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Housing.com to double its ad spends in 2022; bets high on IPL

BestMediaInfo.com caught up with Snehil Gautam, Chief Marketing and Growth Officer, REA India (Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger)

Snehil Gautam

Housing.com is going to double its ad spends in 2022, said Snehil Gautam, Chief Marketing and Growth Officer, REA India (parent company of Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger).

The brand recently rolled out its second big campaign with ace Bollywood actors – Rajkumar Rao and Manoj Bajpayee. “We spent around $ 6-7 million on the campaign we did with Rajkumar Rao and Manoj Bajpayee. And now on the third campaign, with the results that we got, we have decided to at least increase the spend to 2x now,” Gautam said.

While speaking about the brand’s two major campaigns, Gautam decodes the celebrity onboarding process and the measures that they take before signing any celebrity for endorsements.

“About the first campaign with Vicky Kaushal and Kiara Advani, the idea was to tell the consumers that Housing.com exists. The objective there was to get as much brand awareness as possible. Then in the second campaign, instead of focusing on just seeking attention, we wanted to tell people why Housing.com exists. What is the problem that we’re solving?” he said.

Gautam further elaborated on the point of how and why it is important to tell a story that is believable in a campaign.

“The first step is the choice of celebrities. For example, if I take Shah Rukh Khan, who is trying to buy a home or trying to sell a home, I don’t think that is a believable story. With Rajkumar Rao, he was actually looking for a home when we shot that campaign,” he said.

Another major factor that Gautam highlighted is that the celebrity should represent the core TG that the brand is targeting. He said, “The celebrity should come from the core TG. For example, for us, seller core TG is 35-50 years old. Manoj Bajpayee actually fits that core TG. The buyer TG is relatively younger, that is from 35-40 years old, that’s why Rajkumar Rao.”

He further mentioned an earlier campaign that Housing.com did with Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant. The Twitter conversation was later on joined by other celebrities.

The brand is planning to partner with influencers for Housing Edge, which provides assistance in services like home loans, rent agreements, home interiors, packers and movers, and a lot more this year. Further, it is also exploring the possibilities in Metaverse.

“We have also started doing influencer marketing for some of our products of Housing edge. For NFTs and Metaverse, we will help our partners to create these digital assets for them to be able to monetise. We are in conversation with industry experts in Metaverse to create something that can actually help both buyers and sellers in that space,” Gautam added.

Plans for IPL

While brands from across categories are leaving no stone unturned to get associated with the mega sporting event, Housing.com is no exception. As per Gautam, the brand grew tremendously in the past two years, since the time they started advertising on IPL.

“The objective of our brand campaign is to build awareness. And the objective of our media plan is to ensure that we are present where our core TG is. And IPL is the biggest event in India where my core TG is watching the television. This is why we have been advertising during IPL in the past two years.”

“IPL, we believe is one of the most important events and the impact you get out of IPL on your brand metrics is significant, as we have seen in the past two years. We have already bought the media, and it will be a mix of TV and digital with digital at 50-55% and TV, at around 45-50%,” Gautam said.

Impact of Covid-19 on the real estate sector

Speaking about the brand’s progress during and after the pandemic, Gautam said, “We were always struggling with some cohorts of users especially, in tier-2, tier-3 cities who were not coming online for their home search and discovery process (during the pandemic phase). That has changed completely after Covid. People have spent a lot of time at home in the past two years and they have realised the importance of home.” 

“Because of Covid, we have the digital infrastructure ready. Like people can now do video calls with sellers, they can do video site visits on our platform, there are AR and VR capabilities that we’ve built and while sitting at home, a user can actually visualise the under-construction projects. And after every lockdown, we have seen a significant bump in transactions happening,” he added.

Challenges for real estate

Apart from the increased circle rates in the National capital, the real estate industry has been facing several other challenges. While explaining the same, Gautam said, “Real estate has undergone a lot of dips because of RERA, because of GST, demonetisation in the past few years. And real estate is a big part of India’s GDP. If the sector does well, India does well.”

“The government should do whatever it takes to keep up the buyer sentiment within the market. And things like a 30% increase in circle rates in some localities will hurt the sentiments of the buyers which will adversely affect the purchases on the ground,” he added.

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