To automate or customize? Brokerages split on social media ad formulas

Elliman, Compass break with Brown Harris Stevens and Corcoran in broker control

Brokerages take different approaches to social media ads

Douglas Elliman recently jumped into adtech with the debut of AdPro, its in-house social media advertising platform.

The tool, which allows brokers to design and post their own listing ads before tracking engagement and demographics analytics, places Elliman somewhere in the middle of major brokerages’ approaches to providing brokers with tech to reach potential buyers.

Brokerages fall into two different camps when it comes to their adtech, split between those that give brokers creative freedom and control over their ads and those that automate the process.

Both sides claim they provide the superior experience; which side is right likely depends on individual brokers’ preferences and comfort with social platforms. All of the firms polled allow analytics to be shared with a client.

Douglas Elliman and Compass are among the companies that give control to the broker.

“The underscore here is it literally takes one minute for an agent to upload a highly targeted, AI-powered social post … instead of having to call marketing and explain what you want and create a post for you and get it online a couple days later,” Stephen Larkin, Elliman’s chief communications officer, said of the company’s new addition.

Brown Harris Stevens allows a more tailored approach, according to chief marketing officer Matthew Leone, who said the company prefers to take on the promotion workload the brokers.

“We don’t want it to be on a very busy agent,” he said. “We don’t want one of their duties to be placing digital ads.”

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Corcoran takes a hybrid approach: ads are automated unless the broker wants to customize them. The company declined an interview request, opting instead to provide limited information via email about their platform, which is enabled to post ads on Meta platforms.

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Serhant also didn’t provide many details about their platform but said the company is trying to promote content organically through their online channels, rather than through paid ads, which can be placed on all social platforms. At the social media-centric firm, brokers request updated paid ads on a monthly basis and can request their listings be promoted on Serhant’s channels on a quarterly basis.

Elliman’s platform quizzes brokers if the intent of the ad is to generate leads or promote a listing. It then packages the listing photos and description into an ad, where the broker can choose between featured photos, text and the headline.

AdPro allows brokers to choose from a $100 seven-day ad campaign and a $750 30-day campaign, with estimates on how many views each option will earn. Ads can be posted to Facebook and Instagram, but the platform is set to add Google and other platforms in the coming months.

Brokers using AdPro can promote a listing a second time at their own discretion.

Compass’ platform is like Elliman’s on steroids. While some brokers will prefer the level of customization it allows, others may be overwhelmed by the number of options.

The homepage allows brokers to design a 3D walkthrough, a social media ad, an email campaign, a postcard and a brochure, among other materials. Once a category is selected, brokers can customize everything from the layout to which photos are used, the size of the header and the copy if they choose, otherwise the ad is automatically populated with the listing information.

Compass did not say on which sites brokers are able to post or how frequently brokers can advertise a listing.

While BHS handles listing ads for its clients, brokers meet with a marketing team and personalize an ad campaign designed to build a personal brand. When it comes to advertising a listing a second time, brokers are required to tie it to a new development at the address and convene with the marketing department.

Traffic to the brokerage’s site has increased 65 percent since the platform was launched three years ago, Leone said. If the brokerage’s default services aren’t enough for agents, they’re welcome to make another campaign happen on their own tab.

“Is there something different that would lend itself to do this ad marketing?” Leone said of weighing campaigns. “If there is something then we will 100 percent commit company money towards that, but if there’s not or we feel it’s not the right time we suggest to the agent they perform something newsworthy or pay out of pocket.”