Reali - Behavioral Science Research

A New Mental Model Helps Expansion Into New Markets

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 buyers only pay 1% rather than the industry’s typical 3% commission.


Reali is a San Francisco Bay Area company, which means that many of their homes sold for $1M+. Saving 2% on a $1 million home gets you $20K. The problem was that as Reali expanded into new markets with lower or different home values, they couldn’t mention the $20k savings. How could we help frame the benefit of using their app in a way that could increase qualified leads in any market without committing to a single number?


We found another way to express the savings. We tested multiple “reframes” to see which framework resonated most with a new homebuyer. Experiments revealed that the winning combination was "Relevant Hedonic Reframing" combined with a video. We increased the number of downloads and decreased the Cost per Sign Up by 43% and the Cost Per Install by 20%.

Reduction in Cost per Sign Up
Reduction in Cost per Install

Behavioral Science Assessment

To help users make sense of Reali’s 2% savings, we’d need to correctly apply the Framing principle. The Framing principle tells us that consumers act differently based on how choices are presented to them. How do we frame 2% to be interesting for users? As we move into markets outside of the Bay Area, what type of Reframe would translate to the most conversions?

Qualitative User Research

We talked to Reali’s sales agents and asked them how they have been framing this cost saving benefit. They mentioned that they reframe the cost savings to hedonic things you can do with the money saved. For example, buy a car or go on fancy vacation.

  • Reali Sales Agents
  • Reali Customer Support Agents
  • Northern California
  • Southern California

Quantitative User Research at Scale

We tested the control (save $20K) against three types of Hedonic Reframes: 1. Going on vacation 2. Buying a new car and 3. Remodeling your kitchen. We soon saw that people were not interested in the purely hedonic frames of car and vacation. Perhaps instead of wanting to think about using the money saved on immediate pleasure, people wanted to think about a more relevant hedonic frame, like remodeling their new kitchen. We took these insights and ran another campaign that focused on relevant hedonic frames: 1. Remodeling various parts of your house and 2. Paying off your mortgage 3 years early.

Creative Execution in Marketing & Product

Interestingly, each ad’s performance depended on the demographics of the user. We found that Millennials were more motivated by the kitchen remodel and Gen Xers were more motivated by the mortgage repayment ad. But taken together, we saw a 43% reduction in cost per install. Reali used these insights to create explainer videos and updated their messaging further in the funnel to focus on relevant hedonic reframes.