Marketing plans routinely include Facebook ads in the mix; in fact, more than five million businesses run ads on the social network each month. Businesses often use these ads to encourage prospects to like their page, go to their website, or click on a special offer.
The National Association of REALTORS®’ surveyed its member this spring, and in the recently released REALTOR® Technology Survey, they found Facebook to be a particular favorite among real estate agents. Of the 77 percent of respondents who use social media for their real estate business, Facebook was clearly the most popular platform, with 97 percent reporting they use it.
When we started out in the real estate technology world at PropertySimple, we didn’t know if helping agents with their ads would work or not. But we knew that some of them were investing large amounts of money in Facebook advertising, and we wanted to help them secure a return on investment. After many tests and ad copy experiments, we learned how customers interact with real estate Facebook ads and how agents can best optimize their strategies when it comes to this platform.
1. Take the Time to Thoughtfully Target
There are thousands of targeting options for Facebook ads. It’s important first to have a clear understanding of your target demographic so you can input that information. But you should go beyond the basics; here are a few other data points to consider:
- Zip code: Don’t forget to limit your advertising run to your target market. Otherwise you’ll fly through your ad spend and may not get any local leads.
- Homeownership status: This targeting option is excellent for agents who want to target homeowners looking to upgrade their house (perhaps they have kids and need more space). This can also be a way to find first-time buyers in your demographic group.
- Likely to move: This targeting option, which figures out who might be looking to relocate, is clearly helpful for real estate agents.
- Lookalike audiences: Agents who have a list of people who have bought or sold with them in the past can input that data and create a list of people who meet the same criteria.
Remember that this is a delicate balance. Facebook ads should be broad enough to reach a lot of prospects but narrow enough to target those ready to buy or sell. It’s also important to keep up with updates, such as the changes coming to prevent discrimination in housing.
2. Include Multiple Images or Video
Be sure to use the carousel ad option where you can upload multiple photos. Think about this: How many buyers want only to see one image of a property? Give prospects the ability to click through a few enticing images before they complete your call to action on the ad, which could be heading to your Facebook business page or website to find out more about the property.
Better yet, give the buyer a real sense of the property with a 360 video that walks them through the house. Begin with a shot of the exterior of the property and walk through the door so that the viewer can see what it’s like to enter the space. A 360 video is attention-grabbing and will make sure prospects notice your ads.
3. Use a Hook
To garner more attention with Facebook ads, reference a product or service the viewers may want in the copy. This tactic offers the viewer something in exchange for their engagement. Some agents use a free home evaluation ad to generate leads. This type of giveaway can begin a relationship with new prospects and gain more attention for your company on Facebook.
Another tactic to grab viewers’ attention is to include a mini-review of your services. Buyers and sellers can immediately see the benefit they will receive when working with you and what kind of service to expect. Here’s an example of how one of our real estate clients did this.
Remember to always lead with the benefit to the buyer or seller in the ad copy. Many agents make the mistake of describing their services without hooking the viewer with a direct benefit.
4. Double Down During Peak Seasons
In most real estate markets, there’s a seasonality to buying and selling activity, though the timing of those seasons varies depending on where you live. Right before the busy time in your market, you want to increase your ad spend. Since fewer people want to buy a house in the middle of winter in the northeast, agents there can lower the amount they spend or pause ads altogether in the depths of the colder months. Shift your Facebook budget toward times when people are ready to buy or sell properties.
While I’ve seen these tips work well for real estate pros, the best way to craft a winning strategy on Facebook is to jump in and find what works for you and your market. Real estate agents who run Facebook ads should continuously test ads and replicate those that perform well.