle of the Sexes – Women tend to be more receptive to advertising, but not by much. Six percent of women (compared with 4 percent of men) like advertising “a lot,” while 30 percent (compared with 28 percent of men) like it “a little.” Similarly, women are less inclined to dislike advertising:

Response to Advertising Men Women
Like a lot 4% 6%
Like a little 28% 30%
Dislike a little 34% 31%
Dislike a lot 29% 28%
Not sure 4% 5%

3. ‘X’ Marks the Spot – Among America’s generations, there is an interesting divide in advertising interest. Although the generations are fairly equal in liking advertising “a lot,” Generation X is the only generation without a majority of its population disliking advertising. While 62 percent of Millennials, 64 percent of Young Boomers, and 69 percent of Older Boomers dislike advertising at least “a little,” only 49 percent of Gen Xers do; furthermore, 37 percent of Gen Xers like advertising “a little,” the highest margin by far:

Response to Advertising Under 30 30 to 44 45 to 64 65-plus
Like a lot 5% 5% 6% 4%
Like a little 29% 37% 26% 28%
Dislike a little 36% 25% 37% 32%
Dislike a lot 26% 24% 27% 37%
Not sure 5% 9% 4% 0%

4. Racial Breakdowns – YouGov also broke its research down by race. According to the survey, black consumers have the most positive reaction to advertising, with 51 percent liking it “a little” and 12 percent liking it “a lot.” A majority of Hispanics also have a positive view, with 51 percent liking advertising at least “a little.”

White consumers, by contrast, viewed advertising very negatively, with a whopping 70 percent disliking it at least “a little.” For comparison’s sake, 33 percent of white consumers disliked advertising “a lot,” next to 19 percent for Hispanics and 15 percent for African Americans.

Response to Advertising White Black Hispanic Other
Like a lot 3% 12% 8% 4%
Like a little 23% 51% 43% 30%
Dislike a little 37% 16% 26% 31%
Dislike a lot 33% 15% 19% 28%
Not sure 4% 6% 5% 8%

5. Advertising to the Middle Class – Broken down by income, all economic classes had a majority dislike for advertising. That sense of dislike was less acute among those earning less than $50,000 a year, but it was strongest among consumers earning $50,000 to $100,000 (at 64 percent, nearly a third dislike advertising at least “a little”).

Response to Advertising Under $50K $50K to $100K $100K-plus Prefer not to say
Like a lot 6% 4% 4% 4%
Like a little 31% 28% 30% 26%
Dislike a little 33% 34% 39% 23%
Dislike a lot 25% 30% 23% 40%
Not sure 5% 3% 4% 7%

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