How Proptech & Digital Advertising are Reinventing the Property Sector

Over 70% of global digital advertising spend is spent on Facebook, Instagram and Google, which makes sense, since targeted digital ads are curated to specific audiences, using behavioural data. Digital ads deliver high-quality, low-cost business leads and are the fastest and easiest way to maximise tight marketing budgets.

Yet the South African property industry has been lagging far behind in the digital space, with traditional campaigns hoovering up the bulk of marketing spend, right up until lockdown started. Even online property search services are still largely just online classifieds, taking the traditional print listing into the digital world, without maximising the potential of laser-focused digital ads.

The rise of Proptech is seeing roadside billboards and radio jingles being replaced with properly-targeted digital ads, taking the entire search, viewing and administrative process of renting a property, online. Lockdown has accelerated the uptake of this tech, not only because large portions of the global population are working from home and will probably continue to do so on a permanent basis; but because the global lockdown has also seen a huge increase in the time we all spend 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 being a prime candidate, the property industry has been slow to transition online, compared to other industries. Firstly, the property industry is fragmented by its very nature. Traditionally, the transaction of signing a lease agreement happens offline. And lastly, renting is a low frequency transaction that happens on average once a year.

The global rise of Proptech – which is rapidly being adopted across South Africa and is being accelerated by the lockdown – is digitally transforming the rental market by seamlessly migrating it online, for greater audience reach.

Digital Marketing and Higher ROI

It seems like a no-brainer to direct your advertising spend to the right audience, to reach them where they spend most of their time, so as to increase visibility, leverage customer targeting, and to make your marketing campaign more cost-effective.

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

The report shows that Facebook remains the social 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 already 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

In the property space a large proportion of Generation Rent – the 21-35 age group that chooses to rent rather than buy a property – spend a considerable amount of time on Facebook and Instagram for work and leisure, as do those looking to buy and sell property. Proptech opens access to this niche market, and local proptech platform Flow is spearheading South Africa’s property revolution by capitalising on this online convergence to effortlessly mediate the relationship between landlords, agents, tenants, buyers and sellers.

Flow has adapted to reduce fragmentation within the property market through automation, 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’s a leap beyond traditional, basic ‘online classifieds’, offering genuine benefits to the parties on both sides of the road and helping take the South African residential property experience, into the 21st century.

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