The Real Deal: Microtargeting on Social Media

The days of seeking out new followers and simply crossing one’s fingers and hoping for the best are over. Top real estate firms using social media to market luxury residential properties are finding that new microtargeting techniques are allowing them to pinpoint potential clients practically at the individual level. As recently as 2015, firms were noting that having a high volume of followers on social media was not enough to convert online leads into actual sales. Today, it’s a different story. “It’s really the difference between a buckshot approach, which is what the advertising looked like a few years ago, to more laser-focused precision,” according to Jared Seeger, founder of Knightsbridge Park, who was recently quoted in an article on The Real Deal. “You’re really homing in on your desired audience.” Firms can use geographic information, socioeconomic data, and other finely tuned criteria to meet their real estate match.

Digital marketing firms are using everything from ZIP codes, shopping habits, and employment information to adjacent information like food, design, or cultural interests to find buyers. The ideal candidate for a new luxury condo building in San Francisco that’s perched within easy commuting distance of the city’s tech companies, as well as lots of hip restaurants and bars, will look very different online from the person who’d like to live on the Upper East Side of New York City near venerable museums and luxury boutiques. Instead of simply targeting a specific income bracket, marketers can use far richer data about a potential client’s likes and interests to find the right audience for a property. In fact, The Real Deal reports that overall paid advertising on Facebook hit $27.6 billion in 2016, proving that scores of companies, including those in the real estate sector and far beyond, are using social media to sift through the noise in search of their perfect clients and customers.

The other big site attracting marketing wizards in today’s real estate landscape is Instagram. The rise of well-known “influencers” like Tavi Gevinson, who worked with Two Trees Development to promote 300 Ashland where she rents an apartment, has opened a new channel to advertisers. Gevinson, the young fashion journalist who founded the blog Style Rookie in 2008 (and who was crowned “Queen of the Millennials” by Janet Mock on the MSNBC talk show So Popular!), has more than half a million followers who skew young, stylish, artsy, and urban. Working with influencers to market a property can also cut through the typical formality of a real estate listing with staged photographs. Seeing how a well-known figure lives—which amenities in the building they use, where they walk their dog or get their morning latte nearby—can make a building seem approachable and attractive to potential clients.

“It’s a lot more now than just putting up pictures of well-curated interiors,” Seeger says. “Now it’s about creating and sharing compelling imagery and stories, but it’s also about audiences you target.”