Inside Corcoran’s YouTube advertising campaign: VIDEO

The firm’s online marketing exec breaks down the numbers and the strategy

TRD New York /
Nov.November 12, 2013 01:37 PM

Betting on New Yorkers’ inability to resist a cute dog or a great apartment, the Corcoran Group made its latest push to attract online apartment shoppers via video-sharing website YouTube.

With the majority of home hunting taking place on the Internet, the brokerage had tried online banner ads, social media and email marketing. But the for the launch of a redesigned website in November 2012, the firm took it up a notch with its first-ever television commercial, featuring a French bulldog using Corcoran’s website to browse listings.

Corcoran also aired the 30- and 60-second spots on YouTube, allowing the firm to “reach the right person, with the right message, at the right time, in the right place,” Matthew Shadbolt, Corcoran’s director of interactive product and marketing, told The Real Deal.

The campaign resulted in over 1 million views in seven months at a cost-per-view of $0.13 and a click-through rate of 0.85 percent— well surpassing performance metrics of the average online advertising campaign, according to Google and various online sources.

“While a million is a small number for a large brand, it’s a massive milestone for us as a local brand, and cements our investment in promoted video,” Shadbolt said.

Almost a year later, the video still gets hundreds of views, he noted.

Corcoran created the advertisement using YouTube’s TrueView technology, which only charges advertisers when a viewer opts to watch their advertisement.

“Their aim was not only to capture customers at the ‘zero moment of truth,’” said Patrick Grandinetti, who works with real estate clients for Google, referring to the company’s term for the online decision-making moment, “but also to lead them to the first moment of truth, and maybe that second moment when they meet the agent or walk into the apartment door.”

The platform’s detailed analytics gave Corcoran the ability to see – in real time – how the campaign was doing and what kind of users it was bringing to the website, allowing the firm to nimbly adapt the campaign, Shadbolt said. For example, it adjusted the times of day the ad ran to bring in the most viewers, he said.

Grandinetti estimated that 40 percent of YouTube’s real estate clients are using TrueView — which makes sense for a bricks-and-mortar business. “We can make sure the right consumer is seeing the right ad and we can localize content,” he said.

Indeed, Corcoran’s video strategy “has its origins in social media, rather than listing search,” Shadbolt said, so the campaigns don’t focus on single properties, but on the overall expertise of the firm.

“We then place those clips inside of our apps, in social media and elsewhere online, to ensure that when people are searching or working through research about neighborhoods, that it’s Corcoran’s guidance that surfaces,” Shadbolt said.

Corcoran uses the approach across its online offerings. On Twitter, for example, “when it rains in Manhattan, our followers now see more clips of agents talking about the best things to do inside around town. When it snows, you’ll find agents recommending wonderful hot chocolate venues. We’ve found this approach to be very powerful in interacting with customers.”

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