Location, location, location is constantly top of mind when it comes time for buyers to find their dream home. Today’s buyer is very different from those 10 years ago, and there are many factors that have huge implications on the real estate industry—ranging from a country’s economic, financial, political, social, and developmental issues. Given that 2020 brought additional ripple effects, we will highlight the trends that have emerged with COVID-19 and provide actionable recommendations to help brokers and realtors reassess their digital strategy and expand their online presence.
The pandemic has not only accelerated online adoption, but it has also made consumers rethink the value of space. With stay-at-home mandates in place, many indoor spaces such as offices and schools were forced to close. This drastically changed how employees work and how students learn. Companies relied heavily on technology to quickly implement work from home arrangements for non-essential workers. As workplace productivity exceeded expectations from managers and employees, it appears these policies will be here to stay for the long term. This shift to staying home was also seen in the education sector, with students adapting to virtual learning. With all these individuals now working and learning from home, there has emerged a new dynamic in households.
As the new normal evolves, people are reassessing their living situation. For many people, there is currently no longer a need to commute into work, and as a result they are opting for rural and suburban communities. Forty-four percent of Canadians would like a home with more space, such as a pool, balcony, or a large yard, while 22% of Americans have moved or know someone who has relocated since.
How Emerging Trends Are Affecting Real Estate
With sheltering-in-place still recommended, it has been challenging for realtors and brokers to physically meet with potential buyers and sellers. There are also a number of mandates that need to be followed in order for realtors to operate, including the COVID-19 guidelines set by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That said, the real estate industry pivoted by shifting to digital tools and technology to buy and sell properties. With less in-person showings permitted per location and no more open houses, realtors have adopted innovative ways to find clients and use virtual showings.
The industry had already implemented digital initiatives to streamline processes such as going paperless, digital signatures, and apps with real-time MLS listings such as Zillow, Redfin, HouseSigma or BiggerPockets. Realtors and brokers have also been learning to leverage the power of digital marketing to find and reach in-market consumers. With the majority of realtors (77%) actively using social media to build a follower base, many of them are already familiar with social advertising through their own personal social accounts. However, with consumer trends shifting, realtors should be adapting and exploring ways to further reach their desired audience outside of the walled gardens.
3 Key Programmatic Solutions to Further Extend Your Real Estate Marketing
With people staying at home and spending more time online, it is advantageous to explore how programmatic advertising can not only help you target relevant users online in a cost-efficient manner but increase customer acquisition such as booking a virtual tour. By having a well-planned holistic marketing strategy, you can reach more people programmatically to complement your social strategies. Here are a few tactics to consider to keep you closing.
1. Know Your Audience To Locate Your Ideal Buyer
Location, location, location! By leveraging programmatic advertising you will be able to locate precisely the right audience, at the right time with the right message across the internet. Audience targeting is one of the most important pieces in digital marketing. It enables you to find users online that fit your ideal customer profile through their interests, affinity towards a topic or online consumption patterns. Below are a few must try targeting solutions to find your next in-market homebuyer:
Custom Segments: Build your ideal audience segment using keywords and phrases to find users who are actively reading about real estate, or are reading about life stage events such as marriage or parenthood. It is the best way to determine a user’s intent as they actively conduct research online—52% of home buyers found the home they purchased on the internet!
CRM with Audience Lookalike Expansion: As you may have been leveraging social media to build a customer base, why not get more from your qualified audience list. Pairing your CRM list with Audience Lookalike Expansion is a very powerful tool to locate new users who have similar online behaviours as your existing customers who have either recently purchased a home or are in the process of purchasing. This gives you an opportunity to extend your brand and service offerings to reach online users outside of social.
3rd-Party Data Partners: Including 3rd-party segments can increase your overall audience scope and give you access to more in-depth targeting such as transactional data, app install data, or in-market buyers. Consider leveraging 3rd-party data to target users who are actively in-market engaging with listings from the nation’s top real estate brokers.
Retargeting: Reconnect with users who have been to your website or have engaged with a video ad to remind them of your service and how you can help them find their dream home. Through a multi-channel approach you can keep your audience engaged while using an effective way to nurture and bring users closer to booking a virtual appointment with you.
2. Reach More People Natively
Demographics shift with a country’s aging population, millennials are naturally going to be the upcoming large pool of potential first-time home buyers as their purchase power increases. With homeownership rates currently well below 64%, many economists believe that this generation will salvage the slow home market in the near future.
Entering the real estate market is not easy as it is a huge investment with a lot of legal and financial implications for any buyer. By leveraging native ads outside of the walled gardens, you can amplify blog posts that educate your audience about the real estate market and the home buying process in general, keeping them up to date—whether they are financially ready or not.
Millennials are digital nomads that are known to do their fair share of research before making a purchase—but when it comes to real estate, all generations will look online for properties as the first step in their home search process. Creating content on things to do and know when entering into the market can be useful in capturing customer engagement and will better influence brand recall when they are ready to purchase. It is also the easiest format to extend your reach when transitioning from social media platforms into programmatic advertising, without the need for additional resources.
3. Consider Virtual Real Estate Through Banner Ads
Display banners are essentially virtual billboards but with trackable metrics to know precisely how many people saw and engaged with your ad(s). There are static and rich media banners giving you the flexibility to be creative in the way you interact with your audience online. Additionally, this format can be leveraged across your marketing funnel.
Rich media banners can be used as an upper funnel strategy to capture attention for awareness and provide insights to learn more about your audience. For example, discovery ads can help you learn the type of properties your target audience is interested in or where geographically there is demand when it comes to people looking for a home. In a mid-funnel campaign, you can incorporate a video asset into a display ad placement showcasing different properties to resemble a tour of unit—only virtually! Alternatively, you can utilize an interactive unit like the example below that leverages photos giving users the option to view different rooms within a unit.
Lastly, as a lower funnel tactic, you can drive consideration through lead ads. These allow your target audience to complete a form with just a few clicks, making it easy to book a virtual appointment with you.
As we continue to adapt to the uncertainties surrounding us, being present online will extend awareness to what you are doing to align with the changing consumer needs. It will help you gain and solidify their trust in using your services when they are ready to close.
Connect with your StackAdapt Representative to collaborate and level-up your digital strategy.