“In your last article, you told me to use native ads, and now I still lost more than $1000!?”

Well, this can, of course, happen. 

And just using native ads for your real estate business doesn’t guarantee marketing success, of course. 

Even if you’ve found the best marketing channel in the world, you can still lose money with it. 

And even a winning campaign can turn into a losing one over time.

How so? 

Marketplaces can change, and user behavior on marketing channels that worked before can change. 

So, today’s article will cover 13 native ads best practices for real estate to increase your chances of running a winning native ads campaign. 

First, I will show you some general best practices for native ads and then how they can be best applied to your real estate business, where there is a fit.

13 Native Ads Best Practices for Real Estate

1) Use images featuring people

Almost the same is true for native ads as for the Facebook ones.

If you use images with people, you can increase your brand familiarity, purchases, and recommendations.

This is especially the case on mobile devices.

2) Use Your Logo

Using your logo in your native advertising can increase fixation by 25%.

3) Use Video

By using videos that are 15 seconds long in your native ads, you can increase the purchase intent and the recall than if you would make and use a longer video.

This is in line with the general trend in video advertising because visitors are more likely to stay with a 15-second video ad than a longer video.

But you might want to be cautious and not use clickbait captions since consumers can tell easier and easier when they are advertised or misled.

Therefore, high-quality video content is more likely to be successful by being more engaging for the visitors and not violating FTC rules on deceptive advertising.

4) Make Sure It’s Mobile Friendly

After website visitors click on your native ad, they should have a mobile-friendly experience.

If not, you might waste your marketing dollars.

Your click-through rate might still be good, but the visitor doesn’t convert well afterward.

5) You Will Need a Content Strategy That Blends In

In my last article, I mentioned that native ads usually blend in with the publisher’s usual content.

If you keep that in mind and understand what this means for your ads, you almost can’t go wrong.

Since you want to blend in, for example, in a certain online magazine or news magazine, you don’t want to first show an ad that appears to be an article. Still, once the user clicks on it, he gets directly sent to your offer page.

That’s why you will need a “bridge page,” which, in an online news website, would be some sales copy camouflaged as an article in the same style as the publisher’s website. 

This and the content type you will use depend on the publisher you choose.

Or, if you use a YouTube influencer, you wouldn’t want to use a written editorial ad as a bridge page.

Instead, you would use great video content, in which you give value and, at the same time, sell your product or service by linking to your final offer page.

What kind of content could you use for your real estate native ads?

Here, you can come back to the basic content ideas for the real estate industry.

I wrote an article with 267 real estate content ideas some weeks ago.

Let’s say your target audience is made of real estate investors, and your offer is a coaching program or course about how to flip houses. 

In this case, you could write a “what if” editorial such as “What If You Could Flip a House Without Having a Real Estate License?”

If you are a realtor and your target audience retail buyers, another native ad content idea for your ad could be an overview of the most walkable areas in the geographic area you are covering as a realtor and then offering a downloadable brochure with a list of houses in this area.

Here, the visitor enters your marketing funnel.

Depending on your business and your target audience, you could use one or more of the content ideas from my article and use them as your native ad content.

6) Your Image Thumbnails

The image thumbnail is the first thing a visitor will notice when coming across a native ad.

It has to be interesting enough and draw attention so that it doesn’t get ignored.

Users or potential customers will view your native ad and content on different devices.

So, it’s a good practice to have margins outside the images so they don’t get cropped and destroy your click-through and/or conversion rate.

7) Don’t Just Use One Headline for Each Image Thumbnail

On native ad platforms, you will usually need a thumbnail that comes with your native ad content and can be displayed across different platforms.

To help the native ad engine give your ad the best performance by selecting the best-performing headline, you want to provide not only one headline for each thumbnail.

If you know a bit about copywriting, it is recommended to write several headlines until you find the right one.

So, you might already have several different versions of the headline because of your previous work.

To disclose to potential customers that they are clicking on an ad, it is also a good idea to mention a bit about your brand or product in the headline.

Another good idea is also to use a search engine optimized and informative headline.

8) The Native Ad Placement Should Be Smart and Persistent

Since native ads should blend in with the publisher’s content, making them as persistent as possible is a good idea.

The publisher’s website visitors should be able to scroll up and down the page without losing sight of the thumbnail.

Persistence also means having the native ad placed on the publisher’s website for several consecutive days.

It is then perceived as part of the content, and visitors can return to it.

Here, the importance of good quality and relevant content for your native ads comes into place.

By having that, the visitors are motivated to return to it even after navigating away from the page.

9) Aim for Premium Content Houses

Aiming for premium content houses or publishers has several benefits.

Why?

They usually have industry-wide credibility, and thus native ads viewed by their visitors are more trusted.

They don’t permit native ads on their websites and look closely at whether the ad’s content is relevant and good enough for their audiences.

What does that mean for you?

You want to create content that resembles the premium publisher’s quality and look and feel.

But this also means that you would need to research first which publishers are relevant to your audience, implying that you know your audience and your marketing angle.

In the context of real estate, you would look for publishers that have displayed relevant real estate ads in the past.

You can find those publishers by searching, for example, on Google for “[Name of Publisher]” and “Real Estate.”

Don’t forget to deactivate the adblocker in your browser.

Then, click through the different articles, and you will usually find below or on the side relevant other articles that are normally labeled as “paid” or “sponsored content.”

In this way, I found, for example, on CNN a native ad article linked to Mansion Global about a fashion mogul buying a Miami condo for $11.48 Million

You just need to click around a bit, and you might get some ideas and find out which publishers do native ads for the real estate industry.

This article about the fashion mogul can also be found in my article about 267 real estate content ideas.

It’s the part where you tell your audience about a celebrity that bought a property in your area.

10) Make It Shareable

Making the editorial shareable is another good or best practice if you want to get the most out of your ad budget for native ads.

By visitors sharing your content, you get free exposure, and you can indirectly reduce your costs per click.

You can make native content shareable via email, with a social button, and or add to your original images their own Pinterest button.

11) Enable an A/B Testing Strategy Focusing First On Mobile

As I mentioned in my blog, testing is one of the most important things you can do to create a winning marketing campaign. 

Because you don’t just find a winning ad campaign, you create it over time.

The same is true for native ads.

A/B testing is not much different from other marketing channels. 

The important thing is that you have some sort of prioritized testing protocol, so you don’t lose yourself in the many different elements you can test.

So, here are 9 testable variables ordered by most to less important:

  • The publisher/the native ad platform you choose
  • You headlines
  • Your CTA (Call-to-action)
  • Your Pricing Copy
  • Long vs. Short Page Length
  • Video vs. Image vs. Text
  • Your Images (e.g., Faces vs. Nature)
  • The Ad Creative/Ad Design
  • Ad Positioning

When doing A/B testing, it’s important to look closely at the key performance indicators, such as conversion rates, revenues, ad clicks, click-through rate, bounce rate, and end-to-end views (videos).

In the beginning, it is still easier to measure engagement indicators such as ad clicks, click-through rates, bounce rates, or end-to-end views (video) unless you are quite lucky and have a winning campaign with conversions and revenue right from the get-go.

Since according to eMarketer 88.3% of all native content consumption is made on mobile devices, it is especially important to perform the A/B test for them. 

This was in 2017, so we may assume that this number is even higher today.

12) Do Enough Competitor Research before You Start Your Campaign

How is it done?

You can do it for free with a higher time investment or you can do it with different tools that usually come with a monthly subscription fee (not always that cheap).

Suppose you want to do it for free. In that case, you should deactivate your adblocker extension in the browser of your choice and visit different large online publishers relevant to your target audience and see if you can find real estate-related native ads.

The whole research is not about ripping your competitor’s ads but getting inspired by what type of pictures, ad creatives, and marketing angles they are using.

If you want to use one of the paid ad spy tools, you can usually get more data and key metrics for the ads you spy on.

In contrast to the free method, you can see which ads are more successful than others.

 

Here are 3 ad spy tools you can use for different native ads:

  • PowerAdSpy: Free Up To 20 Searches, then $49 per month or more, depending on your needs
  • AdPlexity: $169/Month
  • Anstrex: $59.99/Month

13) Don’t Forget That There Are More Formats for Native Ads than Just Text-Based Ones

From all the different native ad platforms you can find, you might get the impression that native ads are only text-based.

But native ads are nothing more than “product or service” placement that blends into the publisher’s content. The publisher can use text, audio, or video formats.

Maybe in a few years, there will also be holographic formats (e.g., the Startrek Holodeck).

So, you can also use native ads on YouTube (video) or podcasts (audio).

Some advertisers have good success advertising on podcasts, getting much higher conversion rates (well, it’s testing again).

In this case, the announcer or podcast host inserts the marketing message organically and naturally.

Conclusion

I hope these best practices will give you a nice edge with native ads for your real estate business and increase your chances of success.

The most important best practices are competition research, relevant content for native ads that blend in the publisher’s content, and a testing protocol before you start your campaign.

Let me know how it goes for you. Thanks for reading, and if you liked this article, please feel free to share it.

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher

Tobias Schnellbacher