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When Should You Use Instagram for Your Real Estate Marketing?

June 04 2020

Note: The COVID-19 pandemic has made marketing on Instagram cheaper than ever. If you're considering advertising on the social media platform, now is an opportune time.

homesnap when should you use instagram for marketing 1More than one billion people use Instagram every month. However, the appeal of the network isn't so much its outsized user base, as impressive as it is, but rather how well the platform lends itself to marketing, and in particular, real estate marketing.


Engagement: 63% of Instagram users check the app daily as much as 28 minutes a day, and 200 million users look at a business profile every single day. In fact, engagement on Instagram is higher than Facebook, with some brands reporting engagement rates multiplying by as much as 10x.

Photo Sharing: The photograph-first build of Instagram makes it ideal for advertisers promoting visual, aspirational content, and as such, it is the go-to social network for fashion, travel, and shopping brands. Similarly, real estate agents with enticing property photographs won't find a more suitable platform to market their listings.

Target Demographics: Two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 and just under 50% of Americans between 30 and 49 use Instagram on a regular basis. Incidentally, millennials are now the largest home-buying demographic. Marketing your listings on the platform is the very definition of meeting customers where they are.

How Instagram marketing works for real estate

Using Instagram, agents can create posts and stories that appear directly in target audiences' feeds. Though these advertisements are marked as sponsored, they appear more native and less intrusive than on other social networks, creating a comparatively seamless experience for audiences. As such, users are much less likely to skip over advertisements.

There are three types of ads available to you:

Stories Ads

Visual by nature, stories are updates that last 24 hours and appear at the top of users' feeds. Seventy percent of IG users watch them every single day.

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Instagram Stories Ads

Post Ads

Post Ads look like native posts. The difference? Post Ads include a call-to-action and allow linking to either a website or Instagram profile. Native posts, by design, do not allow hyperlinking in copy. So if you're looking to drive prospects elsewhere and want as seamless an experience as possible, Post Ads are orders of magnitude more effective than native ones.

As for the types of formats available in Post Ads, agents can use just a single image or include multiple photos (say, of various rooms of a property) in a carousel.

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Instagram Post Ads

Video Ads

Both story and post ads can be videos as well, making them an ideal avenue for marketing virtual walkthroughs and open houses and/or vocalizing a sales pitch that would go unread in text form.

When should you use Instagram?

There's a lot of confusion out there regarding which networks agents should choose when running marketing campaigns. Do you target the huge audiences on Facebook? The world's largest search engine, Google? Millennials on Instagram? Drivers using Waze? One? None? A combination of all of the above?

When your photos are excellent

As alluded to earlier, Instagram is the world's premier photo-sharing platform. For agents with listings that feature visually striking images of the property, Instagram is far and away the best option to optimize their draw.

When you want to target young or first-time homebuyers

Millennials, now the largest home-buying demographic, are the largest user base on Instagram, and millennials use the network more than any other social media platform. Yet, the size of the millennial user base isn't the only reason to use Instagram.

Millennial home tastes differ compared to previous generations, as they often choose to eschew the concept of starter homes, opting instead for more permanent, move-in ready properties. As a result, they're often on the lookout for more amenities—features like open spaces, solar power, natural lighting, etc.—which, fortunately, make for good photo opportunities.

So if you have a property with these features, adding multiple photos to a carousel ad and promoting the property on Instagram is an excellent strategy.

When you want to promote a virtual walkthrough or open house

Instagram's unobtrusive advertising platform makes video sharing particularly effective. However, there are two things you need to consider.

One, Instagram's videos play without sound by default. Therefore, you should structure your virtual walkthroughs in a way that the property itself does the talking. That's not to say you can't have an audio component; users can opt to turn on the volume, and Instagram claims that 60% of users do. But a good rule of thumb is to assume they won't.

Two, Instagram is not a video sharing platform, and as such, videos are limited to a minute. Instagram is not the place to post a full, multi-minute virtual walkthrough advertisement, but rather an abridged one—a highlight reel, if you will.

That being said, it's worth noting that if you wanted to post organically, you can use IGTV to post longer videos. Obviously, though, your reach would be comparatively limited.

To be clear: Chances are you'll want to use Instagram in combination with other social networks or search engines. There will rarely be a time when Instagram should be your sole marketing option. Instead, you should consider Instagram as part of a holistic marketing strategy, with added importance when a property checks the above boxes.

To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.