For Carrot members, Facebook is the third-highest source of new leads, outperforming Google Ads and organic search from both Bing and Yahoo: Real Estate Facebook Ads.
All told, Facebook generated 53,203 new leads in 2019. And that’s leads. Not traffic, visitors, followers, fans … actual leads.
Imagine the difference a few hundred new leads could have made in your business over the last year. Imagine what they could do for you in 2023.
It’s also worth noting that Facebook features on a compilation of popular APIs, with the all-encompassing Meta Marketing API acting as an umbrella service to let advertisers tap into all of the promotional potential represented by this platform and sister service Instagram.
If you’re looking to achieve more advanced things, like setting up campaigns that run simultaneously across Meta’s lineup, then all sorts of possibilities exist. But if you’re a newcomer, it’s better to go with the basics of Facebook Ads first.
Simply put … that kind of lead-generating faucet is transformative.
So how do we do it? I’m glad you asked.
Real Estate Facebook Ads: The “Why”
You may be wondering what makes Real Estate Facebook Ads so phenomenal.
At the risk of stating the obvious:
- Real estate is personal. Facebook is personal.
- Real estate is emotional. Facebook is emotional.
- Real estate is visual. And Facebook is visual.
However, not all Facebook content is created equal.
After analyzing over one billion Facebook posts from roughly three million brands, Buzzsumo discovered that the three most engaging post types overlap perfectly with those three qualities: (1) questions, (2) images, and (3) videos.
Of course, the obvious question is: why do you need to pay for ads if Facebook is tailor-made for the types of posts that come up naturally in real estate?
Facebook’s “organic reach” is dying
To determine what posts you see – and more importantly, what posts your audience doesn’t see – Facebook’s algorithm uses what’s known as cognitive computing; in simple terms, machine learning. These algorithms learn by testing and figuring out how people respond to those tests because Facebook is all about providing relevancy and rich experiences for the people who use it.
Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story.
Regarding companies and brands – as opposed to personal profiles – the average organic page reach is tanking while Facebook’s stock prices continue to climb.
This inverse relationship is no accident.
As Convince and Convert recently explained, Facebook “is banking on the dominance of social selling and could care less how your company’s non-paid, organic efforts suffer as a result.” In other words, the free (Facebook) lunch is over, and if you want your posts to reach your audience … you have to pay to play.
Your goal must always be getting people to engage with your post. But make no mistake; the deck is stacked against you. As a real estate investor posting on Facebook, your fans only see a minimal number of your posts.
And that’s where understanding Facebook ads become so vital.
Facebook also allows for fine-grained ad segmentation based on just about any demographic you can imagine; this is especially powerful for targeting and retargeting specific real-estate audiences.
On top of that, real estate Facebook Ads remain the most economical choice among traditional and digital media.
While you should certainly invest in an “organic” presence on Facebook, those 12,176 leads I brought up earlier are driven by ads.
Real Estate Facebook Ads: The “How” of Getting Started
You can begin running Facebook ads with either your profile or through your business page; however, using a business page — i.e., Fan Page — gives you far more customization options.
When setting up your account — which Facebook makes incredibly easy — be sure to specify under Billing both an overall “Daily Spend Limit” as well as an overall “Account Spend.”
Doing this ensures you’ll never go over budget. If you’re starting out, experiment by setting a modest budget so you only pay when you reach $50-$200.
Facebook Ad Types You Can Use for Real Estate
The biggest distinction in Facebook’s ad types is between (1) “Boosting” and “Promoting” existing posts … and (2) creating and running an ad.
The global click-through rate for something like Google is a stark 0.20%. That number gets even more disheartening when you limit results to the United States alone:
The good news is that, according to SmartInsights, all three types of Facebook ads far outperform that average:
Notice the distinction between the Power Editor, Promoted, and Boosted. While there’s a place for each in your Facebook mix, because this is a post about ads — and because that’s what we use here at Carrot — we’ll focus on the Power Editor.
Facebook’s Ads Guide walkthrough the various placements and even includes annotated examples of each type:
When selecting your ad type, the primary question is, “What’s your goal?”
Goal 1: Drive Traffic
(1) Domain advertising.
The simplest of all Facebook ads, domain advertising, place your ad in the right-hand column. It’s unobtrusive, inexpensive, and perfect to get your feet wet.
(2) News Feed advertising.
This is the most popular Facebook ad method. Along with driving traffic to your website or landing page through the link, image and “Learn More” button, the ad also includes options to like, comment and/or share.
Ads featured in the news feed have a 44% higher click-through rate than right-side-column placement as well as a five-times-higher conversion rate. With this type of ad, you can include high-quality images, your logo, a custom message, and a link to your website through the “Learn More” button.
Goal 2: Generate Leads
(1) Carousel ads.
These ads are placed in the news feed, and investors or agents can promote up to five properties at once (or feature multiple images of a single property). Each image may also include a unique link and title:
(2) Lead ads.
Just like the name implies, lead ads focus exclusively on generating leads. Your prospective buyer or seller can complete a signup form without leaving Facebook by setting up lead ads. This offers less customization but is perfect for Facebook mobile users:
(3) Canvas ads.
Canvas ads are only available on mobile and appear in the regular news feed. The great thing about Canvas ads is they look like a normal post. Prospects can swipe through a carousel of images, tilt the image in different directions, and zoom in or out.
For you this means advertising a property listing with multiple images, videos, unique descriptions, individual prices, or even a map of the area … all without your prospects needing to leave Facebook. If viewers are interested, they have to click on the call to action button.
Goal 3: Likes or Followers
(1) Post page like.
This is an ad type for any page position, either in the news feed or the right hand column. You create a custom post and — while it includes a call to action button — priority goes to “Like Page” in order to build your Facebook audience.
(2) Video page like.
These are the same as post page like ads, but instead of using an image, you’d use a video.
Goal 4: Attend events
(1) Event ads.
For physical events — like showings, open houses, or buyers or sellers seminars — event ads are compelling at targeting audiences in specific locations.
Once you’ve created your event on a Facebook Page, you can pay to “Promote Event” or build an ad for the event through the choices above.
Even more digitally savvy, such events don’t necessarily need to be physical. In the first virtual open house tour in 2015, traffic was directed to this page:
Real Estate Facebook Ads: The “How” of Running and Optimizing
Step 1: Understand your objective
I’ve already said this, but it bear repeating: before you do anything, you need to know what you want to achieve with your ad.
For instance, is your goal to get more page likes — which I only recommend if you’re trying to intentionally build a large Facebook following — or is it to get more people to a specific landing page?
Your goal will determine which kind of ad to use. And once you know the right result, Facebook makes it easy to create the right type:
Step 2: Focus on creating eye-catching visuals
Visuals are what make or break every Facebook ad.
Despite our natural instincts, I’ve found that using pictures that look amateur or are made to look amateur works better than using professionally edited images.
From a psychological point of view, people are on Facebook in a very personal capacity: to keep up to date with friends and family. They’re not there to buy houses or view listings. So when an image looks like you or I just took it and uploaded it ourselves — especially if you select an ad type that is featured in the news feed — it feels less like an ad and more like it belongs, as if a family member or friend uploaded it instead of a business.
Here’s another little trick to use on your ad picture.
Edit your picture with a very small, bright-colored outline or arrow. I suggest using lime green, orange, or something bright other than red. The human mind is conditioned to subconsciously notice arrows and outlined things because your mind associates that with something that must be important.
Here’s an example.
Images in real estate Facebook ads are not “one size fits all.” Each goal has its specific proportions that Facebook recommends:
We’ve already covered several ads that feature properties themselves. But don’t stop with the traditional fare. Instead, experiment with unique imagery like these examples of organic real-estate posts that went viral:
Step 3: Write attention-grabbing copy
Newsfeed ads don’t give you much room for creativity. Each element is strictly regulated, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop your audience in their swipes:
(1) Headline: 25 characters.
To attract buyers, think about what would catch the eye of your local community.
As you know, when people want to buy real estate, they want to connect with real and trustworthy people. That should be well expressed in your short ad. Titles such as “Looking for a Home?” “Where are the best schools?” or “Behind on Payments?” are all attention grabbers that lean on the most popular type of post on Facebook – questions – while at the same time attracting the kind of people you’re looking for.
(2) Message: 90 characters.
Your Facebook ad text should be brief and to the point. If the real estate that you’re selling has something unique, let your audience know. Make sure to mention the city or neighborhood, and add a call to action.
(3) Link descriptions: 90 characters.
Here’s what all three of those look like in action:
Write the ad copy based on the needs and desires of your target audience. Never make it about you or your real estate business – make it about the buyer or seller and how you can solve their problem.
A brilliant example of this comes from Rentec Direct, who provide property management software. Their two most profitable ads appear (at first glance) to have nothing to do with selling property management software:
Notice that with both they directly address a need – or more accurately, a pain – their target audience already feels. These kind of well-crafted ads are exactly what you should be creating as well.
Step 4: Targeting the right audience
Facebook ads let you laser target the audience of your choice.
When you create an ad, you can isolate the people you want to reach based on a host of factors:
The options can feel overwhelming, so here are some tips on the most important factors
Age: the age range should be chosen according to the price of the home and the neighborhood. If you’re listing an inexpensive college home, range it from 18-25. If it’s a roomy family home, range it from 30-45. If it’s only one bedroom home, set it for 45 and over.
Location: select the exact city and state and the surrounding area where the real estate is located.
Interests: this one is tricky. If there’s a local college in the area, then make sure to include that college as an interest and all of its athletic teams. The same goes for families, bachelors, and retirees. Think of places near the real estate property that your audience would frequent and include them. This puts your ads in front of the people who liked other Facebook pages of these places.
Facebook ads show up on the pages of people based on who they are and what they’re interested in, so what they see is – here’s that word again – relevant to their lives and behaviors. This is good news for real estate agencies because your money works to bring in more of the right people instead of just anyone who may give you a like but would not become a buyer or seller.
Targeting is massively important to your Facebook ad success. As Nathan Miller from Rentec Direct told me:
“I’ll be honest … the first ads we put on Facebook almost made us abandon the platform altogether. We spent thousands and received maybe two conversions. It was the lowest converting ad spend we had ever experienced.”
The answer to a successful Facebook campaign turns out not to be the amount of cash thrown at it, but the power of Facebook’s targeting. You want 100 people who are very interested in your product to see your ad and the other tens of thousands who aren’t not to.
We accomplished this with Facebook’s lookalike audiences and retargeting. These changes were so simple, and we overlooked it for months.
Our conversion rates have increased by a factor of 40, and our costs per engagement have gone down at the same time.
Audience matters so much, we’ve even written an entire post about How To Use Facebook Retargeting Ads To “Fetch Back” More Real Estate Leads.
Your Real Estate Leads Are Waiting…
It’s true … Facebook and real estate marketing are a match made in social media heaven.
Facebook generated 53,203 new leads in 2019 alone. And remember, those are leads: not traffic, not visitors, not followers, not fans … leads.
Combining a great Facebook marketing strategy with a high-converting website platform like Carrot is a combo that can’t be beaten.
Tapping into a platform like Facebook and coming back with hundreds of new leads can transform your business.
So get started today … and share your tips or questions in the comments.
Additional Facebook Ads Resources: