In-Market Targeting For Real Estate Brokers


If you’re a real estate broker, you probably started hearing about how artificial intelligence is going to change the real estate scene drastically and how robots are going to replace us as soon as tomorrow. Well, we’re not there yet. However real estate marketing is changing. Fast, very fast. Have you heared about the latest “In-Market Targeting”? If you read or heard about it, you probably thought:  “I don’t understand” or “it sounds too good to be true.”

So, does In-Market Targeting work? Or is it just another tech buzzword designed to waste your marketing budget?


In Market Targeting: What it is

If you’re not familiar yet with In-Market Targeting for real estate broker, here’s how it works in a nutshell. As you probably know, for better or worse, a person’s online browsing history is not 100% private. Search engines, social media platforms, internet service providers, and others can and do track and capture online behavior. Also, that information is for sale.


With that purchased information, tech companies (geeks) feed some 15 billion raw data points daily through an artificial intelligence program that looks for sets of particular markers. For the real estate industry, it looks for individuals who are exhibiting online behaviors that are consistent with the online behaviors of previous real estate buyers and sellers. When it finds a matching pattern, it has identified an individual who is “in-market” for a property.

It used to take an individual taking action such as filling out a contact form or opt-in for that person to self-identify as a prospective buyer or seller and there were some shortcomings in these types of lead generations systems. With In-Market Targeting, the individual self-identifies as an active prospect without knowing he or she is doing so.


In-Market Targeting: What it does

The list of In-Market Targeting for real estate brokers is made available to a few partner digital marketing agencies who can then put together online marketing programs for clients. The agency accesses the list for the specific geographic areas served by its clients, and the list is generally updated weekly with some leads “falling off” and new ones coming on.

The agency can use the list to target the client’s message to these in-market individuals across multiple online platforms like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Linkedin and other social media platforms, and on Display Ad Networks.

These advertising campaigns are set up to only present the ads to the individuals on the In-Market Targeting list (Active Buyers & Active Sellers) which is the key to the entire concept.  By targeting only those individuals who are actively looking to buy or sell real estate right now…today…the campaigns can be more efficient and effective than showing the same ads to some broad demographic slice of the general public. Moreover, the real estate broker can see a significant decrease in cost per lead and an increase in conversion rates.

Another significant benefit is that because of the source and nature of the In-Market Targeting list the real estate broker should be getting in front of the prospective buyer/seller very early in the prospect’s decision-making process.  In doing so, the broker can engage with the prospect before competitors even know that the person is looking for real estate. The benefits of being the first to reach out to the best prospects speak for themselves.


So, what if you had a list of every person in your market area who had just started looking for a property.  Suppose you could be the first broker to reach out to that individual about the benefits of your services. What would it be like if you could engage the prospect first if you could control the conversation if you could become the standard if you could prevent a competitor from coming in later?  Would that likely increase the number of qualified leads your firm could process each month?


So does In-Market Targeting work?

We’ve discussed the concept of In-Market Targeting. But, does it work?

The answer you’ve been waiting for is this. Yes, it works…but there is always a but.

Yes, In-Market Targeting lists for real estate brokers are legitimate though, of course, never 100% perfect. They are not magic beans. There will be a few “tire kickers” on the list, and inevitably the list will never contain every single person in a market area looking for a real estate.  However, overall, the list is powerful as it was compiled from what people are doing, not just what they’re saying.

Yes, getting to the prospective buyer or seller first is a huge advantage. You can preempt individuals who might have gone elsewhere, you can educate the prospect about the benefits of working with your firm, and if your sales and client service processes are what they should be, you’ll be able to convince a lot of these prospects to buy or sell real estate through your brokerage.

Yes, your cost-per-client-acquisition should go down. Though every situation and campaign are different, some case studies have shown In-Market Targeting can reduce a real estate broker’s cost-per-lead by 30-75% compared with industry averages.

Yes, by having your own target list you can deploy your advertising on the platforms that give you the most significant return on investment.  While you can use targeting offered by Google, Facebook, and others, it’s usually expensive (they reward on relevancy), and you’ll not be allowed to take it over to another platform, one that might yield better results.

Yes, you can extend and expand the effectiveness of campaigns by creating “lookalike” audiences based on your ideal prospect profile in Google and Facebook. This type of campaign can catch some prospects who might otherwise fall between the cracks.

Yes, once an individual from an In-Market Targeting list comes to your website, you can do two things that will enhance the effectiveness of using Data Driven Marketing.

  1. You can do is re-targeting advertising that can show a different type of message to this individual, now that he or she is in your funnel.  
  2. Once a person from the list comes to your website, it’s possible then to find the name, address, e-mail address, and phone number for a large percentage of these individuals.  You can do this even if they haven’t interacted with you on the website such as by filling out a form. With this information, you can now deploy direct mail, e-mail, or telemarketing campaigns.

So, yes, In-Market Targeting lists are “for real” and can bring in new business to your firm, month-in, and month-out.


So What About the ‘Buts’?

Data-Driven Marketing is not a magic wand. Notwithstanding all that has been discussed above about the benefits of Data-Driven Marketing using In-Market Targeting, there are still some caveats that need to be realized. Some are connected to the individual real estate brokerage firm while others reflect realities of online marketing in general.

It is necessary upon the brokerage firm to have an adequate sales and conversion process in place. In-Market Targeting will not overcome the deficiencies of a poor sales and customer service model.

A firm’s online reputation can be a make-or-break proposition. If a real estate brokerage firm has a poor online reputation, nothing else matters. Data-Driven Marketing will not overcome a poor online reputation or (almost as bad) no customer reviews or ratings at all.

The agency must be committed to continual testing and retesting headlines, sales propositions, media selection, media placement, everything, culling the losers, running with the winners, and then retesting against the winners. We like to say that “There are no expert marketers, only expert testers.”


Data-Driven Marketing using In-Market Targeting for real estate brokers is for real. Online behavior can identify individuals who are just starting to look to buy or sell real estate. The list of these individuals in a firm’s market area is the ultimate targeting. Advertising to individuals who are in-the-market will bring in new business.

But whether this new business is profitable or not and to what degree it is profitable hinges on the ‘buts.’  Firms that adequately address internal sales and conversion processes, a direct response mindset, online reputation, and the total online presence components of the website, video marketing, and social media marketing and then layer In-Market Targeting on top of this will be substantial winners.

To learn more about marketing for real estate brokers using In-Market Targeting, please visit my website