There are a lot of options when it comes to digital marketing. And which channel you should use depends upon your goals. Are you looking for immediate lead generation or to fill your pipeline for future months? To promote your business or drive more attendance to your open house?
Here’s a quick rundown of the four most popular advertising channels available to agents, as well as best practices for using each.
Ideal for: Long-term lead generation, awareness
Still the most popular social media network out there, Facebook boasts an estimated 168 million Daily Active Users (DAUs) in the U.S. and has recently surpassed television as the country’s number one time-wasting platform. In terms of engagement relative to its audience size, Facebook simply can’t be beaten, and as a result, should be part of every agent’s marketing mix.
Yet, Facebook is not a marketing cure-all.
Agents looking for immediate, high-quality, ready-to-transact homebuyers and sellers are better served allocating their marketing spend elsewhere. That’s because consumers browsing real estate listings and agent profiles on Facebook are low-intent.
Now, low-intent does not mean no-intent. Many of these consumers are looking to transact eventually; they’re just earlier in the buying process. They may be doing cursory research—e.g., learning more about a certain market, seeing how much house they can afford, etc.—or they could be planning for something further down the road, like after a wedding or when they hit a certain savings goal.
So, if you can stay top of mind throughout their research and decision phase you’re that much more likely to win their business when they are ready to hire an agent or purchase a property—remember the vast majority of consumers hire the first agent they come in contact with. And Facebook allows agents to target and nurture these someday-ready-to-transact leads more effectively than anywhere else.
You can calibrate your campaigns to zero in on these users and nurture them with dynamic ads overtime, creating multiple touchpoints and refining your messaging so you’re present and easily contactable when they’re ready to hire an agent.
Ideal for: Short-term lead generation, finding high intent buyers and sellers
When it comes to intent, think of Google as the opposite of Facebook: Whereas Facebook users are earlier in their real estate journeys, those who are searching on Google are much more likely to transact in the short term, as they’ve moved beyond the “browsing phase” and are directly searching for real estate. In fact, more serious homebuyers and sellers turn to Google than marketplace websites like Zillow and realtor.com.
If your goal is to market your current listings or find serious sellers, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the world’s most popular search engine. It does, after all, boast the single largest audience on the internet.
Pro-tip for getting the most out of your Google ads:
A crucial detail many agents miss when running ads? Adding their business address to their local search ad. It seems like a simple enough step, right? Here’s why you’ve probably missed this setting in the Google Ads platform:
1. The ability to add your business address is a bit hidden in the depths of Google’s settings, so it’s difficult for non-PPC experts to find. Google calls it an ad extension, and within the extension options is a location extension. This setting appends your business address to your ad.
2. Your Google Ads account must be linked to your Google business profile to activate the setting. This is because the address on your profile must be verified by an additional process, so Google knows with certainty that your business is located where you say it is.
This simple action gives your ad a huge boost on Google Search. Google places a greater value on ads that have more information, like a business address. Therefore, the search giant is more likely to give your ad a higher ranking on the search engine results page (SERP) when a consumer’s GPS location is near your address. When the ad is more relevant, consumers are more likely to take action. This improves your ad’s click-through rate, increases your lead volume and optimizes your overall ad spend.
Ideal for: Marketing videos and virtual tours, finding first-time and younger homebuyers
Whereas Facebook’s audience skews older, Instagram tends toward the younger. It’s the most popular social media platform among millennials, now the largest home-buying demographic in the U.S., and nearly half of all Americans aged 18-49 use it every day. It boasts an engagement rate of up to 10X higher than Facebook. And it’s particularly adept at aspirational and lifestyle advertising, of which real estate is included.
But Instagram isn’t just about marketing to first-time and younger homebuyers. Ever since the pandemic, the social network has become the ideal platform for advertising virtual tours and open houses. It makes sense. Instagram was built for media sharing. And as result, promoted videos are more seamless and less intrusive when compared to competing channels.
Right now, this is critically important. As the pandemic continues, many would-be homebuyers are becoming more selective about the open houses they intend, only showing up in-person when they believe there is a serious chance they’ll make an offer. Agents who market their listings without enticing videos (and photos) run the risk of alienating otherwise serious buyers.
If you’re going to be creating virtual tours, walkthroughs and open houses anyways, you might as well leverage them in your advertising—especially when you’re targeting first-time and younger homebuyers.
Ideal for: Promoting open houses, virtual billboards and road signs
Waze, a navigation app, is often overlooked as an advertising platform, which is a shame, as there’s perhaps no advertising platform better for advertising an upcoming open house.
Waze offers three types of advertisements, all of which allow agents to safely target drivers within a specified radius of a target location. When a user interacts with any of these ads, they’ll be offered an option to (re)direct their GPS navigation to your intended location. All prospects need to do is click “Take me there” to receive individualized, step-by-step directions. It’s particularly effective when you’re advertising an open house that might be a bit out of the way.
Right now, as many consumers are eschewing public transportation and ride-sharing services in favor of driving themselves, Waze has become one of the hottest trends in real estate marketing.
Waze ads are also effective in reaching those prospective homebuyers who are social distancing and hesitant about in-person interactions. These consumers are still out there driving, and Waze ads can serve as a sort of digital billboard, raising awareness for a listing they otherwise might not have known about.
Instead of planting a sign in a lawn or posting open house notifications at the top of a busy street, why not take your promotion digital? Now is the perfect time.
How Homesnap Helps
Homesnap automates the ad-buying process, so agents don’t have to create ads from scratch or have an extensive knowledge of digital marketing. We’ll create customized and optimized ads on your behalf—copy and imagery included—and as you continue your advertising, our digital marketing experts will work behind the scenes to calibrate your campaigns for maximum return.
We also make it easy to quickly and easily adjust your advertising, so as your goals change, you can shift to the networks that make the most sense for you. For example: Have an upcoming open house? In a single click, you can pivot your marketing spend to include a heavy emphasis on Waze and Instagram. Then, once the property goes off the market, you can just as easily switch that spend to Facebook or Google or reduce your marketing budget entirely. It’s that easy—no having to flip between platforms and creatives and targeting capabilities yourself. You can manage all your marketing from a single, easy-to-use interface.
And it isn’t just ease of use that makes Homesnap Pro Ads so appealing. Because we can leverage consumer data from the millions of homebuyers and sellers who use the Homesnap app, we can target higher-intent consumers with far more precision than DIY alternatives. Simply put: You’re much more likely to reach the right consumers—and get a higher ROI—with Homesnap Pro Ads than anywhere else.