Print is Dead: The Proof

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentMy broker recently stopped spending on print advertising and added an article to his page with the following information:

According to statistics released by the Newspaper Association of America, newspaper print advertising sales in the first half of this year fell to the lowest level in ten (10!) years.

Print revenues in the first six months of this year totaled $20.3 billion, the lowest since the $19.7 billion in sales recorded in the first half of 1997. Print ad sales in the first half of this year were 8.3% below the depressed level recorded in the same period in 2006.

You can find more about the steady decline in print sales on Allan D. Mutter’s Newsosaur blog. Floyd Scott, my broker, also added the following:

Allan Dalton, President and CEO of showed recently in a presentation that only 1% of the marketing expense goes to the internet which generates 12% of the calls, as compared to 56% of marketing expense to print resulting in 8% of calls.

You can read more and see the powerpoint presentation for yourself at True Gotham.

So while declining real estate sales are one obvious cause – fewer sales equals fewer dollars on which to spend on marketing, and newspapers seemed to be the high-expense product that many agents chose – the lack of return on newspaper advertising also is spelling its doom.

The question remains whether agents who now realize the degree to which their phone rings has little to do with the amount of money spent on print advertising will spend those dollars once the market begins to recover.

From a consumer standpoint, sellers ought to examine with a critical eye any agent who points to their newspaper classified ads or, worse yet, their glossy real estate magazine page as the cornerstone of their advertising. The rest of us have said for ages that these agents are advertising themselves and not your home, though your home is one of the vehicles used in the ad.

Look at the above statistics about where the calls are coming from and you’ll see that dollars spent doesn’t translate into a sale for you if those dollars are directed at personal marketing rather than the marketing of your home.

[tags]real estate marketing[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Howard Arnoff 10 years ago

    Jonathan, you are absolutely correct. I stopped print a year ago to focus my efforts online, it is much more cost effective and with far better results.

  • Jeff 10 years ago

    Oh yes, print is indeed dead; in fact, I just wrote a book about it! Visit my blog for more info…

  • Linda Davis 10 years ago

    I ran my typical half page a few weeks ago and included a photo of a dog that needed to be adopted at the local animal shelter. We had 0 calls on the listings advertised but the shelter received 8 calls on the dog, which leads me to the conclusion that print advertising is for the dogs. True story.