Agency Tested & Proven Ways to Gain More Real Estate Leads with Facebook Ads
*Updated with Facebook's latest changes for real estate advertising. *
In this post, I am sharing targeting strategies and ad types you as a realtor can implement NOW for your real estate Facebook ad campaigns.
What is important to remember about Facebook marketing for realtors is that it is dependent on paid ad strategies – without ads, your organic non-paid page posts will get you nowhere (page posts without ads reach at best 1% of your fans).
Do Facebook Ads Work for Realtors?
Yes, Facebook ads for realtors work. Successful real estate marketing has to include Facebook ads as part of the marketing mix.
Facebook Ads can help you capture leads (seller and buyer leads), increase traffic for open houses, and maintain your brand with your target audience - whether that is a future homeowner, current homeowner, or real estate investor.
Your future prospects are on Facebook in higher numbers and for longer periods of time than any other marketing channel bar none.
Your success with Facebook Ads depends on your strategy, consistency, and ongoing campaign adjustments.
With Facebook ads, an entire world of potential opens up for marketing real estate.
How Much Does It Cost to Run Facebook Ads for Realtors?
You can spend as little as $1 per day. And there is no upward limit on your ad spending. Your business goals and campaign objectives play a factor in your Facebook spending. And results are proportional to your ad budget.
Why Facebook Ads for Real Estate Agents?
Because the Facebook ad platform offers an unrivaled rich, diverse, and deep level of ad targeting options that no other advertising platform can provide. This allows you to reach your ideal target customer very efficiently. This cannot be achieved with any other marketing channel.
What Changed with Facebook Ad Targeting to Adhere to Fair Housing Guidelines?
But these changes have had minimal impact on the results you achieve because you can drill down on other exact interests that define your ideal target customer. Plus, you can produce and write ads that appeal to specific audiences, genders, and ages.
So read on if you want to know how best to run ads that deliver results.
What you need before running ads:
Proven tactics that generate results.
We have tested these ad strategies in our agency with real estate clients nationwide to generate buyer listings, seller leads, awareness for open houses, and omnipresent awareness with the target audience in local markets to more effectively farm territories.
The benefit to you: a shortened learning curve that has been tested, which you can implement now!
3 Core Pillars of Success for Real Estate Ads on Facebook
Many beginning their ad journey are introduced to Facebook ads with the infamous Boost Post, which is part of the Engagement objective – you should stop using that now as most of that ad spend is wasted (related post here on why and another post here on Boost Posts vs Facebook Ads, which is better?), and there are far more effective campaign objectives that align to business goals.
The Engagement Objective (i.e., Boost Post) is solely focused on:
These are vanity metrics. With this objective, Facebook seeks people in your audience that are likely to like, comment, or share on almost anything. And you can't deposit likes, shares, or comments in the bank.
Ad Targeting - Essential for Success
The targeting you choose (i.e., interests) for your ads is one of the most critical determining factors to success and your ability to generate seller listing leads and buyer leads.
Show your ads to the wrong audience, and it doesn’t matter what else you do or what you offer. You won’t be successful.
The best part is that with Facebook's ad platform, you can be precise and targeted, so your ads show to your ideal prospects, and you get results that deliver leads. But equally important, you have Facebook's ad algorithm behind your campaign working to deliver results. Remember, it wants you to succeed and is very effective at learning to deliver results over time.
The Buckets for Facebook Ad Targeting:
So without further ado, here are the 10 proven Facebook ad tactics for realtors (not in order of importance).
Facebook Lead Ads
Lead Ads are a particular type of Facebook ad within the Lead Generation campaign objective that allow you to capture either buyer or seller leads right within Facebook. There’s no need to send clicks on your ads off Facebook. Leads Ads are particularly useful for growing seller leads (a related post here on how to target home sellers and grow seller leads).
The main benefits of Lead Ads are:
- 1No need for a landing page - real estate leads are captured right in Facebook, so there's no need for a separate landing page.
- 2Ease of use: the customer can easily submit their information to you as Facebook will pre-fill form fields automatically (even more critical for people on mobile devices that would have a harder time manually filling out a form on your website)
- 3Leads can be easily downloaded straight out of Facebook or sent directly to a Google sheet (using a 3rd party app)
- 4Funnel leads directly into your CRM or marketing automation software (such as Keap)
- 5Most likely to act: Facebook will identify those in your target audience that is most likely to fill out your form
Below is a realtor Lead Ad example for seller listings.
After the prospect clicks on the "Learn More" button, they are taken to the next step. In this case, the realtor added an optional pre-qualifying question - Are you Buying or Selling?
You can ask different types of questions that what is displayed here, and more questions, but you do have to be careful. There is a proportional decrease in the number of leads (i.e., conversions) as the number of questions increases. And some questions can get your ad disapproved.
Most importantly, though, asking for too much information is like meeting someone you have never met before at a networking event and right away they ask you a bunch of questions - it's not going to go over well and will likely put you off.
After the prospect clicks the "Sell" or "Buy" button, they are taken to the contact form. Facebook fills this information in automatically, so it makes the process seamless for the user to submit their information to you. This example is on a mobile device.
Buying or Selling a House Audience Targeting
Facebook has very specific Interest categories for people that are potential buyers or sellers. How fantastic is that?
The intent of a consumer in the buying or selling bucket has a higher likelihood of needing a real estate agent among a whole host of other products and services.
Facebook knows these consumers from its rich behavioral data sets that include online and offline data about these specific consumers.
Here's a short list of some of those relevant interests:
This is only a partial list. Needless to say, Facebook knows what sites these potential Buyers and Sellers are visiting and how often, among other sources of data, that indicate the prospect's interest in buying a home or selling their current home.
Targeting Real Estate Websites:
What’s MOST important about targeting sites like Zillow, Realtor.com and others is that these companies spend big dollars ($$$$) creating brand awareness for their apps and driving people to their websites. They are sending millions of people to these websites to actively look for properties, or trends in real estate, estimated home values, and more. Facebook knows who these people are, and they are available to you to target. You are benefiting from the ad spend these companies are investing in traditional and digital marketing!
Example of Audience Size with Buyer and Seller Audience Targeting
Suppose you're a realtor in San Diego that focuses your real estate efforts in the northern part of the county.
With the above Interests and geotargeting of 15 miles in San Diego (15 miles is the smallest geotargeting for Special Categories of Real Estate and Mortgage), we identified an audience of 1.3m to 1.5m - a large audience indeed.
When is an audience too large in Facebook?
For specific ad types (Lead Ads and Lead Generation), large audiences are more effective. Facebook works off of data, and the more data it has, oftentimes, the better it performs at achieving your campaign objectives. So, no, this is not too large of an audience, depending on the campaign objective and your ad budget.
For brand awareness and related campaign objectives with a smaller budget, I would narrow this down with further income, age, and geography segmentation.
Can you segment and identify people in specific income demographics?
But I thought you said Facebook won't allow you to segment on income?
You cannot explicitly segment on income within Facebook for real estate, but the workaround requires a bit of creativity. Segment on other interests that you know your ideal customer has in these income brackets.
For example, what if you wanted to target people with 6-figure household incomes.
Consider the following sample of segments:
Target Real Estate Investors
What if you want to reach people that are perhaps interested in investing in real estate or flipping home? Facebook has very specific Interest categories for real estate investors.
This is a good-sized audience within the geographic targeting selected above - between 500k and 600k people.
Free Home Evaluation Ads for Leads
Home evaluation leads can be one of the most effective real estate ad campaigns you can run to fill your pipeline with new prospects.
The below Facebook campaign generated seller listing leads consistently at less than $6 per lead by running an ad with free home valuations. You can pique people’s interest in their home valuations by showing them what other homes are valued at.
And the cost per lead from this campaign:
Testimonial Ads – Satisfied Customers Can Be Your Promoters
Real estate testimonial ads on Facebook can be very compelling at building trust and social proof with your target customer.
Social proof and trust are critical to growing your long-term lead generation efforts.
You can build testimonial ads with past home buyers and sellers as single image ads, carousel ads, video ads, and more – there are many options.
And you can land the ad traffic on a page on your website with the testimonials proudly displayed.
Running testimonial ads is more about ongoing branding – part of creating that digital yard sign and creating omnipresence and mindshare in your community.
Testimonial ads are powerful social proof. And remember, if you use a Brand Awareness campaign objective, you can advertise for as little as $1 - $5 per day.
If you’re going to create a steady flow of leads ongoing, you have to be branding yourself, too…not just focused entirely on seller leads (a related post here is helpful for understanding real estate Facebook ad strategy at different levels of the sales funnel).
Video ads that display a property, for example, will give you amazingly low-cost reach (Reach is the number of unique people that see your ad) with your target customer in the geographic areas you’re farming.
Example of a Video Ad of a home tour for a buyer lead:
How much exposure can you get with video ads?
Imagine 65,000 impressions in the area where your target customer lives for pennies per view - $0.01-$0.05!
Where else are you going to advertise where you can get someone to view your ad for pennies?
Another reason why Facebook is such a powerful platform for you.
If you’re not embracing what Facebook has to offer, you’re missing a significant opportunity.
Planning out your Facebook ad campaigns will go a long way in creating more success, and real estate leads for you.
Many advertisers do very little planning, but…
If you plan around the season, calendar events (holidays), and your properties, you will be far more successful.
Below the screenshot is the campaign planning guide in Excel that you can download to help get you going – there are 3 tabs (I’m only showing you one here) that will help you plan and organize an effective Facebook campaign.
Improve ROI of Traditional Advertising and Increase Response Rates Through Integration
This is one of the most common tactics that is overlooked.
Postcards, flyers, door hangers, and local community papers are still standard tactics for creating awareness for realtors within the geographic area you’re farming for real estate leads.
But, did you know…
You can create a Custom Audience of all the people that go to your website from these direct mail campaigns or other traditional marketing. People will see your website address on your postcard and manually type it in on their phone or desktop computer to learn more.
And here's a trick:
If the URL is not user-friendly (e.g., it's super long and you can't put it in direct mail pieces), you can buy a vanity URL that redirects to your existing website or landing page and track everyone that went to that specific URL. For example, BestRealEstateSanDiego.com that redirects to a specific landing page or website, and only those people are captured in your Facebook Custom Audience.
This tactic extends the life of your expensive traditional marketing efforts into the digital channel where you can market to that person in Facebook ongoing for up to 6 months. We call these integrated marketing campaigns. And the benefit is higher ROI on your ad spend because you extended the life of your traditional marketing dollars. It costs very little to do this.
Benchmark Off of Your Realtor Competitors
Create An Ad Swipe File
Did you know you can see what ads your competitors are running?
You can use this to see what they are up to what properties are they pushing. What are their image and copy like in their ads? How many ads are they running? You can use this also to build up a swipe file of ad ideas you can leverage in the future.
But keep in mind, you cannot see how much they are spending or what ad targeting they're using.
Here how to see their ads and what you will see. There are two ways to get to a page's ads and it depends on what version of a business page they currently have.
Go to a realtor's Facebook page and scroll down the left-hand menu and you should see a section called Page Transparency. Click here.
Once you click on Page Transparency, you will see a button titled, Go To Ad Library - click on that.
And if the page has ads running, you will see them listed; and if they do not you will not, you will not see any ads. This example shows this realtor’s Facebook page launched two ads in August (below).
If you don't see a section for Page Transparency on the left-hand menu, go to the page's About section and then click on, See All.
Create Retargeting and Lookalike Audiences
Retargeting Audiences - Custom Audience:
If you have a customer list of a decent size (at least ~200 people), you can load that audience in Facebook and retarget it with ads. Perhaps these are people purchased some time ago and may be good candidates for selling or even buying a second home. You can run inexpensive ads to these audiences to maintain mindshare and brand awareness.
Lookalike Audiences based on your customer list:
What if you could find people with very similar Facebook profiles to those in your past customer list? Those people will be a good fit for your real estate services too.
This is another workaround to the targeting limitations that Facebook applies to real estate. While you can't segment on demographics like income, gender, age, and education, loading a list like this already has ideal segmentation.
To summarize, I presented 10 Facebook ad strategies for real estate that included campaign strategies, ad types, and audiences that you can implement for improved success.
If you want to grow your lead real estate leads this year and gain a solid competitive advantage over your slower, less sophisticated peers, Facebook ads for real estate will help you secure your niche and capture more leads and sales.
The tactical ad strategies presented above are just the tip of the iceberg – many more targeting options exist.
With Facebook, you can be incredibly targeted and endlessly creative in how you sell real estate and reach the home buyer or seller audience.
Don’t let your competitors steal your customers!
If you need help with your local Facebook advertising, we can help. Please call or email today and find out how we can help you win in your market.
Related post: Common Facebook Ad Campaign Questions and Answers