customer-centricToday’s real estate broker faces some difficult decisions when it comes to online advertising. The choices are often predicated upon what your competition is doing; what sellers demand; traffic and leads generated by your website or franchise website; website owner terms of use; who gets the lead; who pays – agent or broker. It is really quite a mess. It is so bad, that many large firms have walked away from it entirely and leave it up to the agent. Other firms have taken the proverbial bull by the horn and worked hard to market listings online is a very controlled and purposeful fashion. Howard Hanna is one of those brokers.

About Howard Hanna

Howard Hanna is among the most dominant online marketing brokers in America. In their core cities of Pittsburgh and Cleveland – traffic to their broker website is greater than the national sites like, Zillow, Trulia, and (Hitwise). But Howard Hanna stretches well beyond those two metropolitan areas. The firm covers most of Pennsylvania, most of Ohio, and parts of Virginia, Michigan, upstate New York, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland (169 offices in total). They are the 4th largest firm in North America trading 52,827 homes and $9.7 billion in closed sales in 2013.

Howard Hanna is also a full service firm offering consumers services in Mortgage, Title, and Insurance. An important component of the arrangement is not only that broker competition is not displayed on a Howard Hanna listing, but neither is any other competition from home services companies. Howard Hanna listings are generating leads for all of the affiliated companies they have. The effort also extends to the mobile application too.

What is important about this announcement is that it is a renewal. Howard Hanna executive, Hoby Hanna made a statement made a statement about their online strategy back in February of 2012 announcing a partnership with Zillow and with when the firm committed more than $500,000 to effort. In 2012, the decision the firm made was a bit of a well calculated and well researched test. They did not know what the outcomes would be. Clearly the renewal is a signal that the strategy has been successful.

In addition to the link back to, this image shows most of the 8 key additional areas of promotion Howard Hanna is purchasing on – it is like no other page on

House Listing Ad


  1. Banner ads are to Howard Hanna
  2. 25 High resolution photos
  3. Lead Form goes to listing agent
  4. Listing Agent Branding
  5. Office Branding
  6. Mortgage Branding
  7. If the agent has other listings, they are also marketed on this page or they default to other Howard Hanna listings
  8. Background of the site is taken over with Howard Hanna branding.

Effectively, this Howard Hanna page on is like an extension of the broker’s own website in almost every way.

Howard Hanna represents one of the three strategies that WAV Group has found to be successful in online portal marketing. We call it the All-In strategy. If you are going to syndicate to publishers, it is a good idea to use premium advertising to insure the protection of broker data, the integrity of leads back to the firm or agent, and assuring the upmost service related to listing accuracy.

Another online strategy we have found to be effective is truncating and modifying the content that is syndicated – effectively sending the publishers less data than would be found on the broker website. You can also modify the description text to include the name of the listing agent and their phone number. Some brokers even add the broker logo and other advertising as photos to their listing feeds.

Lastly, some brokers have completely removed all of their listings from syndication and have experienced a lot of online success from doing so. These benefits include happier agents who were suffering from lead fatigue. More broker website traffic. More leads from the broker website. More control over broker data and more privacy extended to the buyer by removing marketing photos from the Internet after the home is sold.