Facebook Ads For Real Estate: 10 Killer Ad Strategies

by Toby

August 12, 2022

Real Estate Testimonial Facebook Ad

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.

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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).

FAQs

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?

  • No demographic targeting on gender, age, or income
  • Some housing and financial interests have been removed
  • No geotargeting less than 15 miles
  • No zip code targeting

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:

  • A Facebook business page - your ads are associated with your business page (not your personal Facebook page)
  • Content posted to your page so it doesn’t look like a ghost town, but honestly, very few will visit your page or see your non-paid page posts so no need to invest much here
  • Your contact info filled out on your Facebook business page
  • A website or landing page to direct people to after clicking on your ad (although this is not always necessary)

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!

Read our related post on marketing to all levels of the real estate sales funnel using Facebook ads, and using Facebook ads to grow seller listing leads.

3 Core Pillars of Success for Real Estate Ads on Facebook

3-legged stool of success for facebook ads for realtors

3-legged stool of success for Facebook ads for realtors

3-legged stool of success for facebook ads for realtors

3-legged stool of success for Facebook ads for realtors

  • Targeting – the most essential component which I’m discussing below (the options available are many – unmatched with anything else you’re doing to drive leads)
  • Your Ad – what type of ad will you run (single image, carousel ad, lead ad, video ad, etc.), and then what is the imagery and copy written into the ad
  • Campaign Objectives – Facebook has more than 10 campaign objectives that align with your business goals. The most effective for realtors include Lead Generation, Brand Awareness or Promote Business Locally, Traffic to Website, and Reach

Campaign Objectives

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:

  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments

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.

Why?

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:

  • Interests – what are people interested in, pages they have liked or visited, and closely related topics. For example, Zillow, Realtor.com, Mortgages, and more.
  • Behaviors – these are removed for real estate and mortgage 
  • Demographics – because real estate falls into a "Special Category," you cannot down select on age, income, education, or gender

So without further ado, here are the 10 proven Facebook ad tactics for realtors (not in order of importance).

1

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:

  1. 1
    No need for a landing page - real estate leads are captured right in Facebook, so there's no need for a separate landing page. 
  2. 2
    Ease 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)
  3. 3
    Leads can be easily downloaded straight out of Facebook or sent directly to a Google sheet (using a 3rd party app)
  4. 4
    Funnel leads directly into your CRM or marketing automation software (such as Keap)
  5. 5
    Most 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.

Realtor Lead Ad Example - Selling Listing Lead

Realtor Lead Ad Example - Selling Listing Lead Ad

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. 

Realtor Lead Ad Example - Form Questions

Realtor Lead Ad Example - Pre-Qualifying Form Questions

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.

Realtor Lead Ad Example - Final Step - Adding Contact Information

Realtor Lead Ad Example - Final Step - Adding Contact Information on Mobile Device

2

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:

  • People that have an interest in Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia
  • People that have interests in House Hunting or First-time home buyer 
  • People that have an interest in Mortgage loans, mortgage interest

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. 

facebook ad targeting for realtors in san diego

Facebook ad targeting for realtors in San Diego

facebook ad targeting for realtors in san diego

Facebook ad targeting for realtors in San Diego

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? 

Sort of...

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:

  • Financial Planning
  • Real Estate Investing
  • Stock Market
  • Investments
  • Land and Houses

3

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. 

Facebook ad targeting for real estate investors

Facebook ad targeting for real estate investors

Facebook ad targeting for real estate investors

Facebook ad targeting for real estate investors

This is a good-sized audience within the geographic targeting selected above - between 500k and 600k people. 

Facebook audience size real estate investors

Facebook audience size real estate investors

Facebook audience size real estate investors

Facebook audience size real estate investors

4

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.

Lead Ad Free Home Evaluation

Lead Ad Free Home Evaluation

Lead Ad Free Home Evaluation

Lead Ad Free Home Evaluation

And the cost per lead from this campaign:

Home Evaluation Facebook Ad Cost per Lead

Home Evaluation Facebook Ad Cost per Lead

Home Evaluation Facebook Ad Cost per Lead

Home Evaluation Facebook Ad Cost per Lead

5

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.

Facebook Testimonial Ad - Real Estate

Facebook Testimonial Ad - Real Estate

Facebook Testimonial Ad - Real Estate

Facebook Testimonial Ad - Real Estate

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).

6

Video Ads

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:

Facebook Real Estate Video Ad

Facebook Real Estate Video Ad

Facebook Real Estate Video Ad

Facebook Real Estate Video Ad

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! 

Facebook Real Estate Video Ad Results

Facebook Real Estate Video Ad Results

Facebook Real Estate Video Ad Results

Facebook Real Estate Video Ad Results

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.

7

Campaign Planning

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.

Facebook campaign ad planning guide for realtors

Facebook campaign ad planning guide for realtors

Facebook campaign ad planning guide for realtors

Facebook campaign ad planning guide for realtors

8

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. 

9

Benchmark Off of Your Realtor Competitors
Create An Ad Swipe File

Did you know you can see what ads your competitors are running? 

It's easy.

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. 

Method 1: 

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. 

Facebook business page transparency section

Facebook business page transparency section

Facebook business page transparency section

Facebook business page transparency section

Once you click on Page Transparency, you will see a button titled, Go To Ad Library - click on that.

Facebook page transparency - Ad Library Real Estate

Facebook page transparency - Ad Library Real Estate

Facebook page transparency - Ad Library Real Estate

Facebook page transparency - Ad Library Real Estate

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). 

Ad Library Showing Facebook Ads for Business Page

Ad Library Showing Facebook Ads for Business Page

Ad Library Showing Facebook Ads for Business Page

Ad Library Showing Facebook Ads for Business Page

Method 2: 

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.  

Facebook business page transparency under About

Facebook business page transparency under About

Facebook business page transparency under About

Facebook business page transparency under About

10

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. 

Creating a Custom Audience in Facebook

Creating a Custom Audience in Facebook

Creating a Custom Audience in Facebook

Creating a Custom Audience in Facebook

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. 


Creating a Lookalike Audience in Facebook

Creating a Lookalike Audience in Facebook

Creating a Lookalike Audience in Facebook

Creating a Lookalike Audience in Facebook

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.


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About the author 

Toby

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

  • Yes. Yes. Yes!

    Another strategy that we’ve been promoting has been updating property pages and sharing those updates on Facebook. Then, we run ads to “likely to move” demographics we feel might be interested in those updates.

    Good work!

  • Ronnie Possatti says:

    Unfortunately i’m not able to test these tips on my country (Brazil). The options of your facebook book ads seens to be only valid for US. =/ nice idea tough. If you have any tips for real estate ads on facebook outside US i’d be glad! nice job on the post.

    • Hi Ronnie,
      thanks for your comment. Facebook is constantly changing what targeting options we have. Unfortunately, I can’t see what Facebook is offering in its ad platform outside of the U.S. I do know that much of Facebook’s targeting options come from data aggregators in the U.S. that collect data on consumers here which I know are not available in other countries.
      Sorry couldn’t be of more help. But if you find any good targeting options I’d be happy to see them.

      Toby

  • Nick Saponaro says:

    Awesome tip on the “likely to move” option! It just so happens that I’m a San Diego agent as well, so this couldn’t have been more on point for me. Thanks a lot.

  • Andrew Cherry says:

    could you get more specific as to the benefits of targeting mortgage brokers ?
    We run campaigns to generate listings and buyers and to get people to open houses .. Will targeting mortgage brokers help ?

    • Hi Andrew – depends on your goals/objectives. But mortgage brokers can be a good target from an awareness standpoint in your local market as they interact with many potential buyers, and often, since financing is more stringent these days post 2008 meltdown, buyers start the home buying process with the mortgage broker first to find out what they are pre-qualified for before looking.

    • Patric James says:

      Hi Andrew, how do you set up campaigns to generate listings and buyers and to get people to open houses? And have you had some results from running them? I live in a small area (town has 50,000 residence/businesses).

      • Hello Patric,
        We have an upcoming free webinar that goes over this specifically for realtors that you can register for here, https://www.39celsius.com/facebook-ads-realtors-webinar-registration, or a Facebook course for realtors that goes over in detail specifically how to setup, target, and run campaigns for listings and open houses, and more, https://facebookadsforrealtors.com/.

        But in short, you need to decide on the campaign objectives – typically for getting more to an open house you need to use a “send people to a destination off Facebook” campaign objective and drive the traffic to a landing page about that specific open house, as an example – from there you need to specify your demographic targeting depending on who you want to reach, i.e. is it a condo for first-time home buyers, or a home for a family, etc – this will determine who you target inside Facebook.

  • Joe Torres says:

    You state “We managed to reach under 1,000 people which is fine” but right in your own screenshots for two of the three ads, you’re getting a warning from facebook that states the ads to specific to be shown and to please be more broad, can you comment on this?

    • Hi Joe, yes, that’s a good question. Facebook’s ad algorithm does work better with a larger audience so you should experiment with audience size and see how the metrics perform (i.e. relevance score, CPM, CTR, etc). However, there’s nothing wrong with going hyper-local like this, but the smaller the audience the more you might have to experiment with the ads. A couple things could happen with smaller audiences; one, there may not be enough people responding to the ad and Facebook’s ad algorithm has a built-in safeguard which could slow down delivery of the ad to the audience and limit your exposure. Or, you could over deliver the ad to those same people as well (i.e. showing it too many times) – in this case, you would want to consider limiting the daily frequency. Either way, my recommendation is that you will have to experiment a bit to find that sweet spot between too broad or too narrow.

  • i am unable to see options like – likely to move in behaviour. what can i do?

  • for instance, if i want to sale property worth rupees 3cr to 5cr in mumbai, india, – what should i target with?

    • The “likely to move” target may not be an option that’s available in every country in Facebook – which I believe is the case in your situation, unfortunately.
      Toby

  • Nicholas Bowman says:

    Love it! I’ll give it a shot. Best blog I have stumbled over in awhile. I truly Thank You!

  • michelle stockman says:

    My FB preferred audience/advertising page does not look like that at all … I have a business page, but do not see these options. Do I need to set it up completely separate from my personal page to get these options?

    • Hi Michelle,
      Which options specifically are you not seeing? “Likely to move” is typically something that is only offered in the US – are you outside the US?
      Toby

  • Mike Kinsella says:

    I’m in Canada – any variation of this “likely to move” for us?

    • Hi Mike,
      “Likely to move” may not be available in Canada – it’s a Facebook Partner Category provided by Epsilon. I don’t think there’s a variation for Canada.

  • Trisha Merriam says:

    Thanks Toby. A friend of mine recently asked her real estate agent to advertiser her listing on Facebook. Her agent told her it was illegal to target real estate ads based on discriminating factors such as income. Have you heard this?

    • That makes no sense – the equivalent in traditional marketing would be not being able to send flyers/postcards advertising listings in certain zip codes that you know are full of upper middle income households because you selectively chose that neighborhood based on income. Facebook wouldn’t exist if you couldn’t advertise based on demographics such as household income.

      • Kerry Stafford says:

        Your Realtor is likely confused by this :

        “Equal Credit Opportunity Act: The Equal Credit Opportunity Act makes discrimination unlawful with respect to any aspect of a credit application on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age or because all or part of the applicant’s income derives from any public assistance program.”

        Targeting your advertising to within a specific demographic based on income is fine. Targeting your advertising to exclude a racial group or an area where racial groups are more prevalent is not.

  • Ana P (ODesk Solutions) says:

    Great post! Very helpful information. I will certainly use this information for my client’s FB ads!

  • Rajesh Heer says:

    Very detailed and informative post. Great work. thanks

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