#AskMarcAnything | Despite the technological advances we have made as a society, the majority of the public does not understand how the technology works. We know what it can do and how it can help our lives but for the most part we do not know how cookies, IP addresses, and other “behind the scene” data work. Some companies and marketing firms use this ignorance to their advantage by selling off a perception of “good work” when it is fake marketing. Here I explain how some companies do this.
Fake Marketing to Sellers
Recently on Inman.com there was a video from a recent conference. On stage during this video was a Chicago based real estate company and Adwerx. Adwerx is a company that creates specialized digital ads for various industries. The real estate industry is one of their specialties.
They explained the process of their advertising techniques. They send an email to the owner of a property they are selling. The owner clicks on the email. The real estate company is able to capture their IP Address. Each computer has it’s own unique IP Address. Think of it as a mailing address for each computer.
When the owner is browsing various websites, they will see an ad online showcasing their home for sale. They further explain that this shows the owner of the property that the real estate company is advertising on big websites like CNN, CNBC, etc.
Understanding These Techniques
This is a horrible marketing technique. Instead of spending advertising dollars to market the property to homebuyers, they are spending a portion of their advertising dollars to advertise the home right back to the property owner.
This gives the perception of great marketing tactics because the homeowner is impressed when they see their home on websites like CNN or CNBC.
This is deceptive marketing as the homeowner will not purchase the home from himself. They are selling a very short term “good feeling” to the homeowner without properly marketing the property.
Advertising companies like this sell automated advertising products that do not work. These ads get served on banners and ad placements on websites. The data continues to show that less and less people click on these banner ads. In fact, many people have ad blockers installed on their browsers thus they will never see these ads.
These companies take advantage from a business owner’s lack of knowledge in advertising technology and lack in the skill of brand marketing. But then it is even worse when the real estate company knows this and takes advantage of their client to appear as if they know marketing. Again, it is deceptive.
You can even take this a step further and higher bots to click on your ads so that it appears as if the ads have a lot of interest when in reality there is none.
As the attention of the public continues to shift into the digital space, it is not enough to simply understand that trend. You also need to know the trend of the public’s attention on the internet.
If people are not clicking on banner ads or blocking them, then what are they doing? The problem with banner ads is that they distract you from what you really want to do.. Read an article, watch a video, listen to a podcast, etc.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying all ads are a waste. Consumers are always willing to read and watch ads if there is value for them. Key word there is value. The more valuable an ad to the consumer, the better results you get.
Banner ads and ad placements within a website is no longer valuable to people. Those were valuable in the early days of the internet because the internet was so new but today the internet has evolved into a giant social networking tool connecting the entire world. If my goal is to learn what happened in today’s stock market, an ad showing me a home for sale provides me ZERO value.
If you want to target a homebuyer, serve them advertising when they are mentally receptive to an ad about a home for sale. Does this mean you have to advertise on Zillow or NextDoor or only websites about real estate? No. It’s about serving the ad to the homebuyer at the right time when they want valuable information on buying a home.
Advertising can come in so many forms from ads directed for immediate sales (such as click on this link to purchase now) or ads directed to branding (which do not require an immediate purchase but helps building awareness).
Think like a homebuyer. When they want to buy a home, what information would they find valuable? Maybe the school district, proximity to entertainment or public transportation, commute time to work, weather, etc.
When advertising a property for sale, there is so much more you are selling than the actual home. Showcase the neighborhood, nearby parks, restaurants, shopping, commute times, weather, etc. Maybe do a video interviewing the local principal of a school about why they love their school. Interview the owner of a local popular restaurant and show how close the restaurant is to your listing. If you do not want to do video, do audio or write articles.
Creating content this way makes your ad appear not as an ad but as a valuable information piece. And you can reuse some or most of the content for other listings and eventually brand yourself as a local expert. It also helps you capture attention from consumers that were looking up the local school and found your interview with the principal.