There’s one in every office. You know the type—five listings in their first year in real estate, and more buyers than you can shake a stick at. Did they sell their soul to the devil? Start practicing voodoo? Maybe … But chances are they just took the time to learn how to make killer real estate Facebook ads that kept their pipelines chock full of great buyer and seller leads.
Want to learn how they do it? Well, you’re in luck.
In order to get you on the right track, we put together this comprehensive guide for real estate agents who want to advertise on Facebook. We cover everything from branding, to campaigns, to demographic targeting, and lead generation. We also give you examples of current Facebook real estate ads that are pulling in tons of leads and tell you why they work.
Beginner’s Mind: What Every Realtor Needs to Know About Facebook Advertising in 2021
Before you start your first campaign, let’s take a quick look at how Facebook advertising works, and address a few common questions and concerns agents have about advertising on Facebook.
Why Facebook Advertising is Perfect For Generating Buyer & Seller Leads
In a word, targeting. Have you ever been just thinking about say, buying a vacuum cleaner and suddenly you see ads for vacuum cleaners everywhere you go online, even if you never even searched for one online?
While many people think Facebook and Google spy on your conversations through your microphone, the reason why is a lot less creepy. Well, maybe a little creepier, depending on how you feel about privacy.
Here’s how it works: Social media companies like Facebook collect massive amounts of data about pretty much everything you do online. They then take this data and use mind-bogglingly complex algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict what you’re going to do next. In many cases, Facebook will know you are in the market for a new vacuum cleaner before you do …
Now, apply this same thing to people looking to buy and sell homes, and voila, you have the ultimate way to laser target people looking to move.
How Much Does it Cost to Run Real Estate Facebook Ads?
Luckily, not as much as you think it does. In some cases, Facebook advertising can be downright cheap. Of course how much you pay per lead is going to rely on how well you can target leads, how good your ads are, as well as how many other people are targeting the same people. Generally speaking, you’ll be looking at a low of $4 per lead, to a high of $100 per lead. Luckily, if you play your cards right your price per lead will go down as you get better at Facebook advertising.
The Fair Housing Algorithm Updates Changed Facebook, But Not as Much as Most Agents Think
One thing we hear over and over again is that since Facebook changed their targeting system to eliminate targeting by ZIP code—likely to move, age, or gender—Facebook advertising is much harder for real estate agents.
Well, yes and no. Yes, it’s no longer as easy as it used to be, but there are still plenty of clever ways to target buyers and sellers on Facebook. Even better, since so many agents think it’s too hard because of the changes, if you stick with it you’ll have a chance to dominate your farm area on Facebook.
What About Done-For-You Facebook Advertising?
Of course, like everything worthwhile, Facebook advertising has a 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?
Well, I can’t answer that question for you, but I can recommend a startup called Generateagentleads.com if you want to try it. They offer exclusive leads, conversion training, and even help qualify leads for you. They also have tons of case studies and testimonials from happy agents.
14 Steps for Running Real Estate Facebook Ads in 2021
1. Conduct a Personal Brand Audit for Professionalism, Authority, and Trust (P.A.T.)
Since Facebook is primarily a visual medium, it’s important that you have your personal branding sorted out before you start spending money on Facebook ads. Ideally, you want to produce ads that not only get you leads, but help project your brand online in order to get, and stay, top of mind with your farm area. Here are a few things you might want to look at before getting started.
While you may never even use your logo on Facebook ads, a professional looking logo on your website and landing page will help you convert more leads. After all, these people don’t know you from a bar of soap so you’re going to prove your professional cred right away. Need a quick refresher on professional real estate logos? Check out our in-depth article on great logos here.
You also don’t technically need a great website to advertise on Facebook, but it will make it much, much, easier to get leads. It will also help prove to your leads that you’re an actual professional they can trust. While a decent website might not sink you, a crummy website will. If you don’t already have a website, check out our guide to real estate websites here for options starting at just $50 per month. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to build your own WordPress website, check out our step-by-step guide here.
If you want to skip a few steps and just get started generating leads, Real Geeks offers gorgeous and affordable IDX websites with a built-in Facebook Marketing Tool and prebuilt landing pages like automated home valuations to snag seller leads. Click below to learn more.
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! Need some help? Check out our guide to real estate agent headshots here.
2. Figure Out What Kind 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 out. Try and come up with numbers if possible. How many more buyer or seller leads do you need to hit your financial targets?
3. Set Aside Part of Your Lead Generation Budget for Facebook
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 do this is to figure out how much you make per closed deal, and then divide that by the percentage of cold leads you generally turn into warm leads, and your closing ratio for those leads.
For example, let’s say you generally sell homes worth $500,000 and have a standard split. That means you gross around $7500 per deal. Now, let’s say you convert 5% of the leads you talk to into clients, and close 20% of them. So out of two hundred cold leads, that leaves you with 10 clients, and you generally close two of out of 10 clients you work with. That means if you spend $37 per lead, you’ll just breakeven. If you spend $20 per lead on the other hand, you’re looking at a profit of $3500.
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 general business information as well as on-brand imagery, your logo, and a headshot.
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 which are 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 offers 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.
6. Set the Campaign Objective
Facebook offers several campaign objectives including Traffic, Engagement, App Installs, Video Views, and Lead Generation. Since Facebook recently changed its anti-discrimination rules, real estate agents can only select one campaign, called a “Special Ad Category.”
For now, set the campaign objective under awareness to “Reach,” and then choose “Traffic” as your objective.
This means Facebook will send as much traffic as possible to your ad within the criteria we set next.
7. Set Your Ad 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 certain 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 is generating leads at a good price per lead!
8. Set Your Campaign Bid Strategy
Campaign bid strategies can get a little bit complicated and require constant attention, so to start out we highly recommend you only choose the “lowest cost” bid strategy. This means Facebook will bid on your behalf to get the lowest possible cost.
9. 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.
Here’s how to create an audience on Facebook:
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. In order to target your own 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 and 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. In fact, 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 in the near future. 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 big life change that might include a move. Things like interest in infant supplies and toys, home loans, bridal registries, relocation, or more. Since your options are fairly limited here, it makes more sense to just browse for interests and try to 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 who you already have a connection with. That would include people who like your page, responded to an event, or visited your website.
10. Choose Your Placements
Here’s where Facebook allows you to pick where your ads are displayed. You can choose to have your ads displayed on Facebook or Instagram, or both. If you’re in doubt as to where your audience is, just choose automatic.
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 what your potential for daily reach and link clicks is. 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 tray and widen your audience.
12. Choose an Ad Format
Okay, 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 images for you audience to scroll through, you only have one image or video to grab their attention.
Collections are generally 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 convince someone on Facebook to stop scrolling and click on your ad? In order to get you started, here are a few examples of effective Facebook ad strategies and how to build them.
Facebook Real Estate Ad Types That Generate Leads
A lead ad is where you offer your lead something in return for their contact information. For example, you might offer a first-time homebuyer’s guide, a list of foreclosures, a list of off-market properties, a first-time seller’s guide, a home valuation, or any other content that you think a buyer or seller might consider swapping their contact information for.
To create a lead ad, you first need to select “Lead Generation” instead of “traffic” as your campaign objective. Then you will be given the option of creating an ad that has a button they click on to add their contact information. Once you have their email, you can then send them the promised content along with an offer for a personal consultation.
Traffic ads on the other hand just encourage your lead to click over to your website. Traffic ads might offer access to a list of cheap homes on your IDX website. It is then up to you to figure out a way to get their contact information once they’re on your site.
Another great way to generate leads with Facebook ads is to offer them something tangible in return for their contact information. For example, you could offer them a free drone video, free home valuation, free virtual staging, or some kind of listing guarantee for their home, e.g., “I’ll sell your home in 60 days or I’ll sell it for free.”
Personal Pitch Ads
Sometimes, you can have great results with a straightforward pitch for your services. This primarily works with buyers, but can also sometimes get sellers to click. Have you won any awards? Do you have perfect reviews on Zillow or Yelp? This is where having a great brand to pitch can be helpful.
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 actually create it. Generally speaking, 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 actually create 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. In order 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? (WIIFM) Why should I click on your ad? Pretty graphic design or clever language generally 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 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 they click on your ad. Your landing page might just ask them for contact information, or it might be a certain 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 actually 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 before you get started, check out our in-depth guide to real estate landing pages here.
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 Engaging Real Estate Facebook Ads From Agents, Teams & Brokerages
Here’s a classic example of a new listing ad that has great, eye-catching design, beautiful imagery, and short, to-the-point copy that emphasizes the positive aspects of the home, and builds a 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.
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 is your home worth” they’re asking “what is your home REALLY worth.” This reminds leads that many home valuation sources like Zillow’s Zestimate are far from accurate.
Here’s another great listing ad that relies on a great picture of an extremely photogenic home to draw people in.
Here’s a video ad that starts out with lush drone videos that people can’t resist these days. The video itself 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 advertise an entire city and associate it with your brand.
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.
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.
Here’s a classic branding ad that has a cool video introducing the agent. The brightly colored background really 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.