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Paradigm Shift: Intent-Based Marketing to Push and Target Marketing

In 2013, the internet went from your desktop to the palm of your hand.

The rise of handheld mobile devices made us more available to friends, family and colleagues (whether we wanted to or not) and changed the way we consumed, well...everything. And with this change, marketing experienced its own paradigm shift from intent-based marketing to push and target marketing. A shift that has had far reaching implications in the real estate industry.

We're here to help you, as a realtor, understand this shift and how it affects your marketing spend.

First and foremost, what is intent-based marketing? According to the Digital Marketing Glossary (yes, that exists): “Intent-based marketing can be defined as being all marketing campaigns aiming at consumers who have shown a purchase intent through their behaviors.”

The beauty of intent-based marketing is that you can close business faster while spending less overall.

Before the internet existed, marketers (and especially realtors), were using this method to gauge the intent of their consumers. Back in the good ole’ days, real estate agents would advertise in newspaper classifieds and buyers with the intention of purchasing a house would look in the classifieds and decide to contact the agent.

But as we all know, the rise of the World Wide Web shook things up a bit. In the mid-2000s, real estate moved over to the internet, but still using intent-based marketing. Services like Google Ads, Zillow, Realtor.com and others allowed agents to target potential buyers who searched for properties- demonstrating their intent even more clearly.

Intent-based marketing has served realtors well and it still proves a healthy return on investment. But with the advent of mobile devices, push and target marketing took on a whole new meaning in the world of real estate and beyond.


People began spending less time on their phones inside browsers searching for information and more time inside apps, consuming what’s being presented to them. In this sense, people don’t show their intent nearly as much on mobile as they do on desktop. This fact alone is what created the advertising shift from intent-based marketing to push and target marketing.

Before moving forward - what exactly is push and target marketing and how does it work?

Push and target marketing came from new tools created by social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to push advertisements to specific targeted groups of highly engaged people in your sector of business. Rather than waiting for a potential buyer to demonstrate intent via their browser, realtors can and should shift to a push and target marketing approach to get in front of their audience- faster and more efficiently.

For example, social media companies, like Facebook, allow a realtor to target a likely buyer by way of geographic area (ex. 10 mile radius from the property), age (ex. 35-50), income (ex. at least $50,000 and less than $80,000), and even credit score (cool, right?). With the click of a button, a realtor can push out their property directly into the social media feeds of people who meet that criteria. Even better, buyers don't have to demonstrate intent (like open up to the classifieds) because the ads have targeted the correct audience and pushed the message to where they are today- not where they were 5 years ago.

Here are a few other examples of push and target marketing in the world of real estate:

  • A real estate agent in California wanted to target tech workers in the fast growing markets of Venice and Santa Monica. He knew that young, potential buyers would work at specific internet technology companies. So he targeted his new listings to people aged 25-35, who made more than $100,000 and worked at one of six fast growing tech companies.

  • An Arizona real estate agent had a property on a golf course that she wanted to sell. She targeted people within a 10 mile radius of the property who were interested in the country club, the golf course and golf in general.

As you can see, the combinations are limitless. You can take advantage of this paradigm shift by creating your own landing pages and social media ads, or you can use tools like PropertySimple to help do it for you.

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