For most agents, creating real estate Facebook ads that generate leads for a reasonable price is a pipe dream. They try for a few months, don’t get the results they want, then quit. Their mistake? They jumped in too soon and never took the time to learn the basics.
We created this in-depth guide to help you create Facebook ads that will generate leads for a reasonable price. We’ll help you understand when to hire a pro and offer step-by-step instructions for setting up your first campaign on your own. We’ll talk about costs, and finally, we’ll show you real-world examples of Facebook ads agents and brokerages are using to fill their customer relationship manager (CRM) with leads.
How Much Does It Cost to Run Real Estate Facebook Ads?
Luckily, not as much as you might think. In some cases, Facebook advertising can be downright cheap. Usually, you’ll be looking at a low of $4 per lead to a high of $100 per lead.
Of course, how much you pay per lead will depend on how well you can target leads, how good your ads are, and how many other people are targeting the same audience—and what they’re willing to spend per lead. However, if you play your cards right, your price per lead should decrease as you get better at Facebook advertising.
When to Hire the Pros (Done-for-You Facebook Advertising)
Of course, like everything worthwhile, Facebook advertising has a pretty steep learning curve. If you want (or need) leads right away, you can hire a team to run and optimize your ads for you. But should you?
I can’t answer that question for you, but I can recommend a startup called AgentGo. Using artificial intelligence and ad templates from industry leaders, AgentGo helps you create Facebook ads in 5 minutes or less—without the steep learning curve. Best of all, AgentGo starts at just $16 per month and comes with 24/7 chat support and a private Facebook Group.
How to Create Real Estate Facebook Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Conduct a Personal Brand Audit for Professionalism, Authority & Trust (P.A.T.)
Since Facebook is primarily a visual medium, you must have your branding sorted out before you start spending money on Facebook ads. Ideally, you want to produce ads that get you leads and help project your brand online to stay top of mind with your farm area. Here are a few things you might want to look at before getting started.
Your Mission, Vision & Values (MVV)
Your MVV is the invisible thread that runs through your brand and will be reflected in all of your marketing and advertising, whether you like it or not. We created a helpful resource so check out How to Create an Inspiring Mission, Vision & Values for Your Brokerage to learn more.
Branding your Facebook ads with your logo is a great way to prove your professionalism right away. You can learn more about brand logos and how to create yours by reading The Best & Worst Real Estate Logos [+ Pro Design Tips.
Since many Facebook advertising strategies send leads to your website, you’re going to need a high-quality site designed for lead capture. There’s no need to repeat ourselves here. We’ve got a couple of useful guides to help you with that, too.
Check out The 5 Best Real Estate Lead Generation Websites and How to Build an IDX Real Estate Website: The Ultimate Guide to get your IDX-enabled real estate website up and running.
Having a great headshot can help you convert more clicks to leads. After all, people are far more likely to give their contact information to someone who looks trustworthy! You can read Real Estate Agent Headshots: 15 Industry Experts Share Their Best Advice to learn how to get your profile pic up to industry standard.
2. Decide Which Types of Leads You Want to Generate
Since Facebook lets you target buyers and sellers, you should have a rough idea of what kinds of leads you want to get before starting. Try to come up with numbers, if possible. How many more buyer or seller leads do you need to hit your financial targets?
Buyer leads are often much easier to generate with Facebook ads.
3. Calculate Your Maximum Cost per Lead
Once you’ve figured out how many more leads you want to generate, you need to sit down and figure out how much you’re willing to pay for each lead. An easy way to calculate this is to figure out your gross commission from deals you close from Facebook leads, then divide that by the number of leads you generate on Facebook.
For example, let’s say you typically sell homes worth $500,000 and have a standard split. That means you gross around $6,250 per deal. Now, let’s say you convert 5% of the leads you talk to into clients and close 40% of them. So out of 100 cold leads, that leaves you with five clients, and you close two of them. That gives you a gross commission from Facebook leads of $12,500.
That means if you spend $125 per lead, you’ll just break even. If you spend $100 per lead, on the other hand, you’re looking at a profit of $2,500. If you spend $50 per lead, you’d get a profit of $7,500.
4. Set Up a Facebook Business Page
The next thing you’ll need to start running real estate Facebook ads is a Facebook Business Page. If you don’t already have one set up, click here to get started. Enter your page name, then choose “estate agent” as your category, and write a description for your business page. When you’re done, click “create page.”
Next, add your profile photo and cover photo, then click “save.”
[Related article: How to Set Up a Real Estate Agent Facebook Page to Get More Leads]
5. Set Up Your First Campaign
After you have your page set up, the next step is to set up your first campaign on Facebook. In the Facebook advertising world, a campaign is the overall objective you set to generate a certain kind of lead. Within that campaign, you will have ad sets made up of the different ads you run as a part of that campaign.
For example, let’s say you want to set up a buyer lead campaign. Under that campaign, you might have one ad set that offers a free first-time homebuyer’s guide and another that provides a list of off-market properties. Within each of those ad sets, you might have different variations of each ad or retargeting ads to show to people who have already visited your website.
To set up a campaign, click on “Ad Center” in the left column. Click to learn more about the Facebook Ads Manager.
To create a campaign, click on the “Create Ad” button.
6. Set the Campaign Objective & Ad Settings
Next, you need to set your campaign objective and name your campaign. Click on “lead generation” and name your campaign something like “Buyer Lead Ads.” Then click “Continue.”
Facebook offers several campaign objectives, including Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, Video Views, and Lead Generation. For this guide, we’re going to create a lead generation ad. Click on “Lead Generation” and then give your new campaign a name. Next, click continue.
Now we will add our ad settings. On the next page, click on the campaign you created. Under “special ad categories,” click on “housing.” Due to fair housing laws, Facebook requires agents to use this category and this category only.
On this page, you can also set up A/B testing for your ads and optimize your budget. Optimizing your budget will spread your spend across multiple ad sets. Since we’re only creating one ad today, we’ll cover ad sets in a later article.
7. Set Your Contact Method & Ad Budget
On the next page, you will set up your ad budget and change more settings. First, you need to choose how you want leads to contact you. You have three options here:
Instant Forms: Your leads will fill out a form to contact you.
Automated Chat: Your leads will chat with your business page to contact you.
Calls: Your leads will call you to contact you. For now, choose Instant Forms.
Next, under “Page,” choose your Facebook Business Page and click to accept Facebook’s terms. After you do that, click on “yes” under “Dynamic Creative.” This will let Facebook optimize elements of your ad to get more leads.
Setting Your Budget
Pricing for Facebook advertising is based on a bidding system. That means that advertisers bid on how much they are willing to spend to reach a specific audience. Luckily, all of this bidding happens automatically. All you need to do is set your maximum daily bid, and Facebook will determine when and how much to bid for your placements.
You can set your daily budget differently for each campaign or each ad set within each campaign. You can also change your budget as you go, but never change your budget once you have an ad set that generates leads at a reasonable price per lead!
To get started, choose a daily budget, and then select a start date and end date for your ad.
8. Targeting: Define & Refine Your Audience
Next, you’ll tell Facebook what audience you want your ads to be shown to. Since Facebook has more than 2.4 billion users, this is a crucial step to making effective Facebook real estate ads. Under the “Audience” section, click on “create new audience.”
While Facebook used to let agents pick a ZIP code for location, they now only allow you to drop a pin and advertise to people within a 15-mile radius. To target your farm area effectively, make sure you drop a pin somewhere near the geographic center of your farm area.
Next, select the common language your audience speaks. If you’re targeting a bilingual audience, you can choose more than one language.
Demographics & Interests
Here’s where Facebook gets interesting but also a little bit challenging. In the past, Facebook would allow agents and brokers to target audiences by income, ZIP code, gender, marital status, and more demographics that indicate someone might buy or sell a home soon. They even had a category called “likely to move,” making targeting dead simple.
Now, because of their new fair housing regulations, Facebook only lets agents target by interest. Don’t worry—you can still pick interests that might indicate someone is likely to make a move soon. You just need to be more creative. Here are a few interests you might want to consider targeting:
- Real estate investing
- First-time buyer
- For sale by owner
- Holiday cottage
- Home equity loan
- Refinancing house
- House hunting
- Land and houses
- Luxury real estate
- First-time homebuyer grant
- Mortgage loans
- Property finder
You can also look for other clues that your audience is likely to make a significant life change that might include a move. You can choose things like interest in infant supplies and toys, home loans, bridal registries, relocation, or more. Since your options are pretty limited here, it makes more sense to just browse for interests and pick a few that might work. The only caveat is that the more interests you choose, the smaller your audience will be.
Under connections, you can choose to show ads to people you already have a connection with. That would include people who like your page, responded to an event, or visited your website.
9. Choose Your Placements
Here’s where Facebook allows you to pick where your ads are displayed. You can choose to have your ads shown on Facebook or Instagram, or both. You can also display ads on Facebook’s “Audience Network” of participating apps. For now, choose “automatic placements.”
10. Create Your Lead Forms
Next, you will need to create the lead forms that your leads will fill out to contact you. Scroll down to “Instant Form” and then click on “Create Form” to get started. You can choose which image your lead sees along with your headshot, and also determine which questions you will make them answer to contact you. In general, the fewer questions you ask, the more conversions you will get. You can also choose not to ask any questions and simply set an appointment.
You can skip this step if you already have a website with landing pages and lead capture. If you don’t already have a website, you can learn how to build a WordPress site, or choose a lead website builder below.
[Related article: How to Build an IDX Real Estate Website: The Ultimate Guide]
[Related article: The 6 Best Real Estate Website Builders]
11. Set Optimization & Spending Controls
Now you can set the optimization and spending controls for your ad campaign. First, set a daily budget for your ad spend based on the cost per lead you calculated above. Starting at the high end of your budget will allow Facebook to optimize your ads more quickly. That means you’ll start getting good leads faster. Also, the more ad placements you have, the higher the likelihood that someone will click on your ads.
For a traffic ad, you’ll want to set the optimization to “Landing page views” as your goal is to drive traffic to your website. For a lead generation campaign, your goal will be to get someone to enter their contact information, so Facebook will automatically choose “leads” for optimization.
Now that you have a campaign set up, an objective, targeting, placement, and spending controls, Facebook will tell you your potential for daily reach and link clicks. Make sure your audience is large enough, and you have an opportunity to get the number of leads you decided on in the third step. If everything looks good, move on to the next step. If not, you can tweak your settings to try to widen your audience.
12. Choose an Ad Format
OK, now you’re ready for the fun part. Here you get to choose the copy and creative for your Facebook ad. Before you get started, you need to choose between the three options Facebook offers for traffic ads:
Carousel ads are ads that feature several images or videos that your audience can scroll through. For example, you might have four open houses lined up for this weekend and include a picture or video walk-through of each in your carousel. That means your audience can view multiple listing photos through one ad.
Single Image or Video Ads
A single image or video is just that. Instead of having multiple photos for your audience to scroll through, you only have one image or video to grab their attention.
Collections are mostly designed for ecommerce companies. They feature a video and then a selection of products below that video. For example, you might see a collection of boots if you’ve been shopping for boots recently.
When it comes to the actual ad you’re going to run, you need to plan everything before you start writing copy and designing the ad. How are you going to entice someone on Facebook to stop scrolling and click on your ad? To get you started, read on for a few examples of effective Facebook ad strategies and how to build them.
13. Create Your Lead Magnet, Write Copy & Design Your Ad
Now that you know what kind of ad you’d like to create, the next step is to create it. Generally, if you’re offering a piece of content as a lead magnet, it makes sense to write and design that first.
Next, it’s time to get started creating your ad. You need to choose imagery, design your layout, and write the copy for your ad. If you’re using a video ad, then you’re going to have to shoot your video. Here are a few quick rules for creating engaging Facebook ads.
Always Put Yourself in Your Leads’ Shoes & Ask WIIFM?
When it comes to writing copy and getting creative with imagery, design, and video, it can be very easy to lose track of your main goal. In every ad, your main goal is always to convince your audience to take a certain action. To make sure you’re putting them first, once you’ve created your ad, pretend you’re a part of your audience and ask yourself What’s In It for Me? Why should I click on your ad? Pretty graphic design or clever language often won’t cut it.
Try Using Emojis in Your Copy 💓😀👏
Remember, your job is to make people pause, read your ad, then click on it. Emojis can increase the click-through rate of ads because they look more like the text that their friends are posting on Facebook.
Use Images of Homes, but Also Consider Using People
While at the end of the day you’re trying to get someone to purchase or sell a home with you, pictures of homes can sometimes cause people’s eyes to glaze over and tune out your ad. Images of people, on the other hand, are harder to resist looking at.
14. Design Your Landing Page & Set Up Retargeting
Even if you have a killer Facebook ad, you can end up with no leads at all if you’re not careful about designing your landing page. A landing page is just a page on your website that your leads will “land” on after clicking on your ad. Your landing page might just ask them for contact information, or it might be a specific page on your site that has IDX listings in their price range. Or, if you build a lead ad with lead generation as a campaign objective, your landing page will be on Facebook.
Whatever you decide, just make sure to take the time to design a landing page that encourages people to leave their contact information. Landing page design can get complicated, so check out our in-depth guide to real estate landing pages below before you get started.
[Related article: 5 Clever Real Estate Landing Pages That Actually Convert]
Retargeting is when you take the people who have already visited your website and advertise to them only on Facebook. This can be a powerful way to generate leads, as many people won’t click on an ad until they see it several times. It’s also a great way to stay top of mind with leads until they’re ready to call you.
7 Examples of High-converting Real Estate Facebook Ads
1. Listing Sneak Peek Facebook Ad
Here’s a classic example of a new listing ad with great, eye-catching design, beautiful imagery, and short, to-the-point copy that emphasizes the positive aspects of the home and builds fear of missing out by highlighting the word FAST. Note how the emojis draw you in to read the copy. Also, this is yet another reason why having a great headshot is crucial to real estate marketing.
2. Home Valuation Facebook Ad
This home valuation ad comes right to the point and has an attractive and professional layout to convince homeowners of their trustworthiness. Note the subtle difference in the copy. They’re not asking “What’s your home worth?”—they’re asking “What’s your home REALLY worth?” This reminds readers that many home valuation sources like Zillow’s Zestimate are far from accurate.
3. Simple Listing Facebook Ad
Here’s another excellent listing ad that relies on a great picture of a highly photogenic home to draw people in.
4. Video Listing Facebook Ad
Here’s a video ad that starts with lush drone videos that people can’t resist these days. The video is a personal story of a San Francisco resident who epitomizes the city’s unique charm. You don’t always have to just advertise a home. You can even promote an entire town and associate it with your brand.
5. Video Listing Facebook Ad
This Warburg video Facebook ad starts with a professionally shot video walk-through of a luxury Upper East Side apartment. Even if you’re not looking for an apartment like this, you probably can’t help but click.
6. Simple Listing Facebook Ad
This branding ad from Brown Harris Stevens shows off a stunning estate and encourages people to visit their Instagram account to look at more gorgeous listings and keep the Brown Harris Stevens brand top of mind.
7. Agent Branding Video Facebook Ad
Here’s a classic branding ad that has a fantastic video introducing the agent. The brightly colored background stands out and makes leads pause over this ad.
Over to You
Are you a realtor who is crushing it with real estate Facebook ads? Or, are you just thinking of getting started but need some more pointers? Let us know in the comments below, or join our Facebook Mastermind Group here.