How Orchard reaches high-quality home buyers and sellers using predictions

How Orchard reaches high-quality home buyers and sellers using predictions


5 min read

Buying a new house while selling your current one is a colossal headache — and a massive financial burden. You’re fixing up your place for the sale and prepping to move, scouring new neighborhoods and going to showings, not to mention finagling your finances to make the transition work while your equity is still tied up in your current house.

Orchard is a technology-driven real estate company that’s leading the charge for a simpler, stress-free way to buy and sell a home. With Orchard, you can unlock the equity in your current home to buy and move into your dream home before you sell. Plus, they offer a host of innovative tools to assist you every step of the way, from finding and closing on the new place to prepping, listing, and marketing your current one.

There’s no question that Orchard is an invaluable resource for home buyers and sellers. But they operate in just eleven specific markets, including Atlanta, Denver, and Houston, and that hyperlocal focus posed a unique set of challenges for Orchard’s marketing team in their early years. We recently sat down with Graham Lesko, Senior Manager, Growth Marketing at Orchard, to chat about those challenges and how Orchard teamed up with Faraday to solve them.

Getting local marketing right is tricky with Facebook Ads

Like many DTC brands, Orchard relies heavily on Facebook for top-of-funnel marketing. But when they came to Faraday, they were struggling to run targeted campaigns. Since they’re a real estate company, they face extra limitations in Facebook right off the bat in order to comply with fair housing and lending laws.

On top of that, Facebook’s native lookalike capabilities couldn’t handle the granular geographic targeting Orchard needed. “We got so narrow that any of the audience tools that these platforms offer off the shelf, like lookalike audiences or interest audiences, really weren’t that valuable for us,” Lesko explains. “We were forced to go broad within those [regions].”

With broad audiences, Facebook’s algorithm managed to deliver a decent volume of leads, but lead quality was poor. Just a small percentage became mid- and lower-funnel opportunities.

The problem was clear: they didn’t have the kind of data they needed to power more sophisticated targeting efforts. Without that data, they couldn’t reliably reach their ideal leads.

Orchard looked into a number of solutions, including contracting with third-party data vendors and working with Orchard’s data science team to leverage that extra layer of data in Facebook. Ultimately, they chose to work with Faraday, taking advantage of our responsibly-sourced identity graph and proven predictive models to build the audiences they needed at a fraction of the cost of building their own AI pipeline.

Reaching the right home buyers and sellers

Faraday started by building a machine learning model to identify people most likely to become Orchard customers. Since all our models are powered by our own identity graph, which contains consumer profile data on every US adult, it surfaces people that Facebook’s algorithms might overlook. Orchard’s audience was then uploaded to Facebook via direct integration.

By building a custom audience from scratch, Orchard was able to target just the most promising home buyers and sellers. They could finally focus on the audience that was likely to deliver the most value, and the difference was immediately noticeable.

“We’re driving higher intent users who really are looking to move,” Lesko says, “and not just get a valuation on their house.”

How much higher is that intent? Well, Orchard has seen a 30% lower customer acquisition cost with Faraday audiences compared to their original broad audiences. When it comes to ad spend efficiency, that’s a no-brainer.

Improving attribution around iOS 14

When we asked Lesko if last year’s iOS updates and Facebook’s resulting attribution issues have changed how he thinks about his Facebook strategy, he told us it’s going to continue to play a dominant role in his channel mix.

“They give us the option to be hyperlocal in a way that a lot of other channels don’t,” he says. Running a campaign in specific regions is not something they can do, for instance, on podcasts, which are another important channel for his team.

“I would love to be able to diversify more, but until we’re a more national brand we’re going to be reliant on Facebook for the long term. So having a company like Faraday… is really huge for us.”

Buy and sell your home with Orchard

We love working with Orchard — and so do thousands of happy homeowners and first-time buyers around the country, who appreciate the flexibility Orchard provides in the buying process and the extra certainty on the selling side. Who wouldn’t want a smoother path to their dream home?

Check them out for a free home valuation now — in addition to helping homeowners buy and sell simultaneously, they also have offerings for those looking just to buy or just to sell.

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