Tech spending increases, but agents like direct mail


A recent survey of more than 2,000 real estate professionals by U.S.-based ActiveRain Corp. says overall spending on technology and technology-related marketing services is increasing, especially among the most successful agents, but real estate professionals continue to invest in direct mail as a preferred marketing vehicle.

The survey focused on measuring what software and marketing support real estate agents are using in their business and how much they are spending on these necessary tools of the trade.

“Real estate professionals are accelerating their investments in technology-based marketing options, but there’s not always a direct correlation between where they’re spending money and where they’re getting value,” says Nikesh Parekh, CEO for ActiveRain. “More agents are investing in the technology and pipeline management systems necessary to build successful, long-term businesses.”

Other highlights from the survey include:

– IDX websites, CMA software, contact management and email marketing  continue to be the most important tools in the real estate industry with the highest overall usage

– Real estate agents earning more than $100,000 per year are willing to pay a premium for top IDX websites, contact management solutions, virtual tour software and team management

– Most other categories of software/technology show a reasonable fixed price per month regardless of the annual income of the agent

– More kinds of marketing and advertising solutions are used by agents with no single solution having dominant share

– Online agents are spending the most on lead generation, U.S. real estate websites (Zillow, Trulia, and pay-per-click advertising

– Social media, blogging and SEO have the broadest agent participation but low monthly spend, due to the predominance of free tools

– Direct mail has the largest agent participation of any offline marketing and advertising solution, regardless of agent income

– Top-producing agents earning more than $100,000 per year spend more in general across all categories but spend more money on online lead generation, national real estate websites and search engine marketing. Top-producing agents spend significantly more per month on marketing personnel and training/coaching

An infographic and deeper summary of the survey’s findings can be downloaded at

ActiveRain is a real estate social network and real estate blogging platform. The ActiveRain community is composed of more than 220,000 real estate agents and affiliated real estate professionals.


  1. Being a new Realtor in Canada, is it safe to say that Clients prefer to receive emails only as opposed to Direct Mail as a way of staying in touch about general Real Estate information? Brian Buffini Peak Producer course teaches you to send a Direct Mail once a month, and send an electronic mailing of value once a month to the same client. Would our Canadian Clients prefer only to receive a electronic mailing?

  2. First this is an American survey which in the 1980's may have been relevant but once we reached the 2000's no longer applies to Canada.

    2nd is that has less than 27% market share on buyer traffic where had in excess of 90%. Privately owned Zillow is #1 in the US (because of uninhibited listing syndication)

    3rd the clear #1, universally in any country, is LISTING inventory to be seen on your website. After 100's of surveys and studies I think we all can agree this is the truth. This survey notes IDX/VOW sites as #1 but…..Americans don't have the DDF or any way to put 500,000 national listings on an agent owned site where Canadians do.

    4th the Canadian population is far more integrated with the web ( I would love to see a study on's impact on the canadian internet useage culture) with, as David above stated, a very very expensive direct mail delivery system. Luckily in Canada our clients are all on the web even our seniors.

    As of today, the #1 tech spend for any agent looking to remain relevant for this fall's market and beyond, needs to be a DDF site of their own. The choice of your DDF site provider, will dictate whether home buyers in your community go to a site you own or one owned by one of your competitors.

    Direct Mail? Imagine a letter that tells your clients, "Hey you don't need to go to anymore to look for homes here in "?????" or anywhere else in Canada for that matter. Now you and your neighbors can go to my site and see all the listings and btw, my site is far more advanced than ever was!

  3. I am surprised you would quote a US based blogging platform survey that less than 1% of their members participated in.

    The limited number of active Canadians who may or may not have participated in the survey makes most of these statistics meaningless to Canadians.

  4. American postal rates are 8 or 10 cents for a post card.

    In Canada we pay first class rates at 55 cents per card.

    THAT is why, Canadian realtors prefer direct door drops of flyers thru independent delivery or Newspaper carriers.

    IT brings the distribution costs back to less than 5 cents per door but is un-addressed,


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