With customers buying properties in the $2.5 million and above range, it’s important to not only sell a lifestyle, but to do so to a specific, targeted audience.
Read how the marketers at Concierge Auctions used targeted Facebook video ads to generate over 251,000 video views and increase revenue by at least $250K.
Concierge Auctions is a global marketplace to buy and sell high-end homes.
“We understand the traditional model of buying properties in this ultra-luxury sphere has limitations,” said Krystal Aeby, Chief Marketing Officer, Concierge Auctions. “We're essentially a tool for sellers and their agents to be able to get control of the market when they sell.”
Luxury properties are unique, she added, and properties of that caliber usually fall into two categories.
“Either they're going to sell within 60 to 180 days at or near list price, or … they linger on the market somewhere between three or five years, selling for a fraction of that price,” she said.
Concierge Auctions helps customers deal with the limited liquidity in the luxury property market.
“You’re looking at a limited buyer pool; properties in this caliber are difficult to valuate. They don't often have comparables out there,” she said.
Depending on the market, the threshold for these luxury properties is $2.5 million, going up to $5 million in California and $15 million in New York.
“We sell one-of-a-kind unique properties. When you talk about who our customers are, we really look at three buckets: buyers, sellers and agents. So from a marketing perspective, [it’s] really reaching all three of those audiences,” she said.
The company’s origin story comes from the brokerage community, Aeby said.
“One of our key tenets when we founded Concierge is really giving control back to agents and their clients. We've never auctioned a property without an agent partner and we protect commissions on one side, so agents are very much a core part of our audience,” she said.
Overall, Aeby said, the marketing team is focused on engagement and growth.
“We have one of the most valuable, ultra-high net worth databases and active buyers in the real estate and auction industry. We're obviously always continuing to segment and strategically target to market with every property we have to that database — but also grow it,” she said.
Currently, she added, the company has over 421,000 actives from 210 countries in its database, which includes buyers, sellers and agents.
“Then, obviously, bringing properties onto the platform and converting. So finding buyers and having a sale and then continuing our engagement with the agent community. Again, that goes towards that broker loyal partnership.”
With this campaign in particular, the team saw a great opportunity to grow using Facebook as a tool.
“Knowing that we offer some of the best properties available in the world, we have a full-time, in-house marketing team that's producing some of the best content also in the industry … how [we can pair] those together was really the marketing opportunity,” she said.
Using Facebook video ads, Aeby and her team were able to strategically target potential customers, reaching into all three of their audience categories.
To support this goal, the company also wanted to expand and activate its database of buyers, brokers and market agents by extending the brand’s online reputation and promoting new properties. Combining Facebook’s video ad deliverability with its website conversion tracking pixel, they decided to target the audience with a compelling message, capturing quality lead data.
The team was able to target these three audiences and “also share a compelling message, and head-turning visuals at the same time,” she said.
Step #1. Use ad targeting to reach a specific audience
Aeby and her team have used Facebook for a while, she said, as the platform is rolling out highly targeted messaging.
“Which we know is really successful across any kind of marketing you do — [hitting] the different audience buckets with different messaging and exactly relaying your value proposition to that particular audience,” she said.
This was, however, the first time that the team used video in conjunction with Facebook, and for this particular campaign, they only used video ads for the mobile unit.
The team said they followed the best practice guidelines, particularly for video content engagement.
“Every property that we take on has a series of visuals that we do, but we specifically looked at which are trophy properties to highlight, and then we created a series of high-quality videos. So they were very property-specific,” Aeby said.
Concierge Auctions has many brand-driven campaigns, and in this particular one, the team knew they wanted to focus on properties and their exact key market reach.
“We have an in-house production team, so [we create] a series of video ads and commercial spots for every property, and then they're highly compelling video ads. They don't just show the property, but some focus on the lifestyle,” she said.
Lifestyle is a very important facet of these videos, Aeby said, and buyers are often focused on achieving that certain lifestyle with a property, over a specific location.
“We find that our buyers are very opportunistic. So, we may have somebody come in as a potential buyer and say they're looking for property in Jackson Hole, and if we serve them up a property available in Vail, then a lot of times they'll jump on that opportunity, if you will, as long as the lifestyle matches,” she said.
Alongside the lifestyle, elements like including interviews with the designer or architect may help consumers understand the most important aspects of the property.
“There are a number of ways we targeted the ad unit itself via Facebook. The first would be any potential buyers living in the primary and secondary market — so the key markets for the property,” Aeby said.
Facebook has a series of overlays, geographic or demographic targeting, she said, and her team takes advantage of both. They use data from previous properties to know what good secondary markets might be — for example, for a property in Jackson Hole, New York, California and Texas can be reliable secondary markets.
“We also look at potential buyers who have already visited our property page and look at their retargeting ad units. We want to make sure that, from a nurture perspective, we're able to remind them about the opportunities they saw on our website,” she said.
That tactic operates via the Facebook custom audiences feature, and the team made sure to place a number of conversion pixels on the Concierge Auctions page itself so that they were able to retarget to those individuals.
Also, because they are trying to reach real estate professionals, as well as buyers, they use key, targeted industry terms layered alongside the custom audiences.
Step #2. Consider mobile or desktop
Aeby and her team made a specific effort to run all of the video posts on Facebook in the mobile news feed.
“That was really to maximize the experience of viewing a full screen device,” she said, adding that they were “looking at where our customers were coming from on our site, at what hours of the day are they looking on their iPad or their tablet versus their mobile phone versus the desktop.”
Because the marketing team knew that most of Concierge Auctions’ customers were viewing videos and other assets on mobile at a larger percentage than on desktop, they thought it advantageous to focus on the mobile experience.
She added, however, that her team is continually experimenting, and they have just begun opening up the campaigns to desktop as well as mobile.
Step #3. Continually test campaigns
“We operate in a very lean methodology. [We launch a lot] of campaigns to very targeted groups,” Aeby said.
This campaign in particular featured all of the properties currently offered for sale on the Concierge Auctions website, but it was targeted and very market-specific.
There was a lot of A/B testing with this campaign, she said, and the team focused on continually changing only one component.
“So if it's changing the targeting to be more specific … or having the video message on the property be specific about a lifestyle versus the home,” she said.
Another aspect they considered was different platforms, she said, such as Instagram.
Just as a general guideline, Aeby said, “We A/B test a lot. We always want to try what the latest [Facebook] unit is — what the latest technology is. We have a full, in-house data team and they're looking real time at what our analytics are.”
In the continual drive to increase performance of a campaign, she said, it comes down to adjusting — either what your message is, your target audience or the timing.
“Technology is always changing,” she said. “There are always things … you can parlay towards all your marketing. We have very multi-attributional marketing — so, everything from a sign in the yard to print collateral and direct mail. We have an on-site sales team for every property. So, it just runs into the latest of these text-driven, Facebook targeted ads. Look at all of the marketing [as running] towards the same goals.”
“We're very much producing videos that tell the story of the property,” Aeby said. “What's the best attribute that makes this property the most unique? Is it the location? Is it the lifestyle? Is it the architect?”
By continually testing what would make these videos most compelling to a specific, targeted group, Aeby and her team were able to:
The success of this campaign, she said, can be attributed to three aspects.
“It's setting yourself apart, [with] the visuals that go with our brand — the very filmic nature, then the message that targets your audience, and then building [by] reaching the customers who matter most in your business,” she said.
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