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What Happens When You Click On A Real Estate Ad

Hi there! Rob Avery here, your Brantford Realty expert, with over 37 years experience in the Brant County region. I’m currently with RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc. Brokerage, and I’m here to serve!

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Call Rob Avery Now – 1 (519) 757-7993


I’m also here to talk about an interesting topic that’s come up a lot lately, for a number of reasons which I’ll get to shortly, which involve full transparency on my part.

Why? So I can show you some of the inner workings of the real estate business that you as a property buyer or seller may appreciate knowing more about.

I’m talking about often-frowned-upon world of online ads.

The question here is: What happens when you click on a real estate ad?

It’s an interesting question for a number of reasons, because I don’t think a lot of people out there on the internet who are interested in real estate know precisely how this works. Consider this article a type of real estate tip.

That said, I’m sure there are those web-savvy folks who do understand this, as the basic idea is fairly straightforward and a lot of people these days do understand how ads on the internet work, but this article goes out to those who may not know, and want to hear about it from someone who’s in the business like myself.

How Real Estate Ads Online Work

I don’t think I’m revealing any big secret to tell you that the internet, and those people who run blogs and websites like mine, will tend to spend money on ads in order to attract customers.

Just like television commercials, or flyers, these online ads target a given audience (say, home buyers in Brantford), in the hopes that the audience will encounter the ad and click on it, sending them into what’s affectionally known in marketing circles as a “sales funnel”.

For instance, in my case, as a realtor in Brantford, Ontario, I have been known to pay for online advertisements that help me get real estate clients seeking homes in my area, by advertising on Google and similar platforms like Facebook.

To me, it’s the online version of paying for a slot in the newspaper, or a local sign on a bus stop bench – slightly annoying to some, but otherwise effective.

As someone who pays for such ads (because they certainly are not free), a portion of one’s budget must go towards said ads, in the hopes that clients eventually appear, who people like myself can start real and enduring business relationships with, leading, hopefully, to business transactions that benefit both parties.

Not all of my sales come from ads, as I have been in business for several decades, and have generally found my clients in ways that I would consider more organic; as in, NOT through online ads.

Still, these days, lots of realtors use ads to make contact with potential clients, so it’s definitely an option that I’ve invested some resources in.

Usually the ads I’m referring to say something like “Are you looking for a home in Brantford? Shop homes here!”, or something similar, and you will see them when you surf the internet, popping up on any platform related to Google, such as Youtube, or Google search.


What People Don’t Like About Online Ads

There are some people who actually strongly dislike online ads, and I can’t say I blame them.

These ads, are based on things you type into Google through your phone, and through your computer.

For example, if you type in “rent cottage near me” into Google, it’s likely you will see an add in the near future for cottage rentals. Here’s what it looks like in the real world – a billboard for AirBnB (just imagine this, but online).

If you type in the search query “where to listen to audio books”, Google will start showing you those ads, paid for by the companies who are trying to sell those types of services.

By the way, a “search query” is anything you type into Google that is like a question, such as “have they caught Bigfoot yet”. Except, I’m referring to real estate queries, like “homes near parks in Toronto”.

These ads which appear after you type in your “query” might seem slightly sneaky, as they seem to come out of nowhere, and they’ve used what are called digital “cookies”, which are little online trackers, to track you once you’ve typed something in, or visited a website. So they basically follow you around for a while.

With real estate, the ads function the same way. You type in “Buy homes in Brantford”, and, for a while, you might see some sort of “pop-up” ad, which has an “opt in”, which invites you click something, and fill out a short form with your name and email.

You see these pop ups all the time, once you visit a website, but you can also see similar ads when you are just surfing the web, which may be a little more subtle, or “polite”, or generally more expected or welcoming.

In any case, people don’t necessarily like these kinds of ads either, as some folks don’t want to sign up for anything ever, but there are plenty of people who do click these types of “opt ins”, because they are genuinely curious or interested in the product or service being offered by the website or ad.

By the way, an “opt in” is just an ad which involves you filling out a form of some kind, hence submitting your information to whoever made the “pop up” or “opt in”.


What Happens Next? – Down The Funnel

Here’s what you see sometimes, once you’ve “opted in” to an ad.

At this point, you are now in the “sales funnel” and, according to marketers, you are going one direction which is “down”.

What is “down” the funnel, you ask? Well, the goal of the ad is to get you to buy whatever it is that is being sold, whether it’s a car, a luxury vacation, a house, or a bag of candy.

“Funnel” is such an ominous term used by marketers to describe what happens to customers when they “click through” an ad, but, if done correctly, the “funnel” shouldn’t be so ominous at all.

That’s because, when I employ such techniques as the dreaded “funnel”, my real true purpose is to connect with potential customers, to ideally make their day a little brighter by providing a service that they apparently are interested in.

As it happens, I’m just using ads to do that, as there are less and less realtors who open up phone books (which basically no longer exist) and start at “A” and start running down the list.

On top of that, the practice of “door-to-door” sales happens less and less, as many realtors do a lot of their work online, and that’s how they like it.

Of course, the downside of the prevalence of online advertising is that there’s a lack of face-to-face encounters, and nowadays, every business and their cousin nowadays is using SMS marketing and automated phone services to call potential clients who have “opted in” to some sort of product or service.

That’s why a lot of people now get calls, texts, and emails all day every day by anyone who may have their number, and it doesn’t help that a lot of companies simply share data with other companies, allowing them access to their “lists”, which is unethical, but is now common practice.

So what happens? Everyone is now just calling everyone around the clock, and other countries are involved too, since jobs are outsourced to faraway lands. So, you can expect calls from people from here, there, and everywhere – even on a barge in the middle of some river in south east Asia to give you a ring. I’m not even kidding!

This, overall, is why people are very leery about clicking on ads, or “opting in”

They don’t know who’s calling, from where, or why. And, as is often the case, sometimes there’s no way to know, as you get a phone call from someone labelled “Possible Fraud”. Doesn’t sound too encouraging, does it?

There’s just too many people trying to get a hold of you, and many of them aren’t the most considerate of people.

And yet, there’s people like me, who actually wants to talk to the people who may have signed up to hear about properties in their area, and I’m trying my best to get a hold of my potential customers amongst everyone else vying for their time and energy, for different and sometimes more illicit reasons.

Because, on any given day, a customer who is trying to sell their home may get a call from my assistant (or myself), the air ducts guy, the phone company, their local political party, the delivery guy, and two or three actual scambots.


CRM’s and The Flip Side Of ADS

If you’ve never heard of a CRM, it’s called Customer Relationship Management, and it’s basically a type of software that keeps track of people who click on my ads, so that I can see who signed up, and who I need to get a hold of, and for what reason.

This is the part of online real estate ads that most people don’t understand, because perhaps they don’t know they’ve been “tracked”, once they “signed up” for the ad. My potential clients may not be aware they are part of a system, where now I am now cataloging them as potential “leads”.

Here’s an example of a fictional client inside of a CRM (not the one I use), so you can get an idea of what a lot of realtors are looking at on the backend.

It may seem a little odd, but this is standard practice for realtors who deploy ads to get customer’s attention. People who have “opted in” to an ad via the internet are now “possible leads”, and it is my duty to reach out to them without bothering them too much, by phone, as they have likely submitted their phone number in the “opt in”, or their email.

I have my virtual “rolodex” of people I’m in communication with, and I need to keep it organized, so that I can communicate with them in an efficient manner.

The CRM, once again, is the system that allows me to do that, and I basically put people in a priority sequence according to who has accurately submitted their information into the sign up form, so that I may contact them when I get the chance.

Overall, it’s meant to be a pleasant experience, where you are seeking to either buy or sell a home, and you’ve filled out the appropriate sign up form to get more information or speak to someone, and then, I am here to try and make contact with you, while keeping all of your information private and secure, but organized alongside other potential clients, or active clients, in my system, as it were.


Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, the process of me getting into contact with you, the potential home buyer or seller, is meant to be pleasant and efficient.

Ads are used, sometimes, to make this connection happen, but they aren’t as simple as they may first appear.

The goal of this article was to provide some insight into how real estate ads, not to mention online ads in general, work, for those who were not yet aware.

I hope this helps! Call me at the number I provided above if you want to chat. I’m here in the Brantford area, busy selling homes, but I’d love to hear from you! – Rob Avery

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