Adwerx expands digital ad platform for real estate agents

Real estate advertising company Adwerx had added a new revenue stream by expanding its digital advertising platform to mobile devices.

"The same great Adwerx now works on mobile," said Jed Carlson, CEO of the Durham startup. "We are expecting this to help grow the business."

Adwerx has 37 employees, up from 21 workers when it spun out of ReverbNation in January. Its service, used by more than 15,000 real estate agents nationwide, aims to make it easy for agents to post basic online awareness ads that highlight the agents and their contact information. Agents pay anywhere from $120 to more than $1,000 per quarter for the service, which uses "behavioral targeting" to reach people whose online browsing indicates they may be interested in buying a home.

Up until now that service has targeted online ads for desktop and laptop users, but Wednesday the company announced its new mobile app ads that are specially configured for smaller screens – smartphones and tablets. The mobile offering was first made available last week to agents who work with real estate agencies that Adwerx has established relationships with, such as Berkshire Hathaway, RE/Max and Century 21.

Mobile advertising will cost roughly twice as much as the company's online ads, which Carlson said is a matter of supply and demand, especially since the mobile service includes higher-priced ads on the Facebook mobile NewsFeed and popular mobile apps.

"The cost of the mobile ads to us is substantially more than the Web ads, and that's why the price to the end-user is more," he said.

Carlson said Adwerx's new mobile app ads are "a sign of the times" given that, according to comScore, 52 percent of online activity is via smartphones and tablets.

"We are now in a mobile-first society," he said.

David Ranii: 919-829-4877, @dranii