The most important rule in advertising is: Place your ads where your target audience will see them. Seems obvious, right? But so many real estate agents still rely on outdated tactics that simply don’t have the reach that newer, digital spaces do.
If your goal is to grow your business and reach new prospects, then social media is the place to be. These platforms are a gold mine for advertisers.
Instagram alone has 140 million adult users across the country, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. adults. Six in 10 of those users log in daily, spending an average of 30 minutes per day on the platform — with 42% of users opening the app multiple times throughout the day, giving advertisers even more opportunities to reach them. With stats like that, it’s easy to see why this social network is the third most-popular, behind YouTube and Facebook.
Audience reach and engagement are compelling reasons for making Instagram an essential part of your real estate marketing strategy. So if you hadn’t planned on advertising there, think again. Here’s when it’s best to use Instagram ads and how to optimize your ROI when you do.
When to advertise on Instagram
Instagram is a visual platform. Although you can create Post Ads or Stories Ads with text, a majority of the content is made up of photos, animations, and videos. That’s what users log in to see, and why Instagram is ideal for those beautiful new listing photos and walk-through videos you just commissioned.
This is also a platform that attracts a younger user base. Fifty-five percent of Instagrammers are between 18-34 years old, and another 18% account for those who are 35-44. If your target audience is empty nesters or retirees, this won’t be your ideal place to advertise.
As such, it’s best to use Instagram ads when you…
- have a new listing
- are promoting an open house
- want to reach first-time homebuyers
- are trying to attract a younger audience
Ad formats on Instagram
Instagram may not have 20 different types of ad units, but the few that it does offer work really well with its engaged audience. One reason is because ads are naturally interspersed among native content as users scroll their Feed or flip through Stories. That makes users more inclined to look at and engage with your ad.
To give you a better sense of your options, take a look at these attention-grabbing ad formats —all of which support both photos and videos.
This ad type appears in users’ Feeds (that’s the one people scroll through vertically). You can publish just a single photo or video or include up to 10 images in a carousel. Keep in mind that these will be cropped to a square, so choose your content wisely. All Post Ads include a caption, where you can write a description about the listing, and a call-to-action (CTA) link that will redirect anyone who clicks on it to your property listing page.
Users access their Stories at the top of Instagram and scroll horizontally to see new Stories posted by the accounts they follow. Stories Ads won’t appear in this scrollable list, but they will be seamlessly interspersed between Stories as they play, so as not to interrupt the user’s experience.
These ads are more immersive because of their full-screen, vertical format. They can play for up to 45 seconds, which is perfect for a home walk-through. Just like Post Ads, you can also include a CTA that links to a page of your choosing, such as a property listing, lead generation page, or your real estate website.
Tips for maximizing ROI on Instagram
Now that you have a better sense of when to advertise on Instagram and the creative options you have available, let’s discuss a few ways to maximize ROI for those ads.
We said it once, but we’ll say it again: Instagram is a visual platform. Your photos and videos need to be high quality. That doesn’t mean they have to be taken by a professional, but they need to be attractive enough to be scroll-stopping.
Make sure your photos and videos are:
- crisp and clear (i.e. not pixelated)
- well-lit to bring out the detail and beauty of the space
- the right size for the format you’re using (i.e. vertical for Stories and square for Posts)
Keep in mind these dos and don’ts that are specific to videos:
- Do not shake the camera or make sudden, sharp movements.
- Do talk to your audience. Sixty percent of Stories are viewed with sound on.
- Do keep moving through the property. You may lose viewers if you stop too long while talking.
Finally, consider your audience when setting up your real estate Instagram marketing strategy. You can — and should — target geographically, but you’d also be wise to take advantage of the custom audience option. This targeting capability allows you to upload your own list of leads, prospects you’re nurturing, or your sphere of influence. Instagram will match the email addresses and phone numbers that you provide to its user base and show your ads to anyone on your list who is also on the platform. That’s ad targeting at its best!
How Homesnap can help
From setup through execution, a real estate Instagram marketing strategy can be a lot of work to bring to fruition. Thousands of agents across the country use Homesnap Pro Ads to manage it all for them and save hours every week. Our marketing experts not only design, publish, and manage your ads, but they also know the right settings to switch on and off to optimize your campaign for maximum ROI so you won’t waste a dime. Learn more about how Homesnap Pro Ads can help with your Instagram marketing!