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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 advances in Brand Facebook Chatbots, Virtual Reality advertising with Google’s Advr, Airbnb for the ultra-rich, Instagram growth and AI, the future of cinema as told by the iPhone, and new Facebook metrics for marketers.

1. Facebook Metrics Dig Deeper on Mobile & Into the Family Unit

facebook metrics

As our clients can attest, we spend a lot of time looking at Facebook analytics dashboards. So it was music to our ears to hear that Facebook is rolling out SEVERAL new Facebook Pages metrics and some holiday-related household data to optimize campaigns on the platform. First are the new metrics focused primarily on tracking click throughs from ads – who’s clicking, for how long, how are they interacting with your page and who’s recommending your brand. Furthermore, while it may be Summer in human seasons, it’s Christmastime in marketers’ brains. In keeping with the spirit of extreme forethought, Facebook is introducing metrics to help advertisers market to entire households. Facebook will combine a household’s Facebook and Instagram usage to ensure that each family member keeps seeing ads for that Hawaii vacation until you finally decide to book it.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

The more Facebook leverages its monumental amount of data, the better for us marketers (but you knew that). Landing page conversion metrics for your listings are about to get a whole lot more accurate. Considering that 90%+ of agents seem to be converting potential buyers on the listing landing page itself rather than on the ad, these new metrics will show you whether that mobile responsive layout is up to snuff, and whether the people you are paying to look actually make it there. On the household metric side, we know that buying or selling a home isn’t the same as choosing whether to buy that new charging cable on Amazon. The decisions are shared and more complex. It looks as though soon real estate agents will be able to take a household-based approach to convincing someone to buy or sell that home.


2. Google Unveils New Virtual Reality Ads

vr ad space

Strap on those headsets – Google’s internal incubator, Area 120, just  released a new video ad format that lets marketers advertise in VR. Advr is an experimental “cube-like” format that allows video ads to run in a 3D/VR environment across VR platforms, including Google’s own Daydream, Cardboard, and Samsung’s Gear VR. Advertising within VR is sure to be the next frontier of marketing, and marketers not attuned to its imminence as a format will lose out.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

If you’re a regular reader, you can probably guess where we’re going with this. Virtual Reality home tours are, undoubtedly, the future of real estate (we’ll put money on it, literally). Agents who get comfortable formatting their videos and images for VR and 360 will be first to benefit from both VR open houses as well as strategic advertising within VR. While it is still early days with VR and even earlier when it comes to VR ads, it will be those who experiment early that win. It wasn’t all that long ago that video was considered an experimental format for marketing real estate. Now look how far we’ve come!


3. Airbnb Launches a Luxury, Invite-Only Service

lady gaga instagram post about airbnb

That’s right, the 1% are officially about to have their own Airbnb. The home-sharing site is set to launch a premium service by the end of this year that targets the super rich. Said wealthy elite will be able to rent out mansions, penthouses and the like (castles?!?) via the internally-named Airbnb Lux. Similarly, Airbnb is launching Airbnb Select, a feature that helps wealthy travellers find luxury hotel-like amenities. And in keeping with it being a luxury brand, it will be invitation only.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Airbnb has been synonymous with accessible accommodations for everyone, everywhere. And in doing so has built perhaps a bigger reputation as a mid-market accommodation company than  a high end one. Sound familiar – that’s because real estate suffers from the same problem. We think agents can learn from Airbnb and better segment your personal brands and listings to different audiences. To date, Airbnb has taken advantage of influencer marketing (see: Beyonce’s $10,000 a night Airbnb, or Drake’s Coachella Airbnb abode) to lure the high-end. This more explicit move indicates that sometimes separate brands are needed to capture different audiences. So what’s your Lux strategy?


4. Instagram Grows Up

instagram heart

Instagram has just introduced an AI-powered enhanced comment filter to dispense with offensive comments. This means comment context can also be taken into account. This should catch and remove more problematic comments, as well as minimize false positives. We talked about The New York Times’ comment bot, Moderator, in our last edition of Social Media News, and this is a similar idea. Now that Instagram Stories has over 250 million daily users, the app’s machine learning has to mature in tandem with the social media hub’s growth.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

We periodically field calls from agents who are hesitant about posting on social media due to the comments that might ensue on their posts, which is understandable. Instagram and the other platforms realize these trolling comments are keeping people from posting as much as they should, and are getting serious about curbing the behaviour. So while those posts still will be made (human behaviour is hard to change), they will decreasingly be shown publicly. Just another reason to get off the fence and jump into the social media game.


5. Your Mobile Phone Camera Knows No Bounds

While Sean Baker’s 2015 critically acclaimed Tangerine led the pack in terms of films made entirely on iPhones, Michel Gondry (of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame) is carrying the torch (really well, we’ll add). Gondry shot the just-released Apple promo short, Detour, entirely on the iPhone 7s. The short elegantly showcases features like animation, perspective shifts, underwater filming, time-lapse and slo-mo, to super-charming results. The film, which you can watch on Apple’s UK homepage (or here), comes with a Michel Gondry-led masterclass on shooting a film with an iPhone 7.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

It is imperative that you have high-quality, creative and dynamic videos and images as integral parts of your real estate practice. Brush up on your time-lapse skills via Michel Gondry and shoot a sunset over a luxury lakeside property, for example. We also highly recommend signing up for the Video Bootcamp from pros, dear friends, and clients, Michael Thorne and Jesse Peters. So what are you waiting for??


6. Facebook Bots Abound With Some Better Than Others

facebook discovery mobile view

Facebook Messenger Chatbots from brands continue to proliferate. Ticketmaster’s Facebook Chatbot in particular is being lauded for its conversational and data recognition skills. Its language processing is highly natural – it recognizes such informalities as “What’s happening tonight?”, so you can actually speak to it like you would a person. The bot shows you every Ticketmaster event happening in your area, and responds to requests for a particular artist’s (Ticketmaster) schedule. Ticketmaster’s bot is actually useful, unlike several of the rather unsophisticated brand bots that have been cropping up. If you want to browse around, Facebook just made all of the Messenger brand bots easily accessible via Messenger’s Discover tab.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

As Messenger Chatbots become more and more prevalent, we hope they will similarly become more and more refined – and increasingly used by real estate agents and brokerages. We hope to see agent Chatbots, for example, taking a page from Ticketmaster’s book and surfacing properties for sale that fit a potential buyer’s criteria in the same way they are doing with concerts.

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