Corcoran begins new lead-gen push via Facebook ads

The Realogy-owned brokerage also confirmed its agents will participate in its parent company’s new program with Amazon

Corcoran CEO & President Pamela Liebman (Credit: iStock)
Corcoran CEO & President Pamela Liebman (Credit: iStock)

UPDATE Tuesday, July 30, 1:02 p.m.: The Corcoran Group is officially embracing lead generation.

The brokerage is launching an exclusive partnership with Swedish firm AdFenix beginning August 1 that will automatically create Facebook ad campaigns for every new listing on Corcoran’s website, and use an algorithm powered by artificial intelligence to target potential homebuyers.

Agents will also gets ads for themselves and their teams through the partnership, which is entirely paid for by Corcoran. Through AdFenix, there is also a dashboard where agents can show sellers how their property’s ad is performing in real time.

“It’s additional investment on the part of the company, but we think it’s smart investing,” said Pam Liebman, Corcoran’s CEO and president. “It will show immediate return for our agents and happy agents make me happy.” She declined to comment on the dollar value of the partnership.

Christina Panos, Corcoran’s chief marketing officer, later noted a caveat to the exclusivity of the partnership: “The exclusivity is not with all firms in the U.S., it is with Corcoran competitors of comparable size in New York City and Hamptons markets,” she said.

A source said Corcoran’s exclusivity with AdFenix only pertains to Compass, Douglas Elliman, Terra Holdings and Saunders & Associates.

“All companies now are trying to create great relationships with their consumers and make life easier for their agents,” said Liebman. And to do that, “we really need to get them buyers for their properties.”

Liebman said Corcoran has “gone hard at lead generation.”

“We’ve focused a lot on lead generation over these past two years and that’s where a lot of Corcoran’s spend is going to be going in the future,” she explained.

More brokerages have begun to embrace the model. Two years ago, the world of buying leads was largely synonymous with less experienced agents and upstart firms trying to game the system.

News of Corcoran’s partnership with AdFenix comes a week after Realogy’s announced its new lead-generation play with Amazon, and a day after Douglas Elliman revealed it was working on a proprietary platform to feed its agents leads.

Corcoran, which is owned by Realogy, confirmed it will be using the new TurnKey program with Amazon, though it’s not currently listed as a participating firm. “We’re just not using it yet because they haven’t lined up their service providers yet in New York City, but, yes, we will,” said Liebman.

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Corcoran’s hunt for lead-gen partnership began a few months ago, as changes to Facebook’s ad targeting began to roll out. AdFenix was one of about 10 companies Corcoran considered. The tipping point for the Sweden-based company was its AI-powered algorithm, which it’s been tweaking in every market it operates in across Europe, Australia and the U.S.

“This is [based] on behavioral data,” said Panos. “So there’s a pool of people on Facebook where we’re able to tell what their behavior is and what types of homes they’re looking for, and then we’re able to target that ad based on their behavior.”

Liebman described the targeting as seeking out “a ready, willing and able consumer.”

AdFenix was founded in 2014 with the mission of making agent “leaders again by providing sales/marketing alternatives where it’s possible to excel in finding sellers outside the property portals,” according to co-founder André Hegge. Their proprietary algorithm was altered about 20 percent for Corcoran’s use, he said.

The company has raised $6 million in Series A funding and works with other U.S. real estate brokerages. In New York City, Warburg Realty was the first firm to strike a partnership with AdFenix earlier this spring.

What differentiates the partnership with Corcoran, according to Hegge, is that the firm committed to offer the startup rare access to all its listings, which allows them to analyze how the ads are performing day after day. That historical data gives the company evidence of the results their algorithm can generate: “It’s much more impactful when you can see that change from one day to another,” said Hegge.

AdFenix said client and agent-specific data was protected, and Liebman said Realogy’s security services vetted the startup’s handling of data.

So how much business will AdFenix give Corcoran agents? According to two agents who participated in the pilot program earlier this spring, it can tip the scales in their favor.

Claudia Saez-Fromm attributes AdFenix’s targeted ads to helping her sell a ground-floor three-bedroom apartment in the West Village for nearly $2.5 million.

“That’s a hard sell,” she recalled, but after the “stale” listing was turned into an ad using the AdFenix algorithm, she saw a bump in online traffic and an increase in appointments, which eventually led to the sale.

“I was really surprised how much it worked for that listing,” she said.

Another agent, Caroline Bass, said she landed a $500,000 listing for a one-bedroom co-op and $2 million two-bedroom condo, both on the Upper East Side, after she explained the AdFenix targeting to the sellers.

Correction: The terms of Corcoran’s exclusive partnership with AdFenix were clarified and corrected in fifth and sixth paragraphs.