Property website defends online advertising

By Hana Garrett-Walker

File photo / Herald on Sunday
File photo / Herald on Sunday

One of the country's largest online property websites says it is confused by comments that online property advertising is not as successful as in print, because their figures don't back that up.

Harcourts chief executive Hayden Duncan this week told National Business Review that listing properties online was not as successful as advertising in traditional print mediums.

Print had found a niche by providing exposure at a certain "price point" without the same level of competition as online, he said.

But realestate.co.nz chief executive Alistair Helm said he was "totally confused" by those comments.

"I was very surprised, we've always believed that there's a complimentary role for print in addition to online, and never said print is dead, it's certainly becoming less relevant, but it's certainly not dead, and the data proves that."

Their figures showed over 80 per cent of people looking for a house in the past week used an online specialist website to search for a property, whereas about 45 per cent used a specialist print magazine. Five years ago this figure was up at 60 per cent, Mr Helm said.

Trade Me and realestate.co.nz are the two major property listing websites in New Zealand.

The trend showed that online numbers were increasing and print numbers were decreasing, Mr Helm said.

"The industry's telling us it's so much more important to be conscious of what you advertise online and how you advertise it and also how you promote it."

All properties for sale in the country were now advertised online, but not all properties were advertised in print, he said.

But PropertyPress general manager Pat Houlihan said advertising property in print was "absolutely" still strong.

He was not surprised by Mr Duncan's comments and said within the past four months the company had produced the largest Central PropertyPress ever.

"It's scarcely a sign of the disappearing print medium."

He was not seeing a decline in the number of people using PropertyPress, but added he could not look to the future and predict what will happen.

"We don't know until the deadline how much our volume is going to be, so I don't know what the volume will be or how many ads there will be in three months time. No one does. We just find out on the week what the activity is."

PropertyPress was living proof that advertising in traditional print mediums was successful, he said.

- APNZ

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