Who the heck does still use native ads for real estate? Isn’t this a completely obsolete and outdated marketing method?

Well, if that’s the way you think, you might be in for a surprise.

But let me first tell you a short story.

A few weeks ago I checked a weather website and saw an interesting “article” about some fitness device or so I thought.

I clicked on the “article” and this fitness device was explained in a very convincing way.

Only after 1-2 minutes into the article, I realized that I wasn’t reading a “real” article and thought to myself “wow, well done”.

This wasn’t actually an article from the weather website, but a nicely done “editorial” to promote a fitness product, which blended very smoothly on the website.

I am quite sure that you, too, clicked on native ads in the past and read an intriguing piece of content that turned out to be an editorial ad.

Let me ask you something.

Did you know that native ads produce a CTR (Click-through rate) 8.8X compared to typical display ads?

Or that 32% of the respondents of a survey said the native ad “is an ad I would share with a friend or family member” versus just 19% for display ads?

And that consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than at display ads?

So, what will you learn in my today’s article?

We will explore how you can successfully use native ads for your real estate business and generate more leads, have a real alternative to Facebook ads or Google ads, and take advantage of an underrated but currently more and more growing marketing channel.

But first thing’s first.

What Are Native Ads and What Are Display Ads?

What happened in my little story from the beginning with the fitness device?

I saw something that looked like an article on a weather website and assumed it was such.

But it was an editorial ad that blended it very well in the overall design of the website.

And that’s what native ads do.

They are a type of advertising that matches the design, form and function of the website or platform where they are displayed.

That’s why they are called “native”, since they “live” in harmony with the rest of the content appearing there.

By doing that, these ads avoid that the website visitor recognizes them as typical ads.

And by the way, the ads that are displayed in the Facebook news feed are also native ads, because they blend in and pretend to be the usual Facebook posts from your Facebook “friends”.

In contrast, the typical display ad is easily recognized as an advertisement.

They are the most commonly known ones and the first ones were the banner ads, or hyperlinked, image-based ads and were usually located at the top of a web page.

Later, they took different sizes and shapes and also included videos.

Today, display ads usually have a format of 468 x 60 pixels and a rather low click-through rate of 0.05%.

But the low click-through rate doesn’t mean that they don’t work, although you will have much more work to do to get through to your potential customers due to the called “banner blindness”.

native ads for real estate

Display Ads vs. Native Ads

To compare both types of ads in a better way, you find below a table comparing both.

Native AdsDisplay Ads
Soft SellHard Sell
High CTR (0.2%)Low CTR (average 0.05%)
Blends into the design of the page’s editorial contentStands out as advertising
More Effective on DesktopMore Effective on Desktop
Ideal for driving traffic to your websiteIdeal for retargeting campaigns


Why Native Ads in the Age of Social Media and Why for Real Estate?

Some reasons I’ve already mentioned above.

Native ads are effective because they are better received by the respective target audience, reduce ad fatigue, circumvent banner blindness and are recognized much later as advertising compared to, for example, display ads (as it happened to me).

By that, your marketing message is more likely to be consumed by your target audience.

They are also more effective because more and more subscription-based platforms allow consumers to receive no advertisement by paying a higher monthly fee.

The kind of advertising these platforms are targeting are usually display ads.

Additionally, there is also a neuroscientific aspect that makes native ads a great alternative marketing channel.

According to scientists, the human brain hasn’t evolved in 50,000 years.

So, decisions are made the same way as in this far away past.

And most of the time marketers tap only into 5 % of the consumer’s conscious part of the brain.

Unfortunately, the other 95% part is in charge when it comes to choices, decisions and actions.

That’s where native ads thrive, because they can influence at a subconscious level.

It’s because the website visitor or consumer reads the native ads and becomes part of the experience of the consumption of relevant content.

By that, there is much more engagement involved, which means that both hemispheres of the brain, including the subconscious, get involved for image and text processing.

So, Then Why Native Ads for Real Estate?

When selling real estate, your price points are usually in the six-figure area and by that, it’s not the same as selling a lower priced product such as a fitness device.

For the latter, you can get away with a sales copy that appeals to just one hemisphere of the brain (e.g. emotions).

This is not the case for products with higher price tags, where you ideally should appeal to emotions and rational benefits.

And, as already stated above, native ads engage both hemispheres of the brain so they are ideally suitable for real estate offers.

What Are Some Native Ad Trends?

The first thing to note is that startups and Fortune 500s are allocating more and more budgets to non-disruptive ad campaigns.

US native ad spend has been growing by 20.2% to $52.75 billion in 2018 according to emarketer.

Emarketer also forecasts that in 2020, 88.8% of the native ads in the US will become more mobile (see picture below), 87.7% will be purchased programmatically, and the native ads coming from social media will decline slightly from 76.7% to 73.5%.

native ads for real estate

Digital video ad spending has been rising faster than the display one and this is something to take into consideration also for native advertising.

Because according to this business insider article, digital video ad revenue will rise by a compound annual growth rate of 21.9%.

This means that not only text and picture native ads should be considered, but also or even more so, native video ads.

The Top 5 Largest Native Ads Platforms You Can Start Using Today

So, how do native ad platforms actually work and which are out there that you can start using today?

Native ad platforms are basically in the traffic arbitrage business.

What this means is that the platforms acquire different large publishing sites as clients, such as large news websites, large blogs, etc. and offer them a certain rate (usually on a pay per click basis) to include and blend in the publisher’s usual content the advertiser clients’ “sponsored” content (in this case, your native ad).

Not all publishers are permitted to be part of a native ad platform because certain minimum traffic requirements per month need to be met.

Which are the top 5 largest native ads platforms you can start using today?

1) Taboola

native ads for real estate

On Taboola, you can run traffic with prices between $0.02 and $0.10 per click, depending on the click-through rate you achieve.

You can choose between the following three different payment schedules:

  • Prepayment billing, where you need to pay before you run your campaigns
  • Automatic billing with a set billing increment (typically $100), which is the total amount your campaigns can spend before you need to pay again
  • Monthly invoice billing with a credit limit

What about audience targeting?

With Taboola, you can target audiences based on behavior, interest, demographics, business, buying intent, and of course, their location (e.g. countries, state, zip codes.)

2) RevContent

native ads for real estate

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much pricing information available on the platform.

After some further research on a third-party site, I could find out that the cost per click rates (CPC) depends on geography and the cost per view can reach $3 for every 1000 impressions.

What about audience targeting?

There are not that many sniper-style targeting options available on RevContent, but you can target your audience by country, device and language.

3) Content.Ad

native ads for real estate

This platform is also a bit shy with their pricing information, but fortunately, I could find some information on this website.

It is stated there that one can expect to pay around 3 to 6 cents per click.

Since the article is from 2017, you might pay a bit more per click now.

What about audience targeting?

According to their website, it has two targeting options.

It seems you can target different countries and different devices but that’s it.

4) AdNow

native ads for real estate

Your minimum threshold is $20 if you pay via PayPal and $200 should you pay via wire transfer.

With regards to your cost per click, the minimum bid is $0.001, but if you want to get good traffic from tier 1 and tier 2 countries, you will need to bid between $0.1 and $0.5.

What about audience targeting?

The targeting options are pretty much the same as with the last two native ad platforms.

You can do geo-targeting by country and device targeting.

5) Outbrain

native ads for real estate

Outbrain is one of the most expensive native ad platforms.

It has publishing partners such as CNN, Time, ESPN, Bloomberg, and more.

You will need a minimum budget for a campaign of $10 per day or $300 per month and the minimum cost per click (CPC) is $0.03.

As above, the minimum budget won’t get you much traffic so you might expect to start between $0.10 and $1.50.

So, for a testing budget you might need between $500 and $2000 per month.

However, these prices are still less than what you will pay right now on average per click on Facebook and Google Ads for tier one countries such as the United States, which leads me to the last section of this article.


What Do You Pay on Average per Click Right Now for Real Estate Ads on Facebook and Google AdWords?

According to this article on Wordstream, right now you pay $1.81 per click on average in the real estate industry in tier 1 countries.

In tier 2 countries this can be way lower, as I know from my own experience, where I managed to get the costs down to 5 cents per click on Facebook.

But assuming you are targeting the United States for the most part, the $1.81 per click is what you will likely have to pay. Of course, this is not set in stone.

If you have a really great campaign, with a high CTR and thus can get the cost per click down.

So now, after this comparison and contrasting the costs with Facebook ads for real estate, the first seemingly high cost per click of $1.50 on Outbrain looks a bit different, don’t you think?

What about Google Ads Costs for the Real Estate Industry?

When looking at the costs per click in the real estate industry for search ads on Google, you are looking at whopping costs of $2.37 per click.

But it would be unfair to use this cost per click as comparison and it would be better to compare it to the costs per click for Google display ads, which is $0.75 per click.

This is lower than the higher amount of $1.50 on Outbrain, but higher than the lower range bit of $0.10.

But even if we ignore that $0.10 and focus on the $1.50 on Outbrain, the cost of Google display ads is only truly cheaper if you manage to get the same click-through rates as with native ads, which is highly unlikely.

You might remember the beginning section of this article, where I compared the click-through rates of native ads (0.2%) with display ads (0.05%).

Since the CTR of native ads is four times higher than that of display ads, you can deduce that you have to pay roughly 4 times more per click for display ads to get the same results than for native ads.

So, if we apply the factor 4 to the $0.75 of Google display ads for real estate, we get a cost per click of $3, which we now can fairly compare to the performance of native ads.

This means that even though at first glance Google display ads seem to be cheaper per click than Outbrain, they are actually more expensive when we factor in the lower click-through rate.

native ads for real estate


Because of the different advantages that native ads give you and the constantly increasing costs per click for the real estate industry of the most popular advertising platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook, you might give native ads a test try.

Even if it seems that native ads would have more advantages, don’t be misled to believe that this is a general conclusion.

As I have mentioned so often, it always depends on so many factors, such as your skills with a particular marketing channel.

You usually don’t find by chance a winning marketing channel and a winning campaign, you make them so by repeated testing.

Stay tuned for the next article, where we will dive a bit deeper into the best practices of native ads.