Third-party targeted advertising cookies are phasing out in major browsers, leaving some real estate technology companies wondering what the future holds for online housing searches.
More than a year and a half has passed since Google announced plans to opt out of third-party cookies in Google Chrome, following other leading browsers to opt out of tracking web browsing habits.
Google recently postponed its plans to end support for third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2023, almost two years later than its initial timeline in early 2022.
According to June 24 statement The decision from the tech giant is meant to buy time for “further public comment, continued engagement with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to relocate their services.”
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appears to be among the cooperating regulators. Last year, HUD announced that it was working with Google to improve its online advertising policy to comply with the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rent, and financing of most housing in the United States. by race, color, religion, gender, nationality, disability and marital status. Getting rid of third-party cookies will significantly limit the ability of advertisers to target users for advertising, which violates the Fair Housing Act.
Based on your own data
For some technology companies in the real estate industry, opting out of data collection by third parties will not pose any problem, such as Real Estate Webmasters (REW), a leading web design, CRM and leading company, according to its CEO Morgan. Carey.
“The vast majority of the marketing work we do for our clients is search engine optimization (SEO) and direct paid marketing using the Google adwords platform; as such, deleting cookies doesn’t matter to how we deliver customers, ”says Carey. “We see this change as bringing more customers to REW for marketing.”
But the move is also seen as an opportunity to add value to their own data, tech executives say.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a while because there will only be two real ways to advertise in the future,” says Erik Stegmann, CEO of TRIBUS, which creates customized websites for real estate brokerage, adding that Customer Relationship Management (CRM ) and transactional data of the brokerage company will be some of the most important.
“The value of your own data is becoming more valuable, especially for a medium to large-sized brokerage firm that has thousands of backups of transaction records,” Stegemann says.
Companies that rely heavily on third-party cookies can face challenges, according to York Baur, CEO of MoxiWorks.
“I thought this day would come,” says Baur. “Sure, we’re a spherically focused company, but that’s one of the reasons I think being overly reliant on online lead generation – generating cold leads that you don’t have a previous relationship with – is fraught with dangers.”
According to Baur, this is primarily due to the low conversion rate compared to using your own data.
Phasing out third-party cookies in high-traffic browsers can further degrade conversions, creating a problem for agents and brokers who rely on third-party firms to generate leads.
“The irony is that if you just pay attention as an agent, you can be immune to all of these things and convert over 70%,” says Baur. “We have all this energy pouring into something that is 1% converted, and not enough energy is being poured into something that is 70% converted.”
Rather than relying on “cookie technology” to generate leads, Baur said, MoxiWorks recommends using spherical interactions and relationships to get direct data for its marketing efforts.
Carey echoed similar sentiments, adding that in-house data collection is the most reliable way to ensure compliance and high-quality data collection.
“I think the biggest opportunity for REW is that other vendors who rely more on retargeting cookies will struggle to get results while our results remain consistent and highly valuable,” says Carey. adding, “Since our marketing, websites, IDX and CRM are in the same location (and in the same domain), this gives us a significant advantage over other services that need to communicate or communicate via APIs or other reception methods. We can customize our own sessions and user data cookies and combine them with system history and CRM as well as MLS search behavior to provide high quality insight into the consumer journey. ”
Retraining agents to collect and track their own data in their CRM systems will be essential for real estate technology providers as Google removes cookies, Carey said.
“I think this step is beneficial to the consumer as it forces marketers and salespeople to take care of collecting data ahead of time and in a way that is clearly articulated and chosen by the customer,” says Carey.
Real estate portals do not concern
Incoming changes in Google Chrome – along with similar actions in other browsers – are not an issue for some real estate portals.
In an email statement to RISMedia, a Redfin spokesperson said the platform only uses essential cookies to collect and store information from visitors to its site in order to customize and personalize their browsing experience.
“Our cookies store your registration information so you do not need to enter your username every time you visit Redfin.com and allow you to customize your experience based on your location, such as showing you houses near you and specific services. which we offer in your area, ”wrote Redfin.
According to the statement, Redfin uses its cookies to provide consumers with a “better experience” on the site, but it does not track their online activity.
“We advertise our services through Google and other sites; however, these marketing efforts do not rely on third-party cookies, ”wrote Redfin.
Zillow echoed similar sentiments, adding that the company has temporarily moved away from using third-party cookies, instead using its own data and focused on optimizing its own channels for communicating with users.
“To provide consumers with personalized and relevant home advertisements that may be of interest to them, we use a limited amount of information that is centered around the buying activity of our users when using our platform,” said a Zillow spokesman. “Protecting the privacy of our users is one of our highest priorities and we strongly believe in transparency and customer choice, offering them the ability to change their cookie settings or turn off advertising cookies through our privacy portal.”
Homes.com officials say they are waiting to see how things go, especially as Google is positioning Federated Learning Groups (FLoC) as a potential replacement for third-party cookies in their browsers.
“We’ll see what Google comes up with,” said Grant Simmons, vice president of effective marketing at Homes.com. “We’re taking a wait-and-see approach to better understand how good FLoC can be and how good our own data is.”
In short, FLoC will create audience sets based on groups of people identified through browsing history and create cohorts that can then be used to target ads.
Chances are it will be harder to target people with ads, but Simmons says Homes.com reserves the right to judge as Google develops the FLoC system.
Jordan Grice is Assistant Content Editor at RISMedia. Send him your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org…