Things are happening fast at AdWerx, the real estate advertising technology company spun out of ReverbNation earlier this year.
At least 37 people are working out of the company’s brand new Durham office, located next door to Tyler’s Tap Room on the American Tobacco Campus. That’s up from 21 when we covered the spinout in February. The staff count could hit 55 by year’s end.
AdWerx isn’t in the business of placing the ads—it uses ad serving technology from other vendors. It’s about simplifying the advertising process so Realtors need no design or marketing skills to place an ad. They simply pick the zip codes they want to target with ads, upload a logo and headshot, choose a color scheme and then approve the automatically generated designs and pay for the spots available and the reach they desire. The same is true for the mobile offerings. Nine months were spent building the new platform and making the user interface as simple and seamless as the existing desktop offering.
“It used to be hard to plug into advertising technology and only multi-million dollar ad campaigns could use it,” Carlson says. “Now there are ways for everyone to plug in and AdWerx is at the front end of that movement saying, ‘We don’t make the ad tech but we connect people to the ad tech that already exists.’”
And that’s without logging into Google AdWords or Facebook and without knowing advertising vocabulary like CPC and conversion pixels and behavioral targeting.
Mobile was critical for the company—more than half the traffic online happens on mobile devices and the initial AdWerx was only available on desktop. Realtors want to appear tech-savvy to a generation of homebuyers used to searching for stuff on their phones. The mobile ads are as much about that kind of brand building as they are about advertising a Realtor’s service, Carlson says.
The biggest competition to AdWerx in the real estate industry remains traditional strategies like word-of-mouth, print media advertising and outdoor signage. But more Realtors are recognizing the importance of reaching potential customers online. Tools like AdWerx make it feasible for them to do something about it without sacrificing the time they should be spending helping customers find the best homes.
“These are small businesses,” reminds Carlson. “They aren’t taking marketing classes at night.”