Advice and Opinion

How proptech and digital advertising are advancing the property industry

Digital / Online

Over 70% of global digital advertising is spent on Facebook, Instagram and Google with targeted ads curated to specific audiences. Using behavioural data, digital ads deliver high-quality, low-cost business leads and they are the fastest and easiest way to maximize tight marketing budgets.

The South African property industry has been lagging in the digital space with traditional campaigns hoovering up the bulk of marketing spend up until the national lockdown commenced. Property search services are still largely online classifieds, taking the traditional print listing into the digital world without maximizing the potential of laser-focused digital ads.

With the rise of PropTech, we are seeing roadside billboards and radio jingles being replaced with property targeted digital ads, taking the entire search, viewing and administrative process of renting a property, online. The national lockdown has accelerated the uptake of this tech not only due to large portions of the global population working from home but because the global lockdown has seen a huge increase in time spent online.

PropTech migrates real estate online

If an industry is characterised by at least one of non-fragmentation, high frequency of sale and, online transactions, it is the perfect candidate for benefitting from channelling its marketing spend online.

Despite the property industry being a prime candidate, it has been slow to transition online compared to other industries. The property industry is fragmented by its nature and traditionally, the transaction of signing a lease agreement happens offline. Renting is low frequency transaction too, which takes place on average once a year.

The global rise of PropTech is being adopted across South Africa and it is being accelerated by the national lockdown. It is digitally transforming the rental market by seamlessly migrating it online for a greater audience reach.

Digital marketing and higher Return on Investment (ROI)

It seems obvious to direct your advertising spend to the right audience and to reach them where they spend most of their time in order to increase visibility, to leverage customer targeting and, to make your marketing campaign more cost-effective.

Facebook and Instagram alone boast 13.8 million highly active South African users that log into each platform at least once a week. This is according to the 2020 edition of the SA Social Media Landscape report released in June by World Wide Worx and Ornico.

The report highlights that Facebook remains the social media platform of choice for marketing with 89% of major South African brands active on Facebook and 69% active on Instagram. Close to 60% of these major brands spend most of their social media budget on Facebook because they find it to be the most effective social media platform in terms of their marketing strategy.

PropTech Plus

A large proportion of ‘Generation Rent’ – the 21 – 35 years age group that chooses to rent rather than to buy – spend a considerable amount of time on Facebook and Instagram for work and leisure as do those looking to buy and to sell property. PropTech opens access to this niche market.

Local PropTech platform Flow has capitalized on this online convergence to smoothly mediate the relationship between landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers.

The company has adapted to reduce fragmentation within the property market through automation by allowing real estate agencies to automatically convert their listings into online ads that are served to a targeted audience across Facebook, Instagram and Google from within the platform itself.

By bringing together an accessible platform for property, the automation of digital marketing, the smart matching of profiled leads (sales, inventory procurement, tenants) and packaged deals and rewards for rental stock that can be unlocked by tenants during their leases, the residential property experience is finally a truly digital process. It is a leap beyond traditional, basic ‘online classifieds’ which would offer genuine benefits to the parties on both sides and assisting the South African residential property experience into the 21st century.