Industry Insights
A View From the Top: NYC’s #1 Online Real Estate Publisher BrickUnderground


Teri Rogers



For those of us that aren’t familiar with, please tell us a little more about your online publication, and audience.

BrickUnderground is a content destination site for NYC real estate consumers that helps 4 million unique buyers, sellers, renters and apartment dwellers a year navigate one of the most complicated and expensive real estate markets in the world. With over 7,000 original articles on thousands of NYC real estate topics, we are the top organic search result for high-intent searches such as ‘how to buy a nyc apartment,’ ‘how to sell a nyc apartment,’ ‘best apartment search sites” and many many more. is a top 10,000 US ranked site on Quantcast, with a valuable, affluent audience. Has verification of an audience that earns >$150k per year by a neutral measurement service like Quantcast helped in any way with advertiser interest for direct ad buys?

Yes. In a city where you need to earn $130,000 a year to rent an average one-bedroom apartment (annual income must be 40-45x the monthly rent), that’s a key, almost starting-line metric for landlords, brokers and developers.


What is your take on programmatic advertising?

The sad truth for advertisers is that programmatic’s downward pressure on CPMs is causing many to miss out on valuable niche audiences.   Rather than sell our media for scraps (and, just as bad, put up with low-quality, poorly targeted ads on our site), we either sell direct to local advertisers who grasp the value of our audience, or roll them into far more lucrative longterm content marketing/native advertising programs that comprise the bulk of our revenue.  We’re about to experiment a bit with programmatic native and I’m interested to see what that will bring. That said, a niche site like ours doesn’t have the scale to generate much revenue this way. Like other niche publishers, our core value proposition to advertisers isn’t sending masses of traffic — it’s sending exactly the right traffic.


Have you had the opportunity to work on any private marketplace or programmatic deals with brands or agencies? If so, what was your experience with these technologies?

So far, the comparatively small number of impressions we can make available does not make these types of deals very compelling for us to pursue.


What do you think the typical revenue breakout is for a mid-sized publisher, between direct ad buys, revenue from exchanges & ad networks, and other sources?  

When you find out, please let me know. :)


What do you think are some of the biggest challenges in the advertising ecosystem today?

Ad blocking and ad blindness, programmatic driving CPMs lower, the rising demand for viewability paired with the conflicting tools for measuring it, the explosion of digital content diluting the effectiveness of any one buy.  


What about the biggest challenges that you specifically face as a publisher?  

Although we have a fantastic audience for the right advertisers, our biggest challenge right now with a relatively small sales team is getting on advertisers’ radars.  In addition, when it comes to dealing with agencies, our most valuable asset for both us and advertisers—sponsored content—does not fit very neatly into a CPM model.


Is there any one core service, or technology that you think the industry is missing?  

A way for advertisers to discover and tap into valuable niche audiences like BrickUnderground’s at a price that makes sense for everyone. Also, more audience extension solutions that niche publishers could deploy relatively easily across multiple platforms, and cost effectively without much investment in money, time or human resources.


What are some internal tools you currently use to manage your ad operations, or ad deployment process?

We rely pretty much on DFP right now. When we expand further into audience extension, that will probably change.


Lastly, what is your take on the future of ad buying and selling, in the context of publisher direct buys?

For niche publishers I think the future is direct buys and audience extension—leveraging our platforms to enable advertisers to reach incredibly segmented, high-intent, valuable audiences (in BrickUnderground’s case, in-market renters, buyers, sellers, renovators, etc) all over the web including Facebook, YouTube, and more.  We are testing custom audience segments on Facebook right now with very promising results. As a publisher, it’s kind of like one of those dreams you have where you discover an extra room in your apartment that you never knew was there; as an advertiser, it’s an opportunity to reach your dream high-intent audience without wasting a lot of impressions on people who aren’t interested in what you’re selling. is New York City’s most popular and trusted online resource for residential real estate consumers, relied on by 300,000+ buyers, sellers, renters and dwellers each month. We deliver the inside scoop on buying, selling, renting and living in one of the most expensive and important real estate markets in the world.

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