Giles Milner, PR and Marketing Manager at estate agents Chesterton Humberts, offers some learnings from a project to bring the benefits of tablet advertising to the process of selling houses.
I think it is fair to say that the UK property industry, estate agencies included, cannot be considered ‘early adopters’ when it comes to new technology and are very rarely seen at the forefront of cutting-edge marketing.
I have always found this slightly odd, given that the industry has one of the most widely talked about, highly coveted, well publicised, emotive and expensive products on the market: homes. With the majority of the adult population owning one or having aspirations to own a property, the opportunity for online engagement new media in the industry is huge and yet surprisingly untapped.
As print readership continues to decline whilst tablet penetration rockets, with an estimated 30% of the UK population now using one, there is an opportunity to engage with the lost print readership that has migrated to digital versions via tablet versions of those print publications.
Despite the almost unbelievable growth of tablets since the launch of the iPad in 2010, when I took over the marketing team at Chesterton Humberts in 2012 I was struck by how slow both traditional media owners and our competitors seem to have been at embracing the level of interactivity that this platform can offer.
Currently, many media owners’ own technological limitations allow only very limited scope for innovation and interactive elements on their tablet editions and most of our competitors use a relatively flat advert or seem satisfied with ticking the ‘interactive’ box with a basic picture gallery.
Although it was clear that Chesterton Humberts needed to be advertising on this platform, I was reluctant to enter the tablet advertising arena with a ‘standard’ advert and was determined to create something more innovative, more engaging and more fun for readers – demonstrating the extent to which we embrace new technology for the benefit of our clients and setting the bar for other advertisers.
From experience, we know that the majority of people that read the property pages are more interested in the human-interest side of property and looking at pictures of beautiful homes than they are in market comment and traditional corporate advertising. With this knowledge, we decided to create a ‘native’ advert that would fit almost seamlessly within the media content and give readers what they would expect from the editorial element of the publication – the opportunity to explore someone else’s beautiful home, hear directly from the people selling the home (as opposed to the estate agent), learn the history of the property and enjoy some editorial-style, ‘not-on-the-brochure’ bits of information.
With the help of our media buyers, Four Communications, and the digital team at Adnostic, as long as you are on an iPad or using the CHROME browser, you can see the fruit of our efforts here.
Although of course slightly biased, Adnostic consider this one of the best ads they have ever done with Matt White, Creative Director, praising the way “it demonstrates tablet advertising’s capacity for advanced HTML animation and interaction and presents multi-pane content in an intuitive and premium manner”.
The feedback from our clients and the engagement statistics from the advert have so far been very positive, easily out-performing the average ‘flat’ advert, and this has encouraged us to start working on our next advert. Perhaps even more flattering is the fantastic feedback that we have had from the publications themselves, who seem just as excited as us to see this sort of innovation coming through.
For example, Lee Fels, Head of Mobile at The Guardian, notes that the campaign has twice as long an average dwell time as any other interstitial run in November. He went on to praise the way that the app seamlessly included multiple calls to action, noting that “it is easy to include a lot of CTAs into an iPad app, but the skill is to do so without cluttering the beauty of a full page advert delivered on tablet”.
I would love to say that we got everything right first time, but if I did, I would be lying. In reality, there are a few things that we did that we won’t do next time, but these all form a valuable lesson, the learnings from which we will incorporate into our next effort, along with some features and ideas that we didn’t manage to include the first time around so watch this space!