Advertisers are spending more on social media influencers, but will they sell real estate?

Casting a wide net might not generate a positive return on investment

Jed Walentas, Tavi Gevinson and 300 Ashland (Credit: Michael McWeeney and Getty Images )
Jed Walentas, Tavi Gevinson and 300 Ashland (Credit: Michael McWeeney and Getty Images )

Advertisers will spend $1.6 billion on Instagram influence posts this year, up from $1 billion in 2017. But whether influencers can effectively sell real estate is still up for debate.

Developers and brokers are experimenting with influencer partnerships, Instagram backdrops and Snapchat-friendly house tours, the New York Times reported.

Two Trees Management, for example, hired actress/writer Tavi Gevinson to promote the company’s 379-unit rental at 300 Ashland in Brooklyn. Gevinson is in the second year of a two-year partnership, and while she and Two Trees declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, Gevinson pays rent on her apartment and the developer pays her for the promotional partnership.

“We thought it would be a great way to give a voice to a building,” said Brian Upbin, Two Trees’ head of asset management. “There’s a lot of great product out there. Anyone can go to StreetEasy to see highly stylized photos or renderings.”

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Celebrities like Ariana Grande or one of the Kardiashian/Jenner sisters can make $500,000 to $1 million for a single post, but some think an influencer’s wide reach may be a disadvantage when selling real estate.

Casting such a wide net “will be seen by a lot of people who can’t afford or don’t want to live in that neighborhood,” said Hypr CEO Gil Eyal, whose company compiles social-media influencer analytics.

“I still don’t know if it’s going to get an enormously positive return on investment,” he said.

Microcelebrities like a popular local chef may be more effective at selling homes. [NYT]Rich Bockmann