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Real Estate Technology

Are video retargeting ads the industry’s next big marketing push?

Retargeting ads aren’t new, but throw in some video, and the real estate industry is likely to glom on – is this feasible for individual agents?



retargeting ads

Brand retargeting has some big players already. Think about when you have scrolled through the DSW shoe site, didn’t find what you wanted, so you cruised to Then, aha…wait… those glorious shoes of your dreams were there. They were glittering in your mind’s eye. That true sweet perfection you were seeking. Yeah, but you didn’t buy them. As the attention-span-of-a-gnat that you have become since the dawn of social media, imagine this if you will: a couple of minutes pass.

You are now on Facebook lol’ing at your dog-plus-cat “Happy” video, and whammy – side bar feed of your freshly picked out shoes from Zappos appear. Hmmm… Interesting. A day later, you’re on the local news station site:  oh, hello there… sneaky shoes. You’ve been Zappos’d again. This is effective retargeting.

Papa’s got a brand new bag

What does this have to do with real estate you ask?  Well, those who are in the know, are well aware that retargeting has been a tool in the toolbox with our buddies at Zillow for some time now. I have to tell you that I see Chris Speicher, Co-founder for the Speicher Group of Olney, Maryland more than he may know. I dig the guy. Well played, my friend. Well played. Imagine though, if Chris were in motion. If he were not just a static photo of a happy-go-lucky, world-class agent that I know that he already is? Imagine for a second that his retargeted messaging through Zillow had video content of one of the many beautiful homes that I know he and his phenomenal team had in their portfolio.

Speicher Group is already working on this tactic within their own firm, which is going to set this team up for even more staggering growth. Retargeted marketing is on its way, Olney, Maryland! Let me tell you first of all that in 2010, Chris and his wife did six transactions. Last year, they did 110. This year, they are set up to do 250. Yowzahs. They are on fire, and with a team of twelve, who are all working their online lead pillars highly effectively, the retargeted marketing campaign they are creating for their hyper-local Maryland market is going to explode even further.

The vision in video

“Video is a great idea and is the next natural progression for those on the cutting edge vertical,” Speicher said when asked about the idea of adding the video element to the retargeted marketing campaign. “In fact, we’re about to launch it on our site.” It is a huge opportunity for firms with small teams to get top of mind with their clients who have been navigating their site, sending out favorites via their social media platforms and they get retargeted messaging about that specific home that they have been looking at on the Speicher Group’s site.

The retargeting platform they are creating in-house would pull together the video of homes and even highlight the purchase process, bringing the consumer experience full-circle all from a one-time origination on their site. He came up with the idea while in conversation with his contacts at Boomtown and Hubspot. Speicher is the full-time business organization and development visionary for their business, and his wife, Peggy Lyn is their superstar agent. This dynamo agent will go on up to twenty-five listing appointments a week; way to rock it out, Peggy Lyn! Together, the Speichers have cultivated a spectacular business platform that still has room to grow. Someone is doing something right!

Some next level brand retargeting

Remember, retargeting is just a mere step in a complex system of campaign, brand management and strategy. Think of it this way, you are trying to become relevant with your prospects, so that they are seeing you and staying top of mind. You can’t just count on them coming to your site and then being done with it. The nurturing still needs to happen. Some folks have created platforms to make the process of retargeting much more simplified. This is incredible; it makes those of us who don’t know coding, or apps or how the “interweb” really, truly works eyes get all starry eyed, but to this end, also comes a big question.

Can this type of retargeting work for a single agent?

Speicher mentions that, “unless an individual has created a large enough brand in and of themselves, retargeting may be cost prohibitive.” My continuation of his thought was that not only would it be a cost prohibitive marketing endeavor, the campaign could possibly be completely pointless, maybe even lost in the shuffle, if there is no major brand identity to latch onto for the consumer. Focused-retargeting will be the way to go and that first interaction with the agent’s site will be the reason they come back for more.

The video gurus

When considering the brilliance of this type of retargeting, there are some amazing app developers that come to mind that come from the wheelhouse of creating video content, and are now making retargeting with video as their main advertising stream. Take for example Fuel451, formerly ignite video, which has recently launched to create retargeted branding with a focus on cost-effective, retargeted branding with video content for the underdog.

What I mean by that is the average agent out there is not Anthropologie, who has a killer retargeted marketing campaign. I will admit to falling victim to it, and yes. Yes, I bought the flipping dress because I broke down after seeing it fifteen times across multiple avenues of web-dom. Does this mean it will happen with real estate? We shall see. Maybe the addition of movement, and that non-static image will be the key. What Fuel451 has to say about themselves: “Online video advertising is now within your reach.  Fuel451 helps you create and launch online ad campaigns, so you can retarget potential customers and bring them back to your site…Our technology constantly measures your ad performance and makes the next ad even better. Fuel451 does the work for you, so you can focus on what’s important — your business and your customers.”

Some aren’t going to be able or willing to do the heavy lifting on a project like this themselves, so brokerages will be considering firms like Fuel451. Quinn Regan, Director of  Business Development at Fuel451 is in full-tilt build mode. From my discussions with him, their team can create the ad, and do the tracking and measuring. This sounds ideal for the independent agents and small teams who don’t have huge marketing geniuses behind them creating applications and the like.

Hitting the target

For now, there are a select few agents out there, maybe like the Speicher Group and those who have subscribe to Zillow’s Premiere Agent platform who get to take advantage of the retargeting rage. Will video be the next big thing? It sounds like the hyper-local focused retargeting campaigns will become a wonderful option for those looking to get known by their community.

Real Estate agents who are the “one-off” will still need to build up their brand awareness prior to kicking off a big campaign. They should think big like the Speicher Group and do test campaigns, but be able to support them before launching. Working with a company like Fuel451 can help take the guess work out of building a product from scratch, because those types of firms can do it all for you.  Do your research first and get to know the products available if you are looking to be the retargeting master in your target market.

Genevieve Concannon brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media, marrying marketing and sustainability while setting herself and Real Living at Home apart from the masses. She is a hardcore sustainability nerd, even founding the well known Green Drinks events.

Real Estate Technology

10 UX /UI design trends leading the way for 2022 and beyond

(TECHNOLOGY) Keeping your website and mobile up to date is the first step. Check out these UX and UI design trends that will dominate the future of tech.



An overhead look at a person working on a no-code design website on a laptop on a desk.

A new year means new trends, here are the top 10 trends in UI/UX development and how they can be implemented. With consumers interacting with the online world more in 2022 than ever before, being ahead of the curve can help content stand out. Let’s take a look at the top 10 trends in UI/UX design for 2022.

UI/User Interface

1) Vintage, 90’s

I guess it’s true what they say; everything old is new again! In the last months of 2021 the 90’s made a huge comeback across the board, from fashion to interior design and now in web design too. Some elements of this style are a mix of bright and pastel colors, shadows, line graphic elements, serif fonts, and round text elements. In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, “I come back stronger than a 90’s trend”.

Source: Plus


Example of Vintage trend by Plus


2) Scrollytelling


A portmanteau of the words “scrollying” and “telling”; scrollytelling is just what it sounds like! A story is told to the user as they scroll down a continuous page. Considering that a large part of what we do on our mobile devices involves scrolling (sometimes with no end in sight) this trend is a natural next step.


Source: Bluemarinefoundation


Example of Scrollytelling Trend by Blue Marine Foundation


3) 3D and 3D animations


3D design is a trend that has been steadily increasing over the years, but will peak in popularity this year! From Apple showing off their newest device concepts via 3D animation, to car websites showing off their car models, 3D animation can be invaluable to showing off every aspect of a new product. 3D animation will be the most popular in ecommerce, architecture, and business, and also make an appearance in fashion, education, and culture.


Source: The Originals Museum Renault


Example of Originals Museum Renault 3D trend


4) Minimalism


Since the days of Marie Kondo and ridding yourself of objects that “spark no joy” minimalism has been a fast-growing trend, and 2022 is no exception. Minimalism is all about free space, contrasting text, graphic elements, and space. Minimalism is simple and free of distractions and is pleasing to the user.


Source: Neuro


Example of Minimalism Trend by Neuro


5) Brutalism


On the opposite end of the spectrum to the aforementioned minimalism trend, we have brutalism. Brutalism is chaotic and attention-grabbing (and maybe a little headache-inducing). It consists of huge titles, bold fonts, and bright and neon colors splashed all over the webpage. It is about creativity and challenging regular design rules. It is sure to garner attention in 2022.


Source: MSG


Example of Brutalism Trend by the MSG Brand


UX/User Experience 


1) AR/VR


Unsurprisingly, the augmented and virtual reality trends will extend to UX designs. Since Meta announced the Metaverse and the VR Oculus headsets (which are also owned by Meta) coming out with new versions, and gaining popularity it only makes sense that AR and VR trends would extend to web design as well. The biggest practical application is in e-commerce. Ikea released Ikea Place, where you can place furniture in your home via VR prior to purchasing it. The AR/VR trend will steadily grow in popularity for years to come; especially as the Metaverse gains ground in the future.


Source: The Wall Street Journal


Example of VR Trend by Metaverse


2) Audio Only


Music giant, Spotify launched a live audio app, called Greenroom. Greenroom allows creators to interact with fans in real-time, by creating rooms, selecting speakers, and discussing topics. With podcasts and audiobooks at an all-time high, coupled with security concerns over messaging communication and a dash of healthy contempt for video calling, it makes sense that audio-only apps would make an appearance. It is also easy and requires no links or registration. Where tech giants like Spotify lead, other companies are sure to follow.


Source: Spotify


Example of Audio App Trend by Greenroom


3) Customization


From the customization of features inside an application such as the name, appearance, and color of chats inside social media sites like Instagram or Facebook to the customization of just about every feature of a smartphone, the last several years have been huge for environment customization. Where frequent and long-term interactions are expected, this 2022 trend is a great option.


Source: Instagram, Telegram


Example of UX Design Trend by Instagram, Telegram


4) Mobile-first design


With smartphone sales reaching 1.53 billion in 2021, and with the portability of smartphones, it is no surprise that consumers prefer interacting with websites via their mobile devices. UX developers can take advantage of this by utilizing chatbot and push notifications, keeping only the necessary elements, designing user-friendly call to action to drive sales, and most importantly, keeping it simple. This trend is a safe bet since it is guaranteed to grow exponentially in the coming years.


Source: Statista


Number of smartphones sold to end users worldwide from 2007 to 2021 representing mobile design trend


5) Page Speed Prioritization


Going hand in hand with mobile design, 2022 will see an emphasis on page speed prioritization. It may seem like a no-brainer but, in a world where rapid consumption of content is expected, fast page speeds should be a given. Websites need to be optimized so that photos and videos do not slow the page when they are loading. One way to help with page speed is to use small fonts, and only one per title and one per body text. This is especially true for startup sites looking to build an audience (which can never happen if users jump ship immediately due to slow loading times). Google’s algorithms love well-optimized pages, which rank at the top. This means the burden is on the designer to create a well-optimized page without sacrificing design. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned UI/UX pro, these trends are sure to help create.

Page speed trend

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Real Estate Technology

Tech trends: What’s emerging that is now impacting the real estate industry

(TECHNOLOGY) Tech and its effects impact all aspects of life. What are the top tech trends impacting the real estate industry now?



home for sale representing tech trends in real esate

Several hundred Realtors® met this week to discuss emerging tech trends impacting the real estate industry. With the real estate market seemingly ready to bust, it’s important to consider how technology may affect home buyers and sellers.

Data trends to know

Jane Dzielski, Google’s Principal Analytical Lead, presented important information about home buying trends. Prior to the pandemic, about 10% of households moved each year. Over the past two years, 25% of consumers have moved. Another 24% plan to move in the next year. She also reported that internet searches for buying a second home have “surged” since the second half of 2020.  Second homes are considered a great investment to earn money renting while having access to a vacation home.

Tech trends to pay attention to

Ashley Stinton, Second Century Ventures, brought her experience in marketing to the session by discussing investment in real estate technology companies. She reported that “over $31 billion was invested in 2021.” She also said, “We’ve seen 12 new prop tech unicorns as well as over 150 merger and acquisition transactions.” SCV has a program to support new tech to bring innovations to the real estate industry.

Other speakers went on to discuss the impact of the metaverse on real estate. Meta is investing $10 billion per year over the next decade to the metaverse. As the metaverse impacts how we interact with and use the internet, it’s going to change how people buy and sell homes.

Cryptocurrency and blockchains will also impact the real estate landscape. According to one of NAR’s directors, over 11% of first-time homebuyers sold cryptocurrency as part of their down payment in 2021. This figure is trending upwards since 2019. Many experts expect it to continue to rise.

Tech has certainly made an impact on home buying and selling since the pandemic. Home appraisals are being conducted without needing to physically visit the home by desktop appraisals. Closings are being conducted virtually. Expect tech to innovate to give home sellers and buyers more options in the future years.

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Real Estate Technology

How to avoid hackers and being sued by customers for being hacked

(TECHNOLOGY) Real estate transactions are being targeted by cybercriminals. One company just got sued by customers for being hacked. Are you safeguarding your company and clients?



Lock and card on laptop representing being hacked.

Can you imagine your company being hacked, and your customers’ information being used by these criminals, and then you are held liable? It got us to thinking – if hackers are targeting real estate transactions, can brokers or teams be vulnerable here?

To get the answer, we chatted with Katie Johnson, General Counsel at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and if you’re a real estate professional, you should keep reading to learn how to minimize your risk.

Something NAR’s been thinking about

NAR has a tremendous number of resources on this topic, and they’ve clearly been pondering how to safeguard the industry for quite some time.

In her own words, Johnson offers three ways that you can safeguard yourself and your customers from being hacked:

1. Create, maintain, and follow a comprehensive Data Security Program. Many states require businesses to maintain written data security policies regarding the collection, use, distribution, and destruction of consumers’ personally identifiable information. Going through the process of creating such a policy will help members understand what type of personally identifiable information they receive from clients, how it is received (e.g., email, hard copies, text, transaction management tools), and whether it is necessary.

The policy should also address how to properly dispose of such information. NAR has published a Data Security Toolkit to assist members with creating that policy. We also offer a 4 hour course for members.

2. Implement good email practices. We are increasingly hearing about data breaches resulting from a hacked email account. Therefore, it’s important for all email users to change passwords on a regular basis and to use complex passwords that would be difficult to guess.

Also, avoid sending sensitive financial information via email whenever possible. If necessary, then use encrypted email. Use up-to-date firewall and anti-virus technologies. Avoid using free Wifi to send emails or conduct business. Clean out your email account on a regular basis and avoid opening suspicious email or attachments.

3. Be paranoid. This is advice that my colleague, Jessica Edgerton gives, and it’s very true. If an email, phone call, or social media posting looks suspicious, it probably is best to avoid engaging. If a member thinks a breach has occurred, then all affected or potentially affected parties, as well as proper law enforcement, should be notified as soon as possible.

Moving forward, better informed

Further, Johnson notes that they are not aware of any legal liability imposed on NAR members to-date, but she notes that “the possibility is always there as cyberfraud in real estate transactions persists.”

“In addition to legal liability,” Johnson adds, “data breaches can have other harmful effects on a member’s business such as time and resources spent implementing new security measures, training, and having to contact clients that may be affected by the breach.”

Can you honestly say you’re already doing all of these things? If not, spend some time this month to protect yourself, your team, and most importantly, your customers.

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