Bay Area News Group launches digital advertising tool for Realtors

By Olga Mitina

Bay Area News Group

San Jose, California, United States


I was at a digital marketing event recently, and a presenter opened by saying, “You do not go online today. You live online.”

Our world, for better or for worse, is increasingly a digitally connected environment. There are 3.16 billion people on social media, 5.14 billion mobile devices, and the average time spent on social media daily is two hours. The acceleration of tech and digital is especially obvious in Silicon Valley, where our headquarters is located in San Jose.

It’s like being in the middle of a time lapse with a constant blur of new technology and new ideas around it: self driving vehicles, security guard robots, blockchain, Virtual Reality (VR), Big Data, and other innovations. We see new tech start-ups popping up daily it seems. 

The city of San Jose is regarded as the capital of Silicon Valley, and if you Google the phrase “the newspaper of Silicon Valley,” our newspaper brands — The Mercury News and East Bay Times — come up in the top three results. No pressure, right? All verticals are pivoting differently, and having a digital strategy is critical for survival.

The real estate vertical has shifted primarily to digital, and the majority of home buyers now research online first before turning to a real estate agent. Sites such as Zillow and Redfin continue to disrupt the real estate domain.

Where does newspaper advertising fit into this picture? Real estate agents still believe in print. Just look at all the direct mail advertising that arrives in U.S. mailboxes from “your friendly neighbourhood real estate agent.” They also still believe in the local print newspaper and the reach it provides.

It is vital for the newspaper sales organisation to have a digital advertising offering tailored specifically to real estate agents. It should be an offering that can be leveraged as a stand-alone strategy or in conjunction with print advertising.  

Bay Area News Group created LeadHax to offer realtors something uniquely tailored to their needs that also is affordable and doesn't require sophisticated technical knowledge.
Bay Area News Group created LeadHax to offer realtors something uniquely tailored to their needs that also is affordable and doesn't require sophisticated technical knowledge.

This is why LeadHax, a powerful digital marketing tool for real estate agents, was born. Named for the idea of “new tricks” to generate leads, LeadHax creates ad campaigns for real estate agents, showing them to people interested in real estate located within a 15-mile radius of a postal code. 

Prior to building LeadHax, we performed an initial market analysis and found that very few of the various digital solutions on the market catered specifically to real estate agent. Most of the existing solutions were fragmented, complicated, and expensive. Oftentimes they were perceived as too new and untrustworthy of agents’ time and money. In general, real estate agents are not particularly known to be early adopters of technology or a risk-taking bunch.

All of the above provided fertile ground for our local real estate team to innovate its current ad offering and launch our simple, powerful LeadHax platform, which provides advertising via multiple devices. This new advertising platform is separately branded so that it has the capacity to go nationwide to other company-owned newspaper markets, as well as to markets where no media are owned.


LeadHax digital ads have been helping industry professionals since 2015, while performing three times better than average online campaign click-through rates. The underlying LeadHax technology uses sophisticated targeting and data-gathering processes to ensure the properties in an agent’s message are displayed to the people who are likely to be the most interested in them.

LeadHax is able to place the ad on 92% of all Web sites because we target a specific group of people. We are able to place the ad on any site they are on, including top real estate sites. LeadHax also offers Facebook ad campaigns for the listings.

Success over the past few years with the agent model has prompted us to launch a more versatile and more scalable model named LeadHax Pro. This product is specifically targeting real estate brokers and aims to help them attract and retain top agents.

A key part of the LeadHax strategy is understanding the needs of brokers and offering a solution that saves them time and money.
A key part of the LeadHax strategy is understanding the needs of brokers and offering a solution that saves them time and money.

Better yet, LeadHax Pro is fully automated. Here’s how it works: A new listing is identified by the LeadHax platform. An ad is automatically generated with the broker’s company color scheme, broker logo, listing agent photo, property information, contact information, and links to the broker’s Web site. Each listing campaign delivers 5,000 impressions over 17 ad exchanges to an audience identified through multiple data sets that pinpoint people who have recently shown an interest in real estate.

This capability makes LeadHax ads available to be shown on more than 92% of the Web. Each LeadHax Pro campaign for a listing runs for seven consecutive days within a 15-mile radius of the listing. On the sixth day, the listing agent receives a campaign report on the ad’s performance. The agent will then be offered the opportunity to continue the campaign if desired. Another bonus: Agents also can target Facebook and Instagram.

“LeadHax gives me the power to advertise on virtually any Web site, setting me apart from the other agents in our ultra-competitive market,” said Quincy Virgilio, a broker for Coldwell Banker.

LeadHax Pro allows brokers to focus on what’s important: recruiting and retaining top agents. Sometimes what differentiates a broker can be the effectiveness of a solid marketing plan. Because it’s automated and affordable, our platform frees up the broker and allows them to be more competitive with agent compensation. In a time when it’s so competitive to recruit top talent, that can make the difference when bringing talent on board.

About Olga Mitina

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