How can estate agents capitalise on ‘Property Porn’?
Like the weather and tea, the British have a fascination with property. Other people’s property to be precise. Just look at the popularity of Grand Designs, or Location, Location, Location. Then there’s Country Life – are readers interested in the rare breed porkers or the house ads? (A third of its readers live in London). Call it property porn, voyeurism, envy or outright nosiness, we all seem to be hooked. And it’s no different on Facebook which, let’s face it, is the home of nosiness. No wonder property posts thrive on Facebook.
But why this obsession?
Is it because we’re a nation of homeowners resulting from Margaret Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ and her belief in a “property-owning democracy”? I don’t think so: the percentage of homeowners in the UK (at c 65%) is actually quite low. Spain, Italy and Portugal’s homeownership is all much higher (mid 70%s), France and the US are about the same as the UK. Curiously, Eastern Europe countries, China, India and Russia and Scandinavia all have very high ownership rates (80-95%). And between 2001 and 2011 the number of people owning their homes in the UK fell for the first time since 1918. Little wonder given house inflation.
Is it because of rising values? Are we mesmerised by how much our own house might have risen in value?
Whatever the attraction to such voyeurism, what’s for sure is that we seem to think it our right to own our house. Ownership is in British psyche. Forget that most people are merely renting from their mortgage lender!
We all like to dream. Perhaps it’s the unattainable that drives the curiosity? We revel in the horror of just how much some (London!) properties have increased in value and are awestruck by the decadence of it. We love to have a peek at ‘how the other half live’ or even our neighbours for that matter. So seeing a Facebook post with a window into a property down the street is definitely a lure.
For many it’s ogling at the interiors. Guardian columnist Lucy Mangan claims to be addicted to ‘property porn’: “Property websites are a valuable window onto the world… as with real porn, most people I think understand the attraction [of property porn] even if they don’t indulge – or prefer not to admit that they indulge – themselves. But as with porn, the attractions of different types of material to one person frequently leave another baffled.”
“I can’t stay away and to be honest, I don’t know how anyone can. It’s pictures of the insides of people’s homes! How can you not want to nosy round? Kitchens are my favourite. … The average estate agent website offers a veritable kaleidoscope of options for every room – some so right! Some so very, very wrong! – and enables you to while away hours in mental planning, notional shopping and swift, harsh rushes to judgment”.
And now there’s a new smartphone app, Knocker, that allows users to peek into strangers’ homes as they walk down the street.
‘Property Porn’: a boon for estate agents or a time wasting distraction?
Featuring endless property posts on Facebook won’t help sell more properties in itself. But agents who take time to pull out remarkable features and present properties in a quirky way will undoubtedly attract interest. Assuming they are using good strategies and tools for targeting them effectively on Facebook.
Many businesses – outside of property – struggle to find engaging content to use on Facebook to promote themselves (hence the drivel that we all see) as they, rightly, recognise that a Facebook news feed is not a product sales catalogue. BUT… when it comes to property, agents have a huge resource of content that Facebook users have a voracious appetite for.
This is what we observe in our Facebook advertising campaigns. We see astonishing click through rates and very, very low costs per engagement and costs per click for our estate agent clients for precisely this reason.
‘But will they pick up the phone and book a market appraisal,’ I hear you ask? Well, yes, but probably not this week or even this month. And you may not be able to directly attribute it to a Facebook campaign. Successful marketing is all about “nurturing” and playing the long game. If I were to ask, ‘Have you ever heard of Savills? And where exactly did you hear about them?’, of course you couldn’t tell me. With Facebook advertising, over time, you can achieve this level of awareness for your brand on a micro local scale.
Nurturing: build up an awareness and perception over time such that when they do want to sell, you are their obvious preferred choice. Agents can use Facebook to punch above their weight and get famous locally.
In short, sellers can capitalise on ‘property voyeurism’ and use Facebook as a great way to engage local home-owning audiences and raise awareness of their estate agent brand.
Combining the public’s property obsession with the reach and engagement of Facebook is an absolute gift for estate agents.
Over to you
Why do you think the British are fascinated with property?
More information on Tactical Results Facebook Advertising for Estate Agents: www.tacticalresults.co.uk/facebook-marketing-for-estate-agents/
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