TikTok – The New Platform for Property Marketing?
As Bob Dylan once said, “For the times they are a-changin’.”
Never has that been more true than in digital marketing – and property marketing in particular. Millennials are making their mark on property trends, with South African mortgage aggregators confirming that first time home buyers are making up the lion’s share of bonded home loan applications.
Why is this important for property marketing?
Millennials are digital natives, a term coined in 2001 by Marc Prensky to characterize the generation of individuals who grew up in an era of omnipresent technology, such as computers and the internet.
Digital natives get acquainted with technology and computers from a young age and regard technology as an important and vital aspect of their life. Many teens and children in industrialized nations are termed digital natives since they communicate and learn mostly through computers, social networking sites, and texting.
The first generation to grow up practically attached to smartphones, tablets, and laptops, with access to social media and the Internet, and their approach to finding, consuming, and acting on all information – particularly targeted advertising – is vastly different from previous generations.
Research shows that traditional advertising methods just don’t work on millennials – they’re just better at filtering out ads. People haven’t stopped buying stuff, but the ways and reasons they do have changed.
Millennials connect with each other much more than they do with any kind of advertising campaign. When deciding on whether something is worth purchasing, millennials will consult their friends and social networks to see what others think. When making judgments, they utilize this communal filter to sift out research and other word-of-mouth information.
A Shift to Digital
The coronavirus pandemic has also had a substantial impact on several sectors of the global economy, including real estate.
Despite the fact that the internet has become the major source of information for property buyers in recent years, many real estate firms still relied on full-page newspaper advertising and hoardings. As a result of the lockdown, which forced people to stay at home and spend more time on their phones or social media, the shift to digital-only advertising has been accelerated..
TikTok for Property Marketing: a Case Study
A recent TikTok video by Richard Haubrich of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty went viral, attracting over 100k views and 47.4% of purchasers aged 25 to 34 for micro apartments at One Thibault, formally known as the LG Building and originally known as the BP Centre in Thibault Square in Cape Town’s CBD.
The micro apartments start at R895 000 for 19m2, but there are also one and two-bedroom units available.
Speaking to IOL about the success, Haubrich had the following to say:
“I am a digital creator by profession, but when Covid-19 hit, I pivoted and decided to try my hand in the property business. The TikTok video going viral was exciting, unexpected and overwhelming. While most of my buyers are from South Africa, I also landed on some from Canada and the US.
“Many are first time buyers looking for investments for under R1 million.
“We are really not targeting the apartments to people who want to live there, they are more for people who see them as an investment. So some are buying multiple units which will be used as Airbnb apartments etc once tourism picks up again.”
With interest rates remaining at historically low levels, millennials and young families are seizing the chance to get a foot in the real estate market. It is now up to developers and estate brokers to properly adapt their products to this astute set of first-time homebuyers.
So is Tiktok the Future of Property Marketing?
TikTok is the fastest growing platform in the country, with a user base that has increased from five million to nine million in the previous year. Its expansion has been driven by younger demographics, although more people between the ages of 25 and 44 joined during the lockdown.
According to research by Propertymark, viewing figures for property-related hashtags highlight the appetite for information:
#houseforsale – 27.7 million views
#houseforrent – 1.2 million views
#propertytips – 4.9 million views
#auctionproperty – 157,600 views
#propertyinvestment – 13.1 million views
Putting it All Together
With millennials making up a large portion of home sales, and their status as digital natives making them less susceptible to traditional advertising methods, it seems obvious that property marketing will have to evolve.
Add to that the influx of millennials to TikTok during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and the popularity of property related hashtags, and it makes sense that that’s where property marketers should be putting their effort.