Trackuity: “enabling next-generation real estate discovery”: Trackuity is an automated advertising platform that drives traffic (both known and unknown users), engagement and monetization with unseen performance via data-driven item suggestions (on-site, emailing, partner site widgets, also Facebook, Instagram and Google). All with the possibility of generating incremental revenue along the way using smart steering features.
OMG- A bit complicated right? To break it down, I interviewed Karel Costens the Director of Sales & Marketing at Trackuity. Karel makes this transformative technology simple to understand and he provides visual examples of how Trackuity can revolutionise your real estate website.
The problem that you may not even know you have:
Imagine a visitor is browsing Immoweb website or any real estate site looking for the property of his dreams. Oh a nice one! He is clicking – moving through the pages. He finds a property that really sparks his interest. and browse another. And takes really time to find all properties matching his criteria…
STOP. At this moment, Trackuity smart solution intervenes.
Karel, tell me what Trackuity can do at this point?
Once a visitor has shown interest in a property, our smart algorithms get a first idea of what the user might be looking for exactly. Then, the customer is prompted with relevant properties, which leads to further user interaction that our algorithms can then use to make even better suggestions. In this way, our technology surfaces the properties of interest automatically, allowing visitors to easily discover them without having to do tedious manual searching.
We see a big change in customer behaviour. The current generation of digital natives is steadily being replaced with a new generation of internet users, the so-called data natives. While the digital natives could already be pleased with a good search tool, the data natives have much higher expectations. They want websites and apps to be smart and data-driven, showing them items of interest automatically without having to do any manual searching. They basically expect the items of interest to come to them, not the other way around.
Now is the time for real estate websites to address this new generation of users. They will simply HAVE to do this in order to stay — or become — successful. It doesn’t even have to be about pleasing users also, since ultimately it just boils down to maximizing lead generation.
The only valid reason for not jumping on the data-driven discovery train used to be that it requires advanced data wizardry that is far from easy to implement, but that is precisely the roadblock that Trackuity has removed.
Trackuity provides a plug-and-play solution that is child’s play to integrate, hiding all of the complexity behind simple controls that real estate websites can easily manage themselves via our customer portal. The customer has then all properties matching his interests that come to him automatically. Leading to more lead generation for the real estate website or the marketplace.
And you apply the same solution to Facebook and Google Display Network campaigns, how does that work?
If your website visitors expect the items of interest to come to them automatically, we might as well go all the way and seamlessly bring interesting properties to interested people via Facebook and Google, the same way. Without requiring those people to go to the corresponding real estate website.
Example: Dave, 45yo, having looked at Immoweb website once this month sees other similar properties passing by (and never the same) when he is scrolling his thread on Facebook or when he’s randomly browsing the web.
Example: Travis, 35yo, sees a few properties passing by on Facebook that could match his interests, even if he’s not actively seeking. Both Facebook & Google use their extensive profile data for prospection purposes.
Under the hood, this uses the same data-driven discovery technology, but there’s even more data potential here. Facebook and Google also have information about people that we can leverage to show relevant suggestions to users who haven’t looked at any properties yet. Whereas before the personalisation process could only start once the user had shown interest in at least one property, Facebook and Google also allow us to make relevant property suggestions for unknown people who haven’t interacted with any properties yet. This is an extremely powerful way of prospecting that is pretty much impossible to overstate.
Again, the sheer complexity of this can be a real show-stopper in practice. Even if you’d be willing to take on the cost of having to do it all manually, you as real estate marketer wouldn’t be able to get close to the performance that Trackuity’s smart automated platform can deliver.
Trackuity goes even further by following the visitor to other websites and then re-triggers him with relevant properties matching his preferences, can you explain?
I wouldn’t call it “following” though, as that suggests we annoyingly chase people around the internet with properties as soon as they visited a real estate website we work for. (Laugh) Our aim is really to delight users by suggesting them properties they haven’t seen yet, not annoy them by chasing them with properties they’ve already seen. We also take privacy very seriously and have incorporated privacy by design in our platform from day one.
Having said that, it is definitely true that our technology can go beyond website boundaries. I’ll give you an example to explain this further.
Immoweb has rented a fixed advertising position for a while on HLN.be, Belgium’s most visited website. We built a widget for them that they could place in this position to show relevant properties to HLN visitors. Recognising users on HLN who visited Immoweb properties before, this widget was able to suggest highly personalised properties based on the user’s previous behaviour on Immoweb. This essentially meant that HLN visitors automatically got to see new properties that were likely to be of interest to them, all while they were reading the news and without even having to go to Immoweb. Just the way data natives like it.
Similar approaches are possible with Facebook and Google as well. Through so called “remarketing campaigns”, we can reactivate previous visitors by showing them recently-added relevant items they hadn’t seen yet. We commonly reach click rates of over 25% with these campaigns and in the case of Facebook typically get a lot of likes and leads on our remarketing ads, which proves that people really do appreciate them.
And what is behind “incremental revenue”, can you give an example? How does it work?
Trackuity’s management portal provides various ways of steering towards given properties or agents with the generated property suggestions. This can be used to direct home seekers to strategically important properties or deliver additional highly-relevant visibility for premium agents, which can indeed lead to additional – so called “incremental” – revenue.
The simplest example of this are our promotion states:
By marking properties as “hot” in our management portal, you can easily give preference to certain properties in all property suggestions generated by our platform, across the various different channels that we support. This typically leads to substantial extra, relevant visibility for promoted properties, which can be sold at a premium to the corresponding real estate agencies or owners of course.
A marketplace can have a deal with a real estate agent or developer to get X amount of clicks per month or to generate X visits. In the scenario where this amount is reached and the visibility and results were achieved, he would be happy to say to Trackuity: targets were reached for this month, let’s steer to reach better target for this other client, or to invest more or let’s push for these properties of that other client specifically. You can be strategic as marketplace to manage your portfolio of clients and each contract’s KPIs.
Our management portal provides many such mechanisms for steering the property suggestions in different ways, promotion states being only one of them. As real estate marketers have to deal with increasingly complex goals and requirements, it becomes crucial for them to be able to steer their marketing efforts in whatever direction they need it to go. The flexibility of our platform allows them to do just that and adapt strategies instantly. And the extra cherry on top, such steering can often be monetized directly to generate incremental revenue.
Amazing! I love it! That is really a breakthrough for real estate marketers. I also loved your software UX interface: very easy to understand and pilot. How do you partner with the real estate marketers to use it?
The main idea behind our management portal is to make the real estate marketer’s life easier and, quite frankly, more fun. We provide them with a single place to manage everything, across all major channels, and give them various options to easily play around with steering to get exactly the results they’re after. Our portal hides all of the underlying complexity and enables marketers to focus solely on managing, adjusting and steering, which they can all do in only a few mouse clicks.
Karel, tell us what makes this tool real magic? How do you see the product evolving? What’s the future of AI technology for this kind of product?
I guess this might be a bit of an obvious answer, but I really think the future of AI for our product lies in making people’s lives as easy as possible, both for real estate marketers and home seekers. The right content for the right people.
Trackuity was originally conceived out of frustration with the amount of manual search work home seekers need to put in to find a suitable home online. We’re determined to put an end to that by encouraging as many real estate sites as possible to incorporate data-driven discovery technology, which is way more likely to happen when we make the lives of the marketers of those websites easier. We think we’re on the right track on both of these fronts, and AI is essentially what we use to make it happen. In many ways we’re only getting started though, so there’s definitely more to come in the future.
All the best,