Instagram is no longer a site to upload your holiday pictures. Over the years, marketers, businesses and influencers have taken to Instagram, converting it into an excellent place to advertise and market. And with 83% of the home buyers depending on visuals to buy a house, there's no way better than to market your listings on the most famous visual platform: Instagram!
Therefore, in this article, we have decided to let you know how to get started with Instagram advertising for the real estate industry. And what you can do to ensure maximum returns on investment!
Set Clear Objectives
The most common reason for an unsuccessful advertising campaign is the lack of direction and goal. If you are not clear about what you want to achieve, you will never know how to go about your ad campaign.
First, ask yourself what you want to run an ad for?
Do you want to raise awareness about your business? Is there a property that you are finally trying to get rid of? Or do you want exponential growth in your Instagram audience?
Knowing your initial objectives means you will know which type of Instagram campaign you would like to run. An awareness campaign is perfect if you are trying to get even footings in a new city. Similarly, consideration or conversion campaigns are for you if you have slightly bigger goals along with a slightly larger budget.
It’s crucial to figure out your objectives in the beginning because out of 13 campaign objectives available on Facebook, only 11 are available for Instagram Feed Ads, and 9 for Instagram Story Ads. Without having defined goals, you will never be able to choose an ad campaign for yourself.
Choose an Ad Format that fulfils your objectives
Instagram allows you to choose from different ad formats, but which one is better for you?
Static images are one of the oldest types of Instagram ads. Instagram lets you pair your image with a CTA button and a short ad copy. However, as a professional in the real estate industry, there's not much you can do with it.
You can take a drone shot to show off your alluring property. But such shots are found everywhere, and not all our properties are impressive enough to grab attention with a single static picture.
In fact, Forbes recommends realtors not to use static image ads because they don't let them tell a story –and that's one of the bases of any advertising campaign.
However, image ads are cheap and easy to create. And there's a way you can make them work! Use the Instagram feed-post promotion feature!
Just choose a post that has already done well on your feed, and promote that to get more audience, engagements, conversions and quick sales.
Ensure that your chosen post reflects your agency, work, and the image you have created on Instagram.
A photo of your client standing in front of the house you have just sold them might be one of the desired choices. Pair that up with a little bit of backstory, and your ad investment should pay off!
Video ads are difficult to create and perfect in comparison to any other type. However, they give your sales a boost like no other.
As a real estate professional, you can use a drone to give your viewers a real-time feel of the place. You can capture every nook and corner of the property, giving them a magnificent view of the space, location and size.
Not only that, you can use sponsored videos to tell the story of a satisfied client. You can build trust or use testimonials to attract clients.
There’s so much you can do with video ads on Instagram. And the plus point? Instagram users absolutely love videos, so much so that in 2017 they spent 80% more time watching them.
But remember, Instagram only allows 60 seconds of in-feed video ads and only 15 seconds of Instagram story video ads. So, you must start your video with an attention grabber.
Instagram allows you to mix videos and images together in Carousel Ads. And this means that you can make a full-length commercial for your property and business if you want!
With a carousel ad, you are no longer restrained to the 60 seconds video or a single image. You have the freedom to show-off your property from the inside, from the outside, and then you can add pictures of the places you really want your viewers to focus on.
For Stories, Instagram offers two types of ads: A Native Story Ad and Expandable Stories.
For Native Stories, viewers won't have to swipe. They play automatically and work well if you have a slightly longer video that you want your viewers to follow till the end. Unfortunately, Native Stories can only have 3 cards per ad.
As for the Expandable Stories, they can have 10 cards per ad, and they are perfect if you are thinking of mixing different media types. Some of the ways you can use expandable story ads as a realtor or real estate professional are:
- Showcasing the entirety of the property at once
- Showcasing multiple properties
- Highlighting the main features of a property
Depending upon your budget and your ultimate goal for an Instagram ad campaign, you can go for different approaches to get maximum ROI.
Choose a Location You Want to Target
Location is of utmost importance, both for home buyers and home sellers. If you are running an ad for a specific property, targeting people in the neighbouring cities would probably work better than targeting those present on the other side of the country.
If, however, you have a holiday home to sell, targeting residents of the cities miles away from your listed property might be a good idea.
With Instagram ads, you can not only choose to target people living in a certain region, but also the ones who are present in a particular location, or driving towards your destination location. And even those who have recently been in the area where your property is situated.
That’s an effective way to find people who are trying to start a new life and a new home in a faraway city or town.
But there's more! Say you have a house listing, and the owners are adamant about selling it to some local (people have their preferences). With Instagram ads, you can get super-specific with the location.
All you need to do is type in the address of the house listed, drag and drop a pin there, and then you can select an exact radius around it.
You can also use postal codes or zip codes to target general areas where you think people might be interested in your listings.
Choose Your Audience Wisely
Instagram ads allow you to narrow down your audience based on demographics, interests, behaviours and even look-alike audience. Let's see what each of these choices means:
Demographics means separating people based on their age, gender, the languages they speak and the culture they belong to.
For instance, if you have a pretty house built for a regular family, you would want to target the age group of people who would have small children. If the house has an old-age feel to it, targeting an elderly couple might work better.
In the Detailed Targeting section, you can go over specific with your audience. As a realtor, you should be targeting homeowners, first time home buyers, people likely to move or house hunters, etc.
Using interest-based targeting, you can reach out to people who show interest in properties on sale in your location.
You can also target people who have previously interacted with the Instagram accounts of your competitors.
You can target people based on their behaviours. For example, people who have high expenditure are valuable leads for costly property. Similarly, new expats might be looking to buy their own house to start anew.
Look-alike audiences might be one of the most valuable types of targeting options available on Instagram. Using it, you can advertise to people who are most like your customers.
Instagram selects the accounts based on people's behaviour, interests, age groups, the apps they interact with, the purchases they have made, and matches all this with your already established audience.
How is it useful? –Good question.
Well, your established customers are there because they like you. Targeting new people who are "look-alikes" of your current customers can lead to maximum ROI and leads. There are minimum chances of your advertisement going to waste, and if you are trying to break into a new marketplace, it might work out really well for you.
If you want to reach out to your old customers to hire you again or re-target people who have previously purchased a property in your listings, a custom audience is your best bet.
With this option, you don’t select any of the targeting options above. You either use the audience who has interacted with your website, engaged with your Instagram or Facebook content or used your app.
You can also upload a list of contact information of your customers, and Instagram will make sure that they see your ad.
5. Write a Killer Real Estate Ad Copy
Instagram is a visual platform, not a textual one. And that’s how most of the social media platforms operate. However, that does not mean your textual ad copy holds no value.
A killer ad copy compliments the media part of your ad. You can provide information that you forgot to include in your photos or videos. You also get the opportunity to make ads that are more visually impacting instead of filled with unpleasant text –your ad-copy handles that part! And above all, your ad looks professional and trust-worthy if you pair it with a nice, short yet helpful caption.
Don’t know how to do that? Just ensure that you keep these things in mind:
Keep your Ad Copy Short and Direct:
Although it’s necessary to provide relevant information using captions, keep them direct, short and less descriptive. Since these ads are not going to appear in searches or anywhere else, keep them hashtag-free.
Remember, only the first 125 characters will appear with your ad, leaving the other truncated.
Keep your ad copy to this limit; keep it free of unnecessary details, and your ad should work well!
Include a CTA:
CTAs guide your ad viewers through your marketing funnel. After a quick description of your listing, for example, you can tell the audience exactly what they should do. Some useful CTAs for a Real Estate Ad Copy are:
- Book a Virtual Tour Now
- Book Your Viewing Now
- Don’t Let This Amazing Opportunity Pass You By
- Click to Learn More About This Exclusive Listing
Include Contact Information:
Contact information in your ad means you are legit, you exist and that you are welcoming inquiries. It also means that people don't have to search anywhere else to reach out to you. Everything they need is right there in the ad.
Including contact information in ad copies have worked well for many professionals in the real estate industry, so you should try it too!
Real Estate Instagram Advertising –Are You Not Ready Yet?
Running an advertising campaign should come only after you have established your Instagram Business Profile to some extent.
If you think you are entirely fresh, take some time to build a decent following (organically) first.
Make an attractive feed of your listings, testimonials and client stories, and then run an ad campaign because new people will never trust you if they come to your profile and see it empty.
Want more information about how you can set up your Instagram? Go and read our blog for countless tips and tricks!