LoopNet To Discontinue It's Most Powerful Real Estate Ad Platform (And You've Probably Never Heard of It).

LoopNet To Discontinue It's Most Powerful Real Estate Ad Platform (And You've Probably Never Heard of It).

On August 16th, 2016, Loopnet will be sending out it's very last Hot Properties Bulletin. 

As described by Loopnet's website:  "Hot Properties Bulletin: Feature Your Listing in Our Weekly Bulletin - exclusive to PrincipalsReach a highly-targeted opt-in LoopNet audience of 400,000+ owners, developers and corporate investors. Listings receive a dramatic increase in views within 72 hours of distribution. All subscribers are opted-in."

Hoodline's Neighborhood Kit Upgrades Stale Neighborhood Content for Real Estate Websites

Hoodline, a neighborhood news publisher based in San Francisco, recently took the plunge into the world of real estate technology. The hyper-local news company, which publishes around 20 stories a day ranging from new restaurant openings to condo developments in the various San Francisco neighborhoods, released it's Neighborhood Kits. The Neighborhood Kit is a new technology that uses Hoodline's hyper-local content to provide up-to-date neighborhood news & information to local Realtor websites. Hoodline offers this new technology in the form of a widget that can be embedded on the website of a Realtor for $100/year (pricing for real estate firms is more but varies depending on usage, customization, etc.)

 

If you're a Realtor, you might be asking yourself: "Why is this valuable to me and my website?"

To answer that, we first have to answer another question: "How does Hoodline produce this constantly updated, neighborhood specific news?"

The answer is Hoodbot, a web-scraping technology developed by the Hoodline team. Hoodbot scrapes local neighborhood information & updates from various sources like state & county websites to sniff out relevant local happenings, such as newly issued liquor licenses, business permits & police reports. In addition to Hoodbot, Hoodline employs 6 staff writers & 60 freelance writers throughout the city. Finally, Hoodline works with a large tipster community of over 1,500 people who feed the staff tips & intel on the latest happenings in the 40 neighborhoods covered by Hoodline. These 3 sources converge to provide Hoodline readers with always fresh, news & content specific to the reader's own neighborhood.

Now back to the original question "Why is this valuable to me and my website?"

The simple answer is that the neighborhood information on your website, no matter how good or well-written it is, is likely static. Even if you do your best to keep your ear to the ground and regularly update the local neighborhood section of your website, you likely can't keep pace with Hood-bot, & the 60+ writers at Hoodline working to fill your clients in on the hot new restaurants & community events going on in the neighborhood they're perusing. 

 

I had an opportunity to speak with Jes Wolfe, COO at Hoodline, and she summed up the benefit of the Neighborhood Kits quite well: "The Realtor's job is to make their client fall in love with a home, it's our job to make them fall in love with a neighborhood." 

Jes mentioned that they've received a good response since launching the new product. Hoodline has had dozens of agents and some firms sign up to use the Neighborhood Kits on their websites. Like any savvy start-up, they're taking the feedback from these agents to heart. With version 2 of the Neighborhood Kits Hoodline plans to include "What To Do" video segments for neighborhoods as well as some more customization options. 

Now if you think the Neighborhood kit sounds appealing but you're a Realtor located outside the San Francisco area, don't fret. According to Jes, Hoodline is planning to expand their Neighborhood Kits to other areas in due time, starting with Oakland & then branching out to other major cities. 

Jes also noted that they have more real estate products coming down their pipeline, one of which commercial real estate brokers & CRE tech fans will find particularly interesting.

As a lover of real estate tech as well as branding & company culture, I had one particular question on my mind that I had to ask Jes:

Q: "Now that Hoodline has entered the world of real estate, do you consider it more of a news company or a real estate tech company? Will Hoodline have an identity crisis of sorts?

A: "Ultimately what we want to be is a local-focused company. Tech has always been at our core and will continue to drive what we do, as has the editorial leg of the company.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts or opinions on this new product!

 

 

 

 

 

Ringtrail Automates Facebook & Instagram Ads for Realtors

If you're a Real Estate Agent, there is a good chance you aren't taking advantage of Facebook ads to generate leads for your listings. The majority of Agents I interact with on a daily basis haven't attempted to use Facebook ads because they don't feel they have the time, or haven't been able to do it in a way that generates any real value. To top it off, the vast majority of them aren't even aware that advertising on Instagram is now an option until I bring it up.

Enter Ringtrail...

Ringtrail is a powerful new tool created specifically to help Real Estate Agents succeed with Facebook & Instagram advertising. Here are 4 reasons that you should give it a shot!

1. Ringtrail gives you a free website for your property.

The first step in getting started with Ringtrail is to create a simple, 1 page for the property that you want to advertise. Ringtrail sends the people who click on your ads to this website to learn more about your property. The whole process is truly "plug and play." As long as you have good (preferably awesome,) photographs of your property, you can have this website up and running in minutes.

The websites are designed strictly to generate leads for your property, so they're very straight-forward and to the point. Granted, these property websites are not the best out there, you can definitely create a more unique website with more functionality by using Squarespace or Wordpress. However the websites are responsive (mobile & tablet friendly,) aesthetically pleasing, and I doubt that I could make a property website faster on one of the aforementioned platforms.

2. Ringtrail creates the ads for you.

If "I don't have the time," is your excuse to not advertise your properties on Facebook, you no longer have an excuse. The majority of setup time for Facebook ads is spent writing creating different variations the advertisements. Ringtrail does this work for you and creates your advertisements based on the pictures and details you provide in the property website you've built.

3. Ringtrail choses who to target with your ads. 

Another complaint I often hear regarding Facebook ads is that, as with any pay-per-click advertising, you can waste a lot of money if you target your ads to the wrong people. Ringtrail helps minimize that risk by setting up the ad-targeting for you. They take the location and price, and use their custom algorithms to send your ads to people who are most likely to be a match based on their income, what kind of car they drive, whether or not they're planning to move, etc.

4. The cost of running the ads starts at $39.

Usually when I think of "marketing automation," I think of platforms like Hubspot that force you to pay for a year of service up front and have a substantial cost associated with them. This is not the case with Ringtrail. Running the ads costs as little as $39 per week, and you don't have to commit to anymore than 1 week at a time.

What have you got to lose? The answer is $39.

Disclaimer: This is not a full on endorsement of the Ringtrail platform.

Like any marketing channel, my advice would be to give it a shot and see if you can make it work for you. If you get good results, take it further!

Here are a few things that would make me wary of diving into the program headfirst and swearing off the standard Facebook advertising interface:

There is no option for advertising land.

As of now, Ringtrail only gives you the option of advertising a house or a condo. If you or your brokerage tend to represent a lot of house-lots, this platform might not be for you.

You could know your target audience better than Ringtrail.

While the idea of letting Ringtrail eliminate the time it would take you to set up proper targeting is tempting, it might not be your best option. If you've been doing business in the same community for 25 years and you generally list similar properties in the same price range, you may be able to target your audience better than Ringtrail's algorithms can.

No videos.

Videos, drone videos in particular, are currently praised as the hottest thing to ever happen to real estate marketing (granted, until the past 24 months they haven't had much competition.) If your firm has already taken advantage of this innovation and is making videos for all of your listings, you may want to stick with creating Facebook ads yourself. The Ringtrail platform doesn't currently support videos on their property websites.

Side-note: If you are taking videos of your properties and you're not using the videos to advertise on Facebook, you are wasting one of the best opportunities to get the videos seen.

And there you have it! Go to www.Ringtrail.com, give it a shot and see if it is for you. Feel free to comment regarding your experience!

Loopnet Introduces Targeted Property Ads

There is a lot to love about Loopnet. Loopnet is easily one of the easiest and most effective tools for marketing commercial real estate online, partly because it has become so engrained in the industry and is so widely used. But if you use the site frequently, you’ve probably noticed that it has many functionality issues. I won’t spend the entire post picking apart everything that’s wrong with the Loopnet interface, but my main qualm is that the options for advertising properties to a specific audience have always been surprisingly limited.

Up until recently, the options were (basically) as follows:

  • Put up a listing and it will be found by people searching for the type of property you’ve listed under its zip code
  • Spotlight the listing and it will be listed above regular listings
  • Pay $1000 to “Sponsor” the listing and it will be displayed on the homepage (and other select pages) of Loopnet users throughout the country, regardless of what types of properties or locations they are interested in
  • Pay $1000-2000 for an ad in the Hot Properties Bulletin, which goes out to everybody registered on Loopnet as a principal (over 800,000 people.)

In short, the options were “show your listing to people looking for what you have, or show it to everybody.”

On January 16th, Loopnet announced the unveiling of Targeted Property Ads, their first stab at a middle ground. This advertising option, which was previously only offered to brokers for advertising their services, allows you to serve your ads to Loopnet users based on what they’re searching for, via zip code & property type. Below I’ll go over how the ads work, how they might benefit you, & how to get started with them.

How Loopnet Targeted Property Ads work:

Loopnet Targeted Property Ads appear across Loopnet in 7 placements including banner ads, sky-scraper ads, & lead-gen forms, which you can see for yourself (better than I can describe,) on this Loopnet page. The information that, in my opinion, is most important, & unfortunately is not explained very well on the page linked above is:

Where The Ads Are Served:

As previously mentioned, the ads are served to Loopnet users based on what property type and zip code they’ve selected under the search filters. The ads appear across 3 Loopnet pages:

The Property Search Results Page:

This refers to the page that populates when a user searches for properties under a specific location and property type on Loopnet. The ads on this page will most likely be seen by people who are already familiar with Loopnet, as they’re using it to hunt for properties.

SEO Pages:

These are the Loopnet pages that a person would find if they were searching on Google for a certain property type in a certain location. For example, if you happened to Google “multifamily for sale in Maine,” this page would be served on the first page of the search results. Note that this page, and the page that would populate if you searched for multifamily properties in Maine on the actual Loopnet website won’t necessarily contain the same listings in the same order. The ads on this page will potentially be seen by people that are already aware of Loopnet, as well as those who just click the link because it showed up on Google but are searching for the sort of property that you’re advertising nonetheless.

Property Listing Pages:

These are the pages for individual property listings on Loopnet. A person could land on this page in a variety of ways; they could have found it from the property search results page, or from an SEO page that they clicked on from Google, or they might have heard about the property elsewhere and gone to Loopnet specifically to see it. No matter how they got there, you have the option of displaying your ad to them via the Targeted Property Ads.

Where The Ads Lead:

When a person clicks on the targeted property ads, you have 2 options for where to direct them. You can either send them to the Loopnet listing page for the property you’re advertising, or take them off of Loopnet to a landing page that you’ve created for the property. Both options have their merits. In my opinion, keeping it simple for the user is your best bet: direct them to your listing on Loopnet and if they want to contact you, the methods for doing so are clearly displayed on the page. If you direct them away from Loopnet and to a landing page, you open up a whole can of worms: your site’s load time could be slow, it could look distorted on their browser, it could be non-responsive to people looking at it on their phones, etc. In addition, leading them away from Loopnet could just confuse them, your Loopnet listing has better context for the user because they were already on Loopnet when they saw your ad. There are some positives to directing the user to a landing page; one being that you have the ability to provide a better user-experience than they would get from your Loopnet listing page, and another being the ability to analyze user behavior if you’re tracking your website with Google Analytics.

How Targeted Property Ads Might Benefit You:

If you’re like me (a penny-pincher,) you’re thinking “why would I advertise my property to people who are searching in the zip code & property type that my property is already listed under? They’re going to see it anyway.” This doubt is rational, but consider the following benefits:

  • Your property will be on the top banner of the page, above the actual listings, giving you the opportunity to convey your message to the user before they even see your competition. The additional exposure on the listings page also gives you the opportunity to tell potential buyers something about the property that they wouldn’t have seen just by seeing your listing in the search results.
  • The ad also appears on the pages of specific properties that the Loopnet user clicks on. Imagine if you went online to buy a new pair of shoes & saw an ad on the side of the page from a rival company letting you know that you could get a similar shoe for less money, or with better features. The ability to reach your target demographic while they’re looking at your competition could be very useful if you convey the right message.
  • The ads are also displayed on the top banner on Loopnet’s SEO pages. Even if you have a Spotlighted listing, it is difficult to guarantee top placement on these pages, making the exposure offered by targeted ads very valuable.
  • Finally, you don’t have to advertise to people searching for the property type and zip code that your property is listed under. Say for example you have a property that is technically mixed-use, but you know that based on the demand in your property’s location, it would be best suited as restaurant: You can use these targeted ads to get the listing in front of people searching for restaurant space and inform them that your property can meet their needs. The same concept can be applied to advertising flowers on Facebook – You can target people that have “Flowers” listed as an interest on Facebook, but you might be better off advertising to someone who just changed their status to “engaged” and is likely planning a wedding. These targeted ads represent the first time (to my knowledge,) that Loopnet has offered a tool for applying this concept.

Pricing:

Similar to the Spotlight ads, pricing for the Targeted Property Ad campaigns vary by the zip code & property type that you want to target. Advertising packages must be purchased 3 months at a time. If you purchase a Targeted Property Ad and end up selling the property within the 3 month ad period that you’ve paid for, you can swap out the property with another but you cannot change the zip code and property type that the ad targets.

How To Get Started:

If the Targeted Property Ads sound like something you’d find useful, head to the ad preview page and take a crack at building your ads. The ad preview page prompts you to enter the basic information about your property (name, description, headline,) along with a picture, your company logo and your contact information, it then allows you to see what your ad will look like across all 7 placements. If you decide that you want to move forward, call Loopnet ad sales at (888) 207-9234. If you’ve purchased some form of Loopnet ads in the past, contact your regular Loopnet representative.

Targeted Property Ads seem like they could be a great way in increase exposure for your properties. You may be able entice potential buyers that you would not have reached through a standard or spotlighted listing. If you decide to give the new ad platform a shot, be sure to track your results so you can decide if it is a fit for your budget and whether or not it will help you meet your marketing goals.