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Internet versus Newspaper Advertising

By Warwick Davis

A common question that comes up when we talk with our clients about putting their home on the market is whether newspaper advertising is still relevant in the age of the Internet. This is particularly the case when the advertising budget is tight.

Newspapers – Pro’s & Con’s

The negatives with press advertising are that it is relatively expensive and has a limited shelf life. Basically you get less bang for your buck.

On the plus side it reaches potential buyers who don’t use computers and, in the case of local newspapers, it targets local buyers. This is important because it is a well established fact that the majority of buyers of a given home already live nearby. One study of Sydney transactions found 57% of people move less than 6 kilometres from their previous address.

Internet – Pro’s & Con’s

The Internet on the other hand is relatively inexpensive, easily searchable and literally worldwide. This last point can be important if there is the potential of an ex-pat buyer for your home. I think most people would also accept that the majority of buyers now use the Internet as their primary method of finding a new home.

The negatives are that buyers may not even search for your suburb if they aren’t aware of it – potentially an issue on the Killcare Peninsula. Also buyers will typically search within a given price range, if your home is listed above that range they won’t find you. This is one very good reason not to be too optimistic with your initial asking price.

So which is the better method ?

The first thing to do is define what is a better result. A better price is obviously what the owner wants but how do you define that when their is no way the owner or the agent can say to the dollar what a home “should” sell for ?

Another aspect that will be relevant to many buyers is how quickly the home sells. These two factors are probably the main ones that go into what we would call a better result.

So if we want solid data rather than opinion what do we do ?

In his excellent book Sell for More author Gil Davis commissioned property analysts Rismark to perform a detailed study and quantify exactly this question. I won’t go into detail here about the method and results – you should buy the book if you are interested – but the only clear conclusion was that a combination of both gives the best result in terms of both price and time.

Admittedly it’s a little disappointing the study couldn’t establish a clear winner between the two although my interpretation was that if you were only to use one approach then the Internet would be the one because it gets a similar result for less money.

That said, you are doing yourself an injustice by not investing enough in your marketing. A good campaign should definitely include both Internet and newspaper and don’t forget a significant number of buyers also find their home via;

  • The Agent’s database
  • A Signboard
  • Office window displays
  • Brochures & flyers
  • and even Social media


The fragmented nature of Real Estate marketing is inconvenient for vendors but it is clear that an advertising budget that covers Internet and newspaper is money well spent. The benefit is greater than the cost in the vast majority of cases.

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