2020 will go down in history as one of the most disruptive years in living memory. We underwent huge transformations in the ways we live and work in a matter of days and weeks. But from the challenges has emerged a booming real estate market, with home buyers fleeing dense cities for more space in the suburbs. What questions and trends are in store for the industry in this new landscape?
  1. Why spend on advertising in a hot market? The residential real estate market is hot, so why should agents and brokerages spend money on advertising? Those who cut back on their brand marketing and visibility during the pandemic are at risk of losing market share to their competitors. If you embrace smart marketing and advertising throughout this market cycle, you’ll come out ahead.
  2. Brokers will adopt new technology. Digital brokerages have harnessed technology to drive client acquisition. Big companies like Compass also have developed digital advertising tools to support their existing agents. These technologies will empower those who can wield them efficiently.
  3. An explosion of digital upstarts. Established real estate IPO firms like Compass and OpenDoor will attract the attention of technology investors, who are beginning to understand that the real estate industry is massive, well financed, and ripe for continued technological disruption. The scattered efforts of real estate marketing technology companies will likely be improved upon and consolidated within a few dominant players in 2021.
  4. Proptech needs more B2C marketing. Proptech, iBuyers, and neo-brokerages have indicated they’ll focus on marketing to business clients this year, missing an essential wave of consumer marketing. Consumers need to understand these proptech products better than they do. Just as the pharmaceutical industry used to market directly to physicians before advertising to consumers on TV, many of these B2B players will miss a meaningful opportunity that will drive real marketing ROI.
  5. Facebook ads don’t generate leads. Believe it or not, your Facebook posts are seen only by a tiny percentage of followers, and Federal Housing Authority restrictions prevent real estate companies from taking advantage of Facebook’s granular targeting capabilities. Real estate companies will find that Facebook’s massive reach will have meaning for lead generation only when intelligently paired with other marketing channels.
  6. Privacy regulations will increase lead generation marketing ROI. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and other privacy rules make it harder for companies to find and reach the right customers online. Soon, marketers will need to find new tools, data, and practices that make up for some of the tracking and attribution capabilities lost to privacy regulations.
  7. The year of video for real estate brands. Virtual walkthroughs and video tours were considered mostly a novelty in real estate before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now they’re an essential component of the homebuying and selling process. Between digital ads, virtual tools, improved listings, and new camera capabilities, dramatic growth is expected in the use of video across real estate transactions.
  8. Better consumer data is needed to track people who are moving. Consumer data is the best way to understand the new wave of migration taking place across the country, and businesses are still adjusting to changing consumer behaviors. Old methods of marketing, like keyword buying and emails through a CRM, will no longer be sufficient for lead generation in real estate. New data collection and application practices will be developed that proactively reach people who are relocating at the right stage of their journey.
  9. A tough road for agents. While a real estate professional’s job depends heavily on building personal relationships and referrals, doing so has become more difficult in the wake of COVID-19. New agents who lack experience will need to become digital marketing experts in their own right if they’re to be successful. Experienced agents will need to likewise expand their digital expertise in 2021.
  10. The rise of the “super agent.” Digital transformation has touched almost every industry in the past decade, but many real estate pros have been slow to adapt. In 2021, successful agents will be the ones who are the first adopters of new digital tools, and the agents that are unable or unwilling to adapt will likely be left behind.

It’s been suggested that the economic and social dynamics of the past year have left us poised for another decade like the “Roaring ’20s” in the years to come as people come out of isolation and resume spending money and innovation accelerates. A new generation of Americans is yearning for the security of homeownership, and the ability to meet the right clients at the right time has never been more essential for our industry.

 Source: Ed Carey, founder and CEO of real estate advertising platform Audience Town