Young and first-time homebuyers are an increasingly relevant demographic. Not only are they an exciting new revenue stream, comprising 36 percent (and counting) of all homebuyers, but they’re also a recurring one: Millennials move about once every two years, a rate 3x more often than baby boomers, their parent’s generation.
What’s interesting, though, isn’t so much the fact that millennials are moving so often, but where they’re moving. You’d think frequent address changes would be a result of far-flung relocations, say, across the country, or at the very least, across the state. But yet, millennials, like previous generations before them, tend not to stray farther than an 18-or-so-mile radius from their place of birth. As to why they’re moving about the same area so much—who knows? Maybe they’re viewing houses as an investment vehicle, hoping to turn a profit and perpetually upgrade to a bigger home like those people who barter a pen into a Porsche on Craigslist. Maybe they’re just the bored, finicky types every other generation perceives them to be.
Whatever the exact cause, for real estate agents, this shift in home buying trends presents a unique and lucrative opportunity: Whereas client-agent interactions with older demographics tend to be viewed through a one-and-done lens—you make the sale and it’s over—with millennials, a relationship spanning multiple transactions isn’t just conceivable, it’s downright probable. And what agent in the world wouldn’t be thrilled at the prospect of returning customers?
Thus, we at Homesnap believe agents should be doing everything within their power to market to a younger client base.
Step One: Understand where millennials are
Yes, you’re probably thinking social media. And yes, you would be right; young people are on a lot of social media sites. But the engagement on them differs significantly, and it’s important to know which ones resonate the most.
Take Instagram, for example. You may know it simply as a site for image sharing, but it’s far more than that: It’s the “in” social network, and advertising possibilities on the site are endless. Instagram is fabled among advertisers for its unmistakably engaged users who open the app multiple times a day and for a significant amount of time. Oh yeah, and it has 1 billion monthly active users.
If you want to meet users where they are, Instagram is the place to do it. While Facebook is America’s homepage, Instagram is vying for that title, having become the go-to for fashion, travel and shopping, which, not coincidentally, all feature visually driven, aspirational images (more on that later). In fact, more than a third of the social platform’s users have purchased directly from an ad. No other social network can beat that.
These numbers are no coincidence. Instagram’s targeting allows you to reach users who have relevant interests and who’ve taken action on ads similar to what you plan to publish. Instagram is small business-friendly and consistently outperforms other advertising platforms — it delivers 120 times more engagement than Twitter, for example.
Step Two: Understand your advertising options on Instagram
Since every piece of content on Instagram is an image or a video, it’s a natural venue for ads related to open house, listings and your professional profile, and there are a number of ways you can display them:
Visual by nature, stories are updates that last 24 hours and appear at the top of users’ feeds. Seventy percent of IG users watch them every single day, and since studies show that catching consumers when they’re relaxed is more likely to end up in conversions, hiding in the depths of stories is a tried and true method.
Instagram ads are great because they’re non-invasive, and post ads are no exception: They look like native posts. The main difference is that post ads include a call to action and allow you to link to either a website or your Instagram profile. Use just one image or include a bunch in a carousel.
Both story and post ads can be videos, too! Get creative and remember that Instagram is less formal than other sites, so make sure to showcase your personality.
Step Three: Consider the quality of your visuals
Countless studies (just Google it, and you’ll see) have espoused the fact that millennials and their younger counterparts, Gen-Z, prefer visuals as a means of communication as opposed to text. It’s why emojis are a thing, traditional publishers are “pivoting to video,” and Instagram is so popular (more on that in little bit). And these days, the standard advice to catching younger eyeballs is that your content, advertising or otherwise, should be visually appealing above all else.
Fortunately for real estate agents, visual communications should be nothing new. As an agent, you’ve probably noticed that buying and selling houses relies on photos, videos, walkthroughs, stories and more — if a home doesn’t look nice, it’s not going to sell nice. The difference between then and now, however, is maybe back then an image didn’t necessarily have to be in high definition. Or maybe, in certain instances, compelling copy would suffice in a place when an otherwise striking image wasn’t available.
Well, times have changed. With every real estate agent having a camera right in their pocket, there really isn’t much of an excuse for a lack of high-quality visuals of a property. Nowadays, if you don’t have them, the assumption of the younger demographic, fair or not, is that you’re hiding something.
Homesnap Pro Ads on Instagram
Homesnap automates the Instagram ad buying process. Our experience running thousands of advertising campaigns at any given time, in combination with our ability to leverage our consumer on-site behavior for deeper insights, allows us to more precisely target in-market consumers (such as millennials).
Agents who use Homesnap will never have to create ads from scratch or have an extensive knowledge of digital marketing. Additionally, all the information in ads is autopopulated directly from your MLS. So, for example, if your listing price changes, it’ll automatically be updated; no manual work from you.
Millennial home buying habits are unique, giving real estate agents the opportunity to maintain client relationships for a career, not just a single transaction. And Instagram is the best way for agents to advertise with stylish visuals to attract this young, photo-loving demographic that’s increasingly interested in buying…and buying.