Reali - Behavioral Science Research

A New Mental Model Helps Expansion Into New Markets

Reali is a real estate technology startup that is disrupting the traditional realtor model of commissions. Their 2% cashback model saves buyers tens of thousands of dollars.

Optimizing Demand Gen for a Fintech Startup

  • Brad Swain
    Brad Swain
  • JoAnne Tobias
    JoAnne Tobias


Reali is a real estate technology company that helps people buy and sell homes on a mobile app. Reali’s agents work on salary, so sellers only pay a flat fee rather than the industry’s typical 3% commission. People who use Reali to buy or sell their home typically get back an average of $20K.

reali ad


Reduce Drop-off and Increase App Downloads


Research showed us that people are excited about getting large sums of money, but the $20K savings that made Reali so appealing to Californians wouldn’t necessarily be a realistic amount in other locations. The amount saved was relative to the cost of the home, derived from comparing Reali’s flat rate to the typical 3% commission taken on home sale of $700K. Although homes in San Francisco and L.A. do sell this high, as Reali expanded into other markets with lower median home prices, we needed another way to express the savings.

Behavioral Science Intervention Used: Hedonic Reframing

We shifted from a concrete number to a tangible item. What would get people excited? We tested ads that showed people getting enough money back from Reali to get either a car, a vacation, or a remodel.

The remodel did ok, but neither the car nor the vacation performed well. In hindsight that made sense; people who are dealing with houses don’t have the bandwidth to get excited about spending more money on a vacation. We also discovered that the static ad wasn’t giving people enough clarity around what Reali did.

reali facebook ads

The “relevance reframe” saw real impact. We created videos for context and reframed the savings as something you could do with the money that would be smart and relevant to home buying.

Phase 2 of ads. Save enough money with Reali to:

  • Remodel your kitchen
  • Pay off your mortgage 3 years early
  • Control- a static picture of house (the previously best performing ad)

Final Outcome:

Using the Hedonic Reframing combined with a video not only increased the number of downloads, it also decreased the Cost per Sign Up by 43% and the Cost Per Install by 20%.