A home is not a bar of soap.

A home is not a $9.99 all-you-can-eat meal. It is more expensive than a $599 round-trip ticket and a $34,000 all-wheel-drive limited edition. You can't add a house to your shopping cart. Alexa doesn't know how to compute where you want to live.  

Today, the technology used to advertise a home is the same technology used to advertise a bar of soap. But homes are expensive, emotional products. The technology used to advertise a home needs to be as special as the home itself.  

Marketing real estate is not just selling structures — it is selling lifestyle and community. The purchase or rental decision is the largest and most personal one most people make, and marketing real estate requires specialization to help consumers find the right place to live.

Ask yourself when was the last time you saw a relevant property ad that matched your lifestyle, budget, and dreams. I love the $2 million condos and resort homes I see in newspapers, but I am not living in either for a few more decades. But I might like a newer home close to work. Oh, and I have five connected devices. How will you find me to sell me a house? Facebook Dad targeting? Nah.  

A home combines money and emotion like no other advertised product. This year almost $60 billion will be spent promoting affordable necessities with personalized marketing. Yet the opportunity for home sellers and buyers to connect across eight billion U.S. mobile devices has never been more difficult. Most real estate advertising is wasted because it doesn't qualify or target audiences better than it did twenty years ago, and even the mighty Zillow Group captures less than 6% of the $30 billion real estate ad market. The whole industry is stuck doing context and geographic targeting instead of serving the right ad to the right user at the right time in the decision journey.

If your advertising clients are mostly packaged goods, telecom companies or retail chains, you can't service the real estate industry in the unique way it deserves. Real estate requires a different playbook. 

Generic advertising solutions waste a lot of real estate marketing budgets. The technology used to sell real estate should be unique.

Should the marketing products built for shoes, detergent, and mutual funds be the same for a 4-bedroom house near a grocery store and a good grammar school? Does context matter when my house budget is $400,000 and the condo advertised is $900,000? How much is a click worth when someone plans to search for a new place to live for the next nine months? How good is a data strategy when minimal real estate data is matched to the advertising ecosystems?

Nothing about advertising soap and cars and shoes applies to real estate. The people who sell real estate do not appear to care about the strategies of brand managers at Fortune 100 soda companies. Or if they do, they shouldn't.  

Real estate is its own category. It's expensive. Sales cycles are hours or years, depending on the region and consumer. The decision journey is emotional, and often spiritual.  

Audience Town is custom building an advertising platform for real estate. From the user interface to the pricing, targeting algorithms, audience data, bidding, media selection, attribution, and reporting – everything about this chain needs to be specialized for real estate or it won’t create an effective marketing experience.  

A home is not a bar of soap.  

Ed Carey, Founder

Audience Town 

Please contact me to discuss or refute any of my opinions, I'd love to hear from you: ed@audiencetown.com.