When Should You Use Instagram for Your Real Estate Marketing?

When Should You Use Instagram for Your Real Estate Marketing?

Note:  The COVID-19 pandemic has made marketing on Instagram cheaper than ever.  If you’re considering advertising on the social media platform, now is an opportune time. 

More than one billion people use Instagram every month. However, the appeal of the network isn’t so much its outsized user base, as impressive as it is, but rather how well the platform lends itself to marketing, and in particular, real estate marketing. 


Engagement: 63% of Instagram users check the app daily for as much as 28 minutes a day, and 200 million users look at a business profile every single day. In fact, engagement on Instagram is higher than Facebook, with some brands reporting engagement rates multiplying by as much as 10x.

Photo Sharing: The photograph-first build of Instagram makes it ideal for advertisers promoting visual, aspirational content, and as such, is the go-to social network for fashion, travel, and shopping brands. Similarly, real estate agents with enticing property photographs won’t find a more suitable platform to market their listings.

Target Demographics: Two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 and just under 50% of Americans between 30 and 49 use Instagram on a regular basis. Incidentally, millennials are now the largest home-buying demographic.  Marketing your listings on the platform is the very definition of meeting customers where they are.  

How Instagram marketing works for real estate 

Using Instagram, agents can create posts and stories that appear directly in target audiences’ feeds. Though these advertisements are marked as sponsored, they appear more native and less intrusive than on other social networks, creating a comparatively seamless experience for audiences. As such, users are much less likely to skip over advertisements. 

There are three types of ads available to you: 

Stories Ads 

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. 

Instagram Stories Ads

Post Ads 

Post Ads look like native posts. The difference?  Post Ads include a call to action and allow linking to either a website or Instagram profile. Native posts, by design, do not allow hyperlinking in copy.  So, if you’re looking to drive prospects elsewhere and want as seamless an experience as possible, Post Ads are orders of magnitude more effective than native ones. 

As for the types of formats available in Post Ads, agents can use just a single image or include multiple photos (say, of various rooms of a property) in a carousel.

Instagram Post Ads

Video Ads 

Both story and post ads can be videos as well, making them an ideal avenue for marketing virtual walkthroughs and open houses and/or vocalizing a sales pitch that would go unread in text form. 

When should you use Instagram? 

There’s a lot of confusion out there regarding which networks agents should choose when running marketing campaigns. Do you target the huge audiences on Facebook? The world’s largest search engine, Google?  Millennials on Instagram? Drivers using Waze?  One? None? A combination of all of the above? 

When your photos are excellent

As alluded to earlier, Instagram is the world’s premier photo-sharing platform. For agents with listings that feature visually striking images of the property, Instagram is far and away the best option to optimize their draw. 

When you want to target young or first-time homebuyers

Millennials, now the largest home-buying demographic, are the largest user base on Instagram, and millennials use the network more than any other social media platform. Yet, the size of the millennial user base isn’t the only reason to use Instagram.  

Millennial home tastes differ compared to previous generations, as they often choose to eschew the concept of starter homes, opting instead for more permanent, move-in ready properties. As a result, they’re often on the lookout for more amenities—features like open spaces, solar power, natural lighting, etc.—which, fortunately, make for good photo opportunities. 

So, if you have a property with these features, adding multiple photos to a carousel ad and promoting the property on Instagram is an excellent strategy. 

When you want to promote a virtual walkthrough or open house

Instagram’s unobtrusive advertising platform makes video sharing particularly effective. Though, there are two things you need to consider.

One, Instagram’s videos play without sound by default. Therefore, you should structure your virtual walkthroughs in a way that the property itself does the talking. That’s not to say you can’t have an audio component; users can opt to turn on the volume, and Instagram claims that 60% of users do. But a good rule of thumb is to assume they won’t.

Two, Instagram is not a video sharing platform, and as such, videos are limited to a minute. Instagram is not the place to post a full, multi-minute virtual walkthrough advertisement, but rather an abridged one—a highlight reel, if you will. 

That being said, it’s worth noting that if you wanted to post organically, you can use IGTV to post longer videos.  Obviously, though, your reach would be comparatively limited. 

To be clear: Chances are you’ll want to use Instagram in combination with other social networks or search engines. There will rarely be a time when Instagram should be your sole marketing option. Instead, you should consider Instagram as part of a holistic marketing strategy, with added importance when a property checks the above boxes. 

How Homesnap Pro Ads improve your Instagram advertising experience and results

Homesnap Pro Ads employs best-in-class industry marketing experts

When you entrust Homesnap Pro Ads with your Instagram advertising, you’re investing in true marketing professionals. At Homesnap, our mission is to put agents first, and we’re experts in real estate marketing, having run close to half a million ads on social platforms, with nearly 150k on Instagram alone. You can make edits to your ads whenever you’d like, but you can have the comfort of knowing that we’ll manage your ads, and do everything for you. By putting your ads in the hands of experts, you’ll never have to worry about the intricacies of targeting, retargeting and varying results of advertising again.

Tried and true testing

By advertising on Instagram with us, you can rest assured that we’ve run ads for years, and we know what hits and what doesn’t. At a macro level, it’s a formulaic process, and we’ve spent years perfecting the approach. It’s not just automation you get, but strong, results-driven marketing. From years of experience, we know exactly who to target, when and for how long. We keep abreast of the trends, stats, and predictions and optimize your advertisements accordingly. 

Impress sellers with detailed reports

We make it easy to share your campaign results with your sellers. Proving you have the digital savvy to run sophisticated marketing campaigns goes a long way to impress sellers, especially if you’re working with younger, digitally savvy, first-time homebuyers. 

Learn more about how Homesnap Pro Ads can optimize your Instagram marketing campaigns.