In today’s age of the ad-weary consumer, it can be difficult to get your real estate marketing to stand out from the crowd. This is where behavioural targeting comes in. But what is it, and how can you make it work for you as a real estate agent?
I bet you've noticed ads following you around online? It's starting to feel a bit like the movie Minority Report, don't you think? I'm certain digital billboard advertising is not far behind, but in the meantime we enjoy digital ads that follow us around the web and the odd human billboard that follows us around in the real world!
Well, there's a reason why you've become a 'person of interest' to these brands. So, today we explore the topic of behavioural targeting and remarketing, and uncover how you can use it pip your rivals to the post and attract home sellers back to your agent or agency website.
Image source: human-billboards.com.au
The problem with digital marketing
Consumers today are used to seeing ads everywhere they look online. They can recognise them instantly and have learned to tune out – we’re bombarded with so much unnecessary information on that we have all adapted to retain only what we really need.
This isn’t good news if you’re trying to market yourself as a real estate agent. Home sellers just aren’t biting the way they used to. As a result, conversion rates have decreased, pushing up the cost of new client acquisition at an alarming rate. You’re bound to have seen a rise in your web marketing costs over the years, whether that’s marketing properties or marketing your own brand. And whether that's portal advertising, Google or Facebook advertising, the costs are rising.
What is behavioural targeting?
Behavioural targeting is a way of directing your marketing at homeowners who are most likely to be interested in you and your services. Think back to the ads you've noticed following you online; they will, in some way, be connected to your interests or the websites you have visited recently.
This is known as behavioural targeting. It yields a conversion rate of 6.8 percent, compared with 2.8 percent for non-targeted ads. So, what if you could use data from visitors to your website to go one better?
Remarketing – those ads you see all the time
But how is it that certain ads seemingly follow you around the web? You look at something on a particular site and then suddenly you’re seeing ads for it everywhere online, even on Facebook.
This is remarketing – you’re being retargeted because you’ve shown interest in a particular product online but you didn’t convert. Now the advertiser is hoping that if you see the same product enough times, you’ll eventually want it so much that you’ll change your mind.
Personally, when I consider the idea of remarketing, Isla Fisher pops to mind from her movie Wedding Crashers. Remember the part where she says “Don’t ever leave me, because [wherever you go] I’ll find you”! Well that's remarketing – cute, but creepy at the same time, right?!
Video credit: Youtube - Wedding Crashers, I will find you
But the thing is, it works. Because, consumers are 10 times more likely to click on remarketing ads than regular ads. This makes it a cost-effective form of marketing as it yields a much higher ROI than other marketing channels. However, as your remarketing ads are only seen by people who have already visited your website, it doesn’t generate any new leads. This is why remarketing should always be used in conjunction with your regular advertising.
Retargeting isn’t just useful for increasing conversions, however. It’s also a highly effective way of growing brand awareness as you’ll appear first in the results whenever that site visitor does another relevant search. This gives you an instant advantage over your competitors!
How your website visitors are targeted
Retargeting generally works by tracking visitors to your website using cookies, the snippets of code that make it quicker to load the sites you visit regularly. The cookies that are installed on someone’s device when they visit your website can be used to trigger a response from ad providers such as Google. The visitor will then start seeing your ads on just about every site they visit.
Retargeting ads allow you to track users’ online behaviour using their IP information. You can see which pages of your site they’ve visited, which they spent the longest on and so forth, and which other sites they visit. This means you can tailor your advertising to appeal to them directly, giving you the best chance of a conversion. The more relevant the ad, the more likely the consumer is to click on it.
This is why cross-platform retargeting works extremely well. Consumers are seeing your ads alongside everything else they search for, integrating the idea of you or your business with all their other interests. This also includes ads on social media.
Retargeting is available on Facebook
As we all know, Facebook is an extremely powerful marketing platform these days. But, how can you use it to remarket your real estate brand to people who have previously shown an interest in what you have to offer?
Facebook advertising allows you to target Custom Audiences – audiences built from data that already exists, or that is easy to get from people who have already shown an interest in your real estate agency. These include people who have visited your website, as well as your existing customer base.
Image source: Spencer E Holtaway on Flickr
To retarget Facebook users who have previously visited your site, you will need to install a snippet of code called the Facebook Pixel on your website. You can then use your site traffic data to segment your Facebook ads so people are only shown the specific things (services or properties) they’ve shown an interest in on your site.
Another advantage of using Facebook for remarketing is that it also allows you to target the friends of those people you are retargeting. This can be a great way of generating new leads at the same time as driving more conversions.
Remarketing using Google
Google is a versatile platform for remarketing as it allows you to retarget your website visitors in a variety of different ways. Your ads will appear on other sites they visit, but in addition, if they have visited your YouTube channel or shown interest in any of your videos, they will be shown your ads whenever they visit YouTube or the Display Network (Google’s partner websites).
Google also allows you to make your remarketing even more effective by incorporating it alongside your other Google AdWords campaigns and setting your account to track conversions. This will give you demographic data about your visitors that will enable you to target your remarketing as effectively as possible.
How to use retargeting in your real estate business
Retargeting works particularly well in real estate marketing, as nobody is going to make a major life decision involving hundreds of thousands of dollars without doing their research thoroughly!
That means plenty of web searches, so your ad will be seen by them multiple times. And, the credibility of your real estate agency over others will subconsciously grow in their minds.
It’s advisable to segment your audience so each visitor is seeing an ad relevant to them, based on what they’ve previously searched for. It’s likely that your audience will be searching based on the type of property they own or one which they are looking to move into, for example as a one-bed apartment or three-bed house. This gives you the highest chance of conversion.
Remarketing works equally well for you when trying to attract buyers for your clients property, as well as for you in attracting potential sellers. You can segment your ads so those visitors who viewed your Buy pages verses your Sell pages and retarget them separately. And, make sure your ads have headlines that are relevant to sellers, such as “How much is my house worth?”
You can also use remarketing to reinforce your brand identity, i.e. all your ads should feature your logo and web address to keep them in people’s minds.
Things to consider when planning a remarketing campaign
Make sure your segmentation is accurate. If people constantly see ads that are not relevant to them they will find you annoying. It’s also important to get the duration of your campaigns right. You need to target people for long enough to stick in their minds but not so long that you become irritating. A duration of 14-30 days is probably a good starting point. More than 90 days is never advisable.
If someone you have been retargeting converts, you should remove them from your remarketing list straight away. This way you won't annoy them with constant ads for a property or services they’re already considering.
You will also need to factor in the cost of a remarketing campaign. This currently stands at around $5 per day, but has much better returns than other forms of online marketing.
Remarketing can help you identify likely buyers and sellers, build brand awareness, generate leads, and most importantly, increase sales. Getting it right could make a huge difference to your success as a real estate agent.
Banner image credit: Ed Gregory on Stokpic