Setting up a Facebook ad campaign for real estate, or any other industry for that matter is easy. You just need to click a few buttons and fill out a few content fields to get started, right? But creating a successful real estate Facebook ad campaign takes a lot of time and patience. In some cases, you may have to spend a few hundred dollars just on A/B testing.
In this advanced guide to Facebook advertising meant specifically for real estate professionals including agents, brokers and investors, I am going to let you in on some winning Facebook ad strategies I have tried and tested myself while working with real estate clients from all over the world including the U.S.A, Canada, the U.K., Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
This guide will touch upon the Facebook advertising basics, but mainly focus on advanced strategies on how to accelerate lead generation. The idea is to maximize your results and minimize ad spend. It’s important to learn how you can get results for pennies on the dollar because Facebook ads will continue to get costlier in 2021 and beyond.
So, let’s get started!
Before you start running real estate Facebook ads
As I said, it takes just a few minutes to create a Facebook ad, but a lot of preparations, knowledge and planning go into creating a good campaign. In a recent article, I discussed the four most important elements of a Facebook ad. You can check out this article for more details, but let’s discuss these elements in brief.
Here is what you need before you start creating your ads:
A lead magnet is the most essential and important element of a Facebook ad.
A lead magnet is something you give away for free to your prospects in exchange for their contact information.
Needless to say, your choice of lead magnet for a particular campaign should align with your objective. It must provide a lot of value.
Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Home listings – including listing of homes just put on the block for sale and featured listings- is a perfect lead magnet.
Do you want to promote your neighborhood expertise as a realtor? A home buying or selling guide for that particular neighborhood is an excellent lead magnet.
What it basically means is that you need to create a lead magnet based on the objective of your Facebook ad.
Check out the following article to know what types of lead magnets you can create for your Facebook ads.
An important consideration: If you are a USA-based realtor, broker, investor or real estate developer, you may not have access to certain Facebook advertising features such as ‘Lookalike Audiences’ and targeting options such as ‘zip code’, ‘age’, ‘gender’, ‘ethnicity’ and ‘race’. It means that Facebook advertising policies limits your targeting options.
In a recent article (Definitive Guide to Special Housing Ads Category of Facebook), I discussed how this category impacts you targeting options and how you can utilize all the targeting options without violating the advertising options. So if you thought you can’t use all the targeting options due to the Special Ads Category, check out this article.
Further reading – Facebook advertising: Best targeting options for realtors
Before you set up your ad, you should have an awesome landing page set up to capture the leads.
It’s where your leads will share with you their contact details including email and mobile number.
In the article I wrong on creating a Facebook Ads funnel, I discussed some best practices to follow when creating a landing page for Facebook ads.
How will you nurture leads?
This landing page should be connected with your CRM or an email marketing service, so that you can launch a long-term campaign.
Buying a home is not like going out and shopping for groceries. It takes times, so keep in with your leads even if it takes them weeks or months to take the plunge.
Setting up a real estate Facebook ad campaign
Now that you have a lead magnet and a marketing funnel in place (It’s possible to skip the first step. All you need to do is click the ‘Boost This Post’ button to start advertising on Facebook. But I would strongly recommend that you don’t skip it. In fact, take all the time in the world to come up with a perfect Facebook ad funnel because everything will ride on how effective it is. Most real estate professionals make this mistake), it’s time to create your ad campaign:
Here are the most essential preparations you need to make for setting up your Facebook ad campaign:
Don’t run an ad before you have installed Facebook Pixel on your real estate website.
Facebook launched this tool to help its advertisers measure the effectiveness of their ads.
Let’s say for example someone clicked on your ‘Property listing alerts sign-up ad’. He or she landed on the landing page, but left without leaving any email ID or phone number.
If you have Facebook Pixel installed, it will record the action taken by that user. You can now show ads to the user through future Facebook campaign. In other words, you can retarget the same user.
You can also create ‘Lookalike’ audience using the Facebook Pixel data of people who have visited your website or taken any other action on it such as viewing specific home listing pages.
First of all, you need to come up with an excellent ad copy with a mention to your lead magnet or Call-to-Action. You are obviously not a professional copy writer, so I have a great hack that you can use to write highly effective Facebook ad copies. Using this hack, you can spy on the Facebook ads of your competitors or any big or small real estate business anywhere in the world and emulate the copies they are using.
Check the following article to know how this hack works:
You can use this hack whenever you want to come up with a winning Facebook ad copy.
Facebook is definitely biased towards videos, so try to use videos in your ads as much as possible.
You will get to show your ad to more people because videos have a better organic reach.
Your image or video should align with the objective of your ad. For example, if you are promoting an ebook, you can use the ebook cover as part of the image (with your pic to personalize the ad). However, make sure that the text in the image doesn’t exceed 20% of the total image area. Facebook won’t approve your ad if the image is too text heavy. Moreover the organic reach of your ad will come down substantially.
Once you have the ad copy and imagery ready, the next step is to determine your Facebook ads budget.
I would recommend that your initial budget shouldn’t exceed $10 per hour. I recently wrote an article explaining in more detail how much you should budget for Facebook ads.
Choosing a Facebook ad objective
Facebook lets you run ads with different ad objectives.
Depending on which ad objective you are choosing, you should also determine your CTA button. Here are the most suitable CTA buttons for real estate professionals:
- Download (If your lead magnet is an ebook).
- Sign up (If you want people to sign up for listing alerts or regular market updates from you).
- Learn more (Free home value estimation service)
Several studies have pointed out that not having a Call-to-Action button increases cost-per-result substantially.
Studies also indicate that ‘Download’ is one of the most effective CTA buttons for Facebook ads, probably because it gives users an impression that they just need to click through for a quick and easy download. The cost-per-result for ‘Download’ has been found to be lower than other CTA buttons.
On the contrary, ‘Learn More’ and ‘Sign Up’ are less effective because the first button conveys to the users that they would need to read more which could be time-consuming and the second button could make users think that they have to enter their credit card details or hand over lots of personal details in a complicated form.
Create a real estate catalogue: Now, sell homes like an e-commerce product
Facebook has now launched a new type of dynamic ad feature to enable real estate agents to display their inventory in a carousel or single image format. It means that your home listings are displayed like an eCommerce product with all the necessary listing information including address, price, description, property type and images.
Here is the step-by-step process to create a real estate dynamic ad on Facebook:
- First you need to set up a catalogue.
- You will need to have at least 100 properties in your catalogue in order to use this feature.
- You will be asked to update a file with details of all the required fields such as home_listing_id, name, image, address, neighbourhood, latitude, longitude, price, availability and URL.
- After create an ad using Facebook Ads manager, you need to select Catalogue sales as your objective.
- Upload your catalogue file and the add inventory. You can then start running ads to promote all the featured listings in your inventory.
You may need to hire a Facebook advertising expert in order to set up your catalogue because it involves a few technical steps such as inputting data fields. It’s one of the best Facebook ads features for Realtors and real estate developers.
Evaluating the performance of your Facebook ad campaign
When running a real estate Facebook ad campaign, it is important that you evaluate on a regular basis how your ads are performing.
Most marketing experts recommend A/B testing Facebook ads.
A/B testing is the process of comparing two versions of your Facebook ad with just one varying element. Let’s for example, you want to A/B test the headline of your Facebook ad copy. For that, you would need to create two versions of the same ad with only the headline changed.
After you prepare your variations, you will need to present each version to half of your visitors. The test will tell you which version proved most popular among your audience based on specific metrics, such as cost-per-click, likes, engagement and cost-per-result.
In order to do A/B testing, you need to determine how your ads are performing. Facebook Ads Manager makes it extremely easy.
Here is what you need to do:
Go to Ads Manager and click on the campaign and ad set you want to check the performance for. Choose the date range (top right side of the screen).
Then select ‘Last 7 days’. Keep this period shorter to get the most recent data of your ad performance.
Click ‘Columns: Performance’ on the right side of the screen. In the drop-down menu, select ‘Customize Columns’.
A pop-up will appear where you can select different metrics including results, reach, frequency, impressions, delivery, amount spent, CPC, CTR, Clicks, Cost-per-Result, Cost per 100 People Reached, CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions) etc.
Select the metrics corresponding to your ad objective and check the results.
If you want to know which ad placements are performing the best, you should head over to the Breakdown menu, appearing next to Performance (mentioned above).
Apart from determining which ad placements are performing the best, you can also see what times of day or weekdays deliver the most conversions at the lowest cost.
Further reading: Best Facebook ads placement strategy for real estate
Keep a tab on your Facebook ad cost
This step is part of the ad optimization strategy after you’ve examined how your ads are performing.
While Facebook is still one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your prospects, there is no denying the fact that it is getting costlier with each passing year.
The cost-per-click and cost-per-result are increasing and will continue to increase in 2021 and beyond. I recently wrote an article how to lower your Facebook ad cost in 2021. Check out this article for more details. Here are a few tips for you to follow:
- First create brand awareness by promoting free guides and courses that educate your prospects about home buying, selling or real estate investment process. The best part is that these types of ads don’t fall in the Special Ads Category, so you can use all the advertising features that Facebook offers. Use Facebook pixel to show listing alerts and other types of promotional ads to people who have shown interest in your educational ads. You will show your ads twice to the same user, but studies indicate that this will substantially lower your cost-per-conversion.
- Create ‘Lookalike’ or ‘Special ads audience’ based on the Facebook pixel data of people who have taken some action on your website or previous ads.
- Keep changing images and videos that you are using at lease once in a week. This will help you avoid ad fatigue.
- Videos definitely have a better organic reach, so promote videos as much as possible.
Follow these best Facebook advertising practices
In order to make sure that you are getting the best results from your ad campaigns, you should follow certain good advertising practices.
- First of all, avoid violating Facebook’s ‘Housing Ads’ policy. I have already explained in this guide that you need to run certain types of real estate ads under Facebook Special Ads Category. Check out my article on this topic to learn more.
- Never ‘boost your post’ directly from the page. Invest some time in mastering Facebook Ads Manager.
- You should run your ad for at least 48 hours before trying to determine how your ad is performing.
- If you find that your ad is not getting desired results even after a week, you should change one element at a time and keep testing.
Coming up with a perfect ad funnel, measuring the performance of your ads and keeping the ad cost low are the three most important components in any real estate Facebook ad campaign.
Keep testing different elements of your ads and be consistent in order to identify winning campaigns and maximize your ROI.
Let me know in comments if you have used any of these strategies to get real estate leads and if they worked!