Let’s take a little look at newspaper ads…
There are two reasons an agent will advertise a property online without including any photos. The first is due to the vendor’s marketing budget and the second is as a marketing tactic that has its roots in the days of newspaper advertising.
We’ve written about newspaper advertising previously on this blog, and it’s also discussed in our free guide to selling property, which you can download by subscribing to our website. These days, only certain properties utilise newspaper advertising as part of their marketing campaigns, but as recently as a decade ago, newspaper advertising was the dominant way to advertise property — heck, it was the only way.
In real estate, time is of the essence
Here’s the thing about newspaper advertising, though. Newspapers are printed in sections. They print from the centre out, to keep the front page free for breaking news, and advertising goes first. The first sections to go are the lift-out supplements — your cars guides, your careers sections, your real estate magazines.
For agents on Sydney’s northern beaches, the local newspaper is the Manly Daily, which used to contain two lift-out real estate supplements in the Saturday edition — one on gloss stock, the other newsprint. The gloss lift-out went to print on Wednesdays, so ad space needed to be booked on Monday morning; newsprint printed on Thursdays, with a Tuesday morning booking deadline.
Keep in mind that, if an agent signs up a new vendor on Saturday (which a lot of agents do), the agency agreement, which allows the vendor a one-business-day cooling off period, doesn’t come into effect until Tuesday. Although it gave the agent enough time to book the space in the newsprint section, at least, it wasn’t enough time to arrange photography. So the ads would run without photos for the first week, until photography was arranged.
Vendors got a free marketing boost
In the newsprint lift-out of the Manly Daily, agents would often buy a full page or double page spread, and advertise as many of their current listings as they could fit, at no cost to the vendor. This wasn’t possible in the gloss edition, which had a strict one property per module policy, as did the Manly Daily’s closest rival, Fairfax Media’s Domain North.
A lot of agents would use Manly Daily newsprint as a way to advertise a ‘new listing’ before the vendor-paid advertising campaign would kick off, sort of as a way to test the market. Very often, properties that were in high demand would sell after just one photo-less ‘new listing’ advertisement, saving the vendor a tidy sum in marketing costs.
The Manly Daily shuttered the newsprint lift-out in 2013, but the practice of drumming up interest in new listings by advertising them without photos stuck around. And with clearance rates as high as they are in most areas of Sydney, it often takes just one open to sell a property. Advertising a property online without any photos is a great way to test the market, before committing to expensive property photography.
To learn more about selling property in Australia, and in particular your marketing options, download our free education guide, called Selling Your Property: What You Really Need to Know, by subscribing to our website. Alternatively, for more property market news, insights and analysis, continue reading our blog.
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