Like with most industries and marketplaces, online interaction has become a key driver for estate agents during the last decade. This applies to every area of the industry too, with Rightmove revealing that online estate agents having doubled their market share from 2.5% to 5% in a little over two years.
Not only this, but an estimated 44% of aspiring home-owners now locate potential properties though the Internet, encouraging agents to increase their online advertising and marketing spend while changing the way in which they promote individual properties.
While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this approach, estate agents cannot afford to become preoccupied with advertising through digital media. More specifically, it is important that agents do not underestimate the value provided by out-of-home (OOH) advertising, particularly when it is used as part of an integrated marketing campaign.
In this post, we will look at the benefits of OOH advertising and how it can help you to optimise your real estate brand’s exposure.
Building brand awareness on a large (but targeted) scale
Estate agents face a unique marketing challenge in many ways, as they must build brand awareness in a competitive market while also targeting a local (and relatively restricted) customer base.
Segmentation is also a relatively minor consideration, as agents can market themselves primarily on the strength of their service and its ability to meet the customers core needs.
OOH is therefore well-placed to meet this challenge, as it serves as an eye-catching and engaging channel that can optimise the reach of a brand within a target area. Traditional billboards are particularly effective, as prominent 48 and 96-sheet adverts can be placed at strategic locations within a specific town or region. Not only this, but large-scale traditional billboards will optimise brand exposure, as they do not require advertisers to share space with other brands.
The statistics bear this out, with an estimated 71% of customers confirming that they absorb the messaging featured on roadside billboards across both traditional and digital channels.
This type of advertising even has an estimated engagement rate of 16%, which also suggests that customers are more inclined to interact with OOH materials and billboards in a natural and non-intrusive range of settings.
When you consider that a branded Facebook page will typically deliver an average engagement rate of between 0.5% and 0.99% (with anything above 1% considered to be excellent), it is clear that OOH enables estate agents to influence targeted customers while also optimising brand awareness.
Understanding OOH and how they drive assisted conversions
While billboards may well prove effective at creating brand exposure and engaging consumer interest in a specific proposition, this means little unless it generates conversions or at least translates into a direct action. Fortunately, the statistics suggest that billboards and similar forms of OOH tend to encourage further interaction with brands and service providers, across multiple channels both on and offline.
For estate agents that are aware of assisted conversions, this is significant news. Assisted conversions refer to the various brand interactions that a consumer experiences prior to them making a purchase, with each one being ascribed a value based on the role that they play as part of the overall customer journey. Typically, billboards are credited with driving the most valuable brand interactions, and this is borne out by the numbers.
This trend is particularly prominent online, where the use of OOH billboard advertising as part of an integrated marketing campaign can enhance the reach of social media by up to 212%. It is can also increase mobile engagement by as much as 316%, and estate agents can leverage this by ensuring that their social profiles are featured prominently on ads and that they have a responsive website that reads well on smartphone and tablet displays.
These small details can have a significant impact on conversions, particularly with potential buyers increasingly active online when searching for viable properties.
In terms of offline channels, studies have shown that 26% of customers noted a phone number or website address when viewing a billboard. This is important, as it means that agents who list their basic contact details will also benefit from far higher engagement levels through their various marketing campaigns.
How Millennials have changed the marketing realm for estate agents
As we have already said, demographics are arguably less important for estate agents as they can predominantly target the overriding needs of customers and the cost of delivering their service.
This does not mean that demographics are entirely insignificant, however, and the rise of Millennials as the single largest segment in the home-buying market is certainly an important development for agents to take note of.
According to recent statistics, Millennials now comprise 32% of the total home buying market, and are officially part of the largest single segment. This highlights the growing spending power of this demographic, as its youngest members turn 18 and enter the job market and older individuals emerge as affluent professionals.
With Millennials now at the forefront of estate agent’s minds, OOH and billboard advertising has emerged as one of the most effective marketing methods. This may seem strange given that Millennials were born into the digital age, but this demographic does not respond well to intrusive and saturated marketing channels as they like to curate their own content.
This is hard to do, particularly with some estimates suggesting that the average Internet user sees 11,150 online ads each month (many of which are not targeted and offer conflicted messaging). As a result, Millennials do not trust the ads that the see online and are increasingly resistant to this type of marketing.
In contrast, OOH serves as a far more trustworthy and believable channel. As well as driving more brand interactions, 56% of Millennials trust billboard messaging (according to a global study commissioned by Nielsen). This level of trust is noticeably and comparatively high, with just 46% buying into online videos and 48% subscribing to the messaging featured on paid advertisements.
This also suggests that traditional billboards are more effective than digital alternatives when targeting Millennials, as the latter often rotate six separate ads during recurring, 60-second periods. This negates the impact of your ad and the way it is perceived by Millennials, whereas traditional billboards provide optimal exposure while displaying concise messaging that is far easier to absorb.
The last word
Not only does OOH and billboard advertising have natural advantages that lend themselves to estate agents, but they are also becoming increasingly influential when targeting Millennials. Given that this demographic now dominate the home-buying market, leveraging OOH ads may prove crucial when striving to generate leads and optimise conversion rates.
Estate agents should combine multiple on and offline channels within an integrated campaign, using billboards as an effective way of driving assisted (and direct) conversions and engaging customers within targeted regions.