Welcome to the big one! This is our final instalment in a 4 part blog series around Real Estate and Property Marketing and it’s about the thread that ties everything together: Google Tag Manager (with a bit of analytics as well obviously). While each of the platforms we’ve covered in this series (SEO, Social Media & Google Ads) are an essential element of your real estate marketing strategy, it’s our firm opinion that none of them are worth much at all if they’re not being tracked as a singular project with all the bits and pieces laid out and fit together.
While Google Analytics certainly does give you some great information in this sense, we won’t be focusing too strongly on this often covered topic. Instead, we want to talk about Google Tag Manager and why it’s so important to your success in bringing together the whole picture of your online marketing efforts.
So what is it?
Google Tag Manager is a platform that allows your marketing gurus to have one place to manage all of your website tracking and user recording from all channels including Google, Facebook, Property Listing websites and even your CRM like Property Base or SalesForce. Because Google Tag Manager centralises this management you have no need to install new code on your website or talk to a developer to improve your website tracking and gather new campaign insights from your online marketing efforts. This can save your teams time, money and improves accountability of your campaigns.
It’s basically Analytics on steroids when it comes to the levels at which you can track your sales funnel and customise your reporting. To put it very simply, you have a lot more to play with in terms of when and why it should record data, what that data means and how it reports that data. It can also cut down on the amount of time you need from developers to install various tags as you can be pretty agile with setting things up from within the platform itself rather than always needing a dev to do that work for you.
A look inside Google Tag Manager
Below is an example from a Google Tag Manager account for an e-commerce website that demonstrates how our team can in one place install, monitor and set goals and triggers and send information to any of the client’s marketing intelligence platforms from one location. If you quickly scan the list on the left you will see a variety of familiar platforms like Google and Facebook as well as other more advanced like Live Chat, user session recording all managed in the same place. You will also see how we have used it to send important events to their Facebook Advertising campaigns to improve accountability.
So long story short, it gives you better control and configuration ability of your marketing data and saves your digital marketing team time. That should be reason enough to use it.
The Bigger Picture
As we’ve said many times in this series already, real estate marketing strategy is something that requires many platforms working together in unison, but all of that becomes way too complicated if you can’t track it all in a cohesive manner that demonstrates exactly how that is happening over the lengths of time common to the industry.
As an example, while Google Analytics might tell you that “this traffic came from a social source”, it won’t necessarily connect the dots and know that that particular visit was part of a much larger journey that might have started via your SEO efforts, Google Ads, or some other part of your marketing approach. It also won’t know to tag that visit as a further step in that journey if it’s not the visit on which the user converts into a lead. Same goes for if that was the first visit out of many across these advertising channels before a lead is produced.
Things to consider
- The data goes further than just conversions – Whether you want to remarket to existing customers via email to conduct surveys for better market research, how far down the page they’re making it before either submitting a form or leaving, downloading property PDFs, clicking on particular links or a variety of other activities too long to list here in full, GTM is the best possible place to track these events.
- You can view attribution – Too many businesses involved in online marketing look only at whether or not an individual channel has provided a lead without realising that (as we’ve stated above) it may still be a very important part of the process. For example, you may find (as we’ve seen to be the case in some projects) that Facebook is providing no direct leads. However what we’ve also seen to be the case in almost every example of this is that it is a stepping stone in the journey through the sales funnel without which a large number of conversions happening on other channels wouldn’t eventuate. Tag manager is a great way to monitor exactly this situation so that you know what effect turning off a channel that isn’t contributing directly would have on those that seem to be doing a better job of it if you don’t view the data correctly.
- Have we mentioned customisation? – The ways in which you can set up data to explain things that you might not necessarily understand in a way that makes sense to you are second to none with GTM. The naming conventions within the platform are fantastic and rather than sifting through analytics to find “user behaviour” and then sorting through that and applying filters for “social referrals” or some other term that feels unintuitive to you, you can just name that part of your report “Facebook contributions to Google Ads leads” or “straight Google ads leads”, or “Google Ads leads that Facebook helped”. It really is designed to help the data make sense to you and report on what you find most important, so take advantage of it!
But in conclusion
We’re well aware that these blogs have been written in broad strokes, but if we want you to take anything at all away from the series it’s this: Be consistent with your message, utilise as many of the available channels as possible and track your progress as deeply as possible.
We could write a 4 (or more) part series on just one of these platforms that is specific to real estate advertising so we’ve focused on what we think is most important in a philosophical sense as all the technical know-how in the world won’t matter if you’re not approaching things with the right state of mind. Get to know Tag Manager, understand attribution and the customer journey and hold their hand through that journey with great creative and information directing them to exactly where they need to be at that point in time.
There will very rarely be a time when a direct “one-shot” sales approach will bring in anywhere near the return on investment that’s truly possible in the property space so don’t waste your time and money. As always, if you’d like to know anything more about anything you’ve read or would just like to have a conversation around your options then please feel free to get in touch!