Unless you are new around these parts, you’ll probably know that spending money on print advertising isn’t what I consider to be a good investment of marketing budget dollars. But I figure I owe you more than a rant about how supermodel-skinny the local glossy print publication for real estate has become. Instead, I figured I’d take a look at brokerage page share (number of pages paid for by a brokerage divided by total pages in the most recent issue is equal to brokerage page share) in the most recent issue and compare that to brokerage market share. The idea behind this grand comparison is to see if advertising in the primary SF glossy real estate magazine has any correlation with actual market share (as measured in either units sold or dollar volume)…
The May 12 – 25 issue has actually put on a little bit of weight when compared to its March edition, having added four pages of advertising (which may or may not be related to the crazy specials they were advertising a few months ago, but I digress). This issue has a total of 56 pages of advertising if you count the front cover, inside front cover, back cover, and inside back cover (which I normally haven’t been counting as pages, but probably should since for a big enough check they too can be yours).
Real Estate brokerages seem to fall into one of three categories – the first category is those brokerages that are “under-represented” in glossy print marketing (red or orange bar much larger than blue bar), meaning they have a greater market share than indicated by their advertising page share in the Real Estate Times. The next category is for those brokerages that are roughly “at parity” between their market share and page share. And finally, there are those that are “over-represented” (blue bar much larger than orange or red bar) in page share when compared to their market share.
The numbers for market share are from Clarus AgentMetrics, which pulls its data from the San Francisco MLS. Market share is for the past year.
Those that are under-represented include Sotheby’s, Hill & Co., Pacific Union, Zephyr and Paragon.
Brokerages that are at roughly at parity between market share and page share would include Herth and Coldwell Banker.
Which leaves the rest as being over-represented in the magazine when comparing page share to actual market share: Brown & Co., Vanguard, Prudential, Climb, Alain Pinel, and McGuire.
So, in conclusion, it would seem to me that you could conclude that smaller brokerages try and make themselves look bigger by having a great presence in print advertising. Or perhaps it could be that spending so much money on print advertising leads to a smaller brokerage…