Our bi-weekly social media news roundup features new announcements in social media and clever advertising, and tells you what it means for real estate agents focused on getting a higher ROI on their digital investment.

This week we look at Snapchat, Pinterest Lens, Microsoft Build and three major Facebook announcements: Canvas automation, Groups and Offline Conversions.

1. Microsoft Wants to Bring Artificial Intelligence Everywhere

Build, Microsoft’s annual launch event for updates and products was this past week in Seattle. And while there were a number of hardware announcements, we were more interested in the software ones. Build 2017 featured a mind-bending AI workplace tool that uses visual recognition software to recognize when things are not where they should be, be it a product, tool or person. Then there was the the expansion of Windows 10 personal assistant Cortana, which is likely to expand its base of 141 million users. And the introduction of Custom Vision, which lets users easily create complex computer vision applications. The trifecta stand to make AI more accessible (and therefore, potentially, more pervasive). The innovations launched at Build mark a movement within the AI race to make Artificial Intelligence ubiquitous, user-friendly, and thoroughly integrated into everyday work and play.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

If you are a real estate agent and hear the words “open house,” perhaps you experience some of those full-body shudders thinking about your own liability. With thefts at open houses striking even the best of us (and we’re not talking about snack freeloaders), imagine if your eyes and ears in a home was a computer instead of you. While only worthwhile for luxury listings, we suspect it won’t be long until high flying agents start using AI tools to protect their sellers’ most important property. And with the rise of Cortana and Custom Vision applications, we are on the precipice of a real game-changer for real estate showings.


2. Facebook Canvas Gets Automated
image of facebook canvas
Not to brag, but we’ve been creating beautiful ad content (with killer numbers behind it) using Facebook Canvas for months now. So we were excited to see that Facebook is adding automation to make the whole Canvas creation process easier. Our hope is that more people will jump into the Canvas game, and that this self-service model will help those agents who don’t have the budget to work with us. When users create a Canvas and add their landing page’s associated URL, the new feature will automatically pull and provide the option to use images and destination links from the landing page. While the automated route is going to create a fairly simple Canvas, an in-app mobile experience within Facebook still outshines most other ad products.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Our readers have been listening to us praise Canvas going on six months now. And if you were on the fence before, we hope this will knock you off of it. The fact of the matter is that agents and teams need to stand out as understanding how to market homes in today’s social media landscape. And not only will Canvas still put you far ahead of the pack of typical agents, it will also help you attract more and higher offers on your listings. We urge you to go for it!


3. Snapchat Snaps Up TV
snapchat logo on television
In the wake of releasing their first earnings report since IPO and amid concern for their growth, Snapchat has stopped enforcing a time limit on snaps, and parent company Snap has announced a new foray into the medium screen. Snap TV will feature original, short-form television shows, and is in discussions with Vice Media, ESPN and NBC. As everyone from Hulu to Amazon suggests, television isn’t going anywhere soon as a medium. Snap TV will feature daily short, curated content that will stream via Snapchat Stories.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Unlike Twitter’s recent foray into Live TV, Snap TV will be decidedly not live. Twitter’s move is much more in the vein of YouTube TV and other platforms that are embracing television’s appeal as a binge-worthy art form. The point of all this TV kerfuffle from a marketing standpoint is that the ad opportunities are going to be pretty awesome. It’s still early to jump in, but we’ll keep watching and report on when it is time to head to the deep end.


4. Facebook Lead Ads Now Measure Offline Conversions Too
facebook lead ads interface
Facebook continues to make advertising on Facebook well, even better. This time, they have introduced a way for users to figure out what exactly makes leads convert – not just online, but offline too. The social network’s new Offline Conversion feature can be tapped to find out direct correlations between ads and IRL actions, and to create laser-targeted (and re-targeted) campaigns using automations that tie into your CRM, which of course you have and are looking to utilize to its best superpowers, right??

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Once again, Facebook proves itself to be the social media platform most committed to being valuable to marketers. Facebook realizes that there are lots of conversion scenarios that happen offline for agents such as open houses, pre-sale events, marketing events, etc. Now it is possible to both measure and follow-up with potential leads. Just know that it is still a bit tricky, so not for the technically faint at heart.


5. Pinterest Introduces Its Own Version of AI Search with Lens
pinterest lens furniture usage
We’re big Pinterest users here at Interactive. The platform’s ability to predict similar objects is pretty uncanny. And now Pinterest just announced that Lens lets users take photos of objects (within the realms of home decor, fashion, or food only – for now) with their phones and find other such objects of a similar style or colour on Pinterest. Lens’ latest update means you can now point your phone at, for example, an entire room, and get pins for multiple sections of the space at once – from drapes all the way to napkin rings. Lens is still in Beta and therefore not 100% perfect, but Pinterest has noted that Lens users have tripled in this past month alone. We’re excited to see how it develops.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

We’d love to see a tool like this used in tandem with listing marketing to help potential buyers imagine how they would inhabit and personalize a space. In the future when AI like this is further developed, buyers will put their phone up to a home they’d love to live in, and have a brokerage’s AI suggest listed homes of a similar type. That future might not be so far off. And we hope at least a few of you will be the first to implement it.


6. Facebook Groups Just Got Qualification Questions
facebook group questions interface
Facebook has just added a new feature for Group administrators to better screen potential members (and keep out spammers). The update allows admins to ask potential members up to three questions before letting them into the group. The idea is for Group admins to be able to better cultivate strong online communities, and skip out on all the effort to manually screen users.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Lots of agents are admins for Facebook groups dedicated to their particular neighbourhood or community. This new feature will help these agents better qualify those who wish to join the group. This is no small feat. In a previous issue, we lauded the advertising potential of NextDoor because of its ability to offer localized ad targeting “not even possible on Facebook.” Well, not so fast. With this bit of administrative wizardry, you can now master the targeting potential of your FB Group.

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