How much value do you get out of listing on Craigslist?

Visits per ad type
Visits per ad type

One of the websites I mentioned at the Inman presentation a few weeks ago was listing number.   One of the most interesting elements of the site is just how trivial it can make tracking ROI of an agents marketing spend… and along those lines, the folks behind Listing Number just published their first set of results for the average number of hits generated by different marketing types.

The dataset is (presumeably) pretty small still, but it is interesting to see just how many hits a craigslist ad generates relative to other marketing options.

Published by

Dustin Luther

Current lead up the team managing Brand and Influencer Engagement programs for Dun & Bradstreet. You can find me on Twitter (@tyr) or LinkedIn (DustinLuther)

10 thoughts on “How much value do you get out of listing on Craigslist?”

  1. ListingNumber does seem to be an interesting tool and I appreciate the idea of putting all ad sources in one place to make tracking easier.

    Unfortunately, the assumption that “hits” are everything, might lead an agent astray when it comes to showing ROI.

    Obviously, the more important metrics are closed sales or their precursor – showings.

    Craigslist has always been good to me when I need to generate hits. I put an ad on Craigslist with a link to a virtual tour and people click on it.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t seen reliable results in respect to increased showings or sales. Also, craigslist seems to attract the DYI bargain-hunters, which is great for a few of out lower priced homes, but not the majority of the upper end vacation or luxury homes that I sell.

    A sign might not drive traffic to your website, but it certainly will help sell a house and it will build your brand in the “hyper-location” (neighborhood) where you need it.

  2. “Unfortunately, the assumption that “hits” are everything, might lead an agent astray when it comes to showing ROI.”

    Agreed. I don’t think we have enough evidence yet to make the case that craiglist offers a better ROI in the sense of tracking from initial visit all the way through to closing.

    “A sign might not drive traffic to your website, but it certainly will help sell a house and it will build your brand in the “hyper-location” (neighborhood) where you need it.”

    Good point. Most marketing studies show that people driving around the neighborhood is still in the top 3 ways they found the house they eventually purchased. I certainly wouldn’t advocate dumping the sign because the traffic to the site isn’t as significant as other mediums.

    In this case I think the numbers are interesting because they help us get a better grasp of the consumers behavior. For example are folks who see a sign more likely to visit a website for followup information, or is that unnecessary because they’ve already seen the exterior of the home, have a flyer with the facts (presumably your sign box is full :-), and thus the only actions likely are: (1) do nothing (not interested) or (2) call their/the agent for a showing.

    I’m fascinated with putting numbers on the process from start to finish so agents can make better decisions about where to spend their time and money and would be the last to advocate making major shifts based on one set of numbers. That said, get started collecting *some* numbers. Most don’t do any tracking at all (which is why the industry still spends 90% of it’s advertising budget in the newspaper).

  3. Tracking numbers is extremely important and tracking results will lead agents to focusing on what is working (hopefully). The issue in one of the MLS systems here in Los Angeles has been agents are putting properties that aren’t theirs in craigs list which is of course a direct violation of rules. I think it is a great think to track numbers and look forward to seeing long term results.

  4. I know this sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t know it talking to a lot of real estate brokers: It’s easier to get someone to click from one website to another than to set down a newspaper, go to a computer, and visit a website.

  5. Joseph and Ed: You both touched on one of my favorite parts of online marketing… the fact that we *can* measure results so much more effectively than with off-line marketing.

  6. Of course I would argue you can now measure offline as well.

    Consumers are going to do one of two things if they see an ad offline that interests them: call or look it up on line.

    A basic assumption of listingnumber is that if you give them a direct url to all the data/photos, they will take the path of least resistance and go there – giving you the ability to measure it.

    When I was webmaster for a large real estate company, we got an unbelievable number of emails from the public trying (in vein) to find a specific listing on the site from the (little) information in print ads. Lightbulb! 🙂

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