When it comes to real estate, Facebook ads can truly be one of your most trusted allies. Most real estate agents post on social media out of a fear of missing out but are not fully leveraging the power of the platform.
At SH1FT, we strive on Facebook ads and results and have had strong results with our Real Estate client over the past few years. Most real estate companies and agents think they just have to make a simple post on Facebook with a few hashtags to generate results for their clients.
Facebook ads are much more complex than just making a post. You have to do your research, know which audience to target and understand the plethora of options you have when launching a campaign. So many things are at play that unless you have some form of expertise, you are probably not getting the best results possible.
At SH1FT, we are constantly refining our Facebook ads for real estate strategy by leveraging new Facebook ads features, researching which ad creative works best, refining our methods to increase budgets and keep high returns and so on. It’s why we always recommend our real estate clients to reach out if they want to know if they could generate better results. We’re honest and only work with clients with which we know we can deliver.
Just to give you an idea of all the factors that go into crafting a great Facebook ads campaign here are a few:
- Leveraging ad creative that fits in all placements (Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Audience Network, etc.)
- A/B testing ad copies, call-to-actions, link descriptions and so on.
- Determining the right ad budget to generate results
- Refine the best audiences and dynamically change based on results
- Making sure the landing page where people are brought converts there (CRO agency)
- Dynamic creative testing
- Choosing the right ad format: carousel, instant experience, image ads or video ads.
What you’ll learn today…
When it comes to Real Estate, it’s not a surprise that Facebook ads come up often in conversations. It’s one of the most cost and time-effective manner to generate leads other than Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.
Facebook marketing represents a huge opportunity for real estate brokers and agents by offering a cost-effective alternative to expensive portal leads from Zillow Group sites Zillow and Trulia, and realtor.com.
At SH1FT, we not only take care of our client’s Facebook ads but we also offer our clients the ability to use us as a consulting company. Our goal is to help clients from all sizes leverage our expertise to generate better results. They can spend $500/month to $500,000/month.
By being able to see the data from all our clients, we can truly help our clients generate better results with what we call our “Facebook advertising brain”. From all this ad spend from our clients on Facebook ads every month, we are able to know exactly what is working right now with Facebook ads. We allow our clients to not get confused and being able to focus on what’s working and what’s not working.
We help our Facebook ads clients focus on the following:
- Choosing the right campaign objective
- Selecting an accurate budget for your goal (including CBO strategies)
- Which parameters to set when launching your campaign based on your goal
- Careful audience selection for acquisition audiences and retargeting (custom and lookalike audiences included)
- Accurately reading the data to draw relevant conclusions
- Best ad creatives working well right now (including dynamic creative)
- Pixel installation and Auto-Advanced Matching)
- Account protection (Facebook ad policy and not getting banned)
This article will give you 15 tips which we think are the most impactful to improve the results of your Facebook ads for real estate. Our goal is to leave with you with improved results after applying our recommendations to make you want to see what our advice can do.
If you are ready, let’s get your Facebook ads for Real Estate better than they were yesterday!
1. Conversions & Clicks
If you want to create a strong Facebook ad for real estate, it’s really important to have a goal in mind. Most beginners will just boost their Facebook or run an Instagram promotion without a goal in mind.
If you want to learn more about Instagram promotion, I recommend our article “How To Run An Instagram Promotion & What Can I Expect?“
The best goal to have when you run a Facebook ad is your end goal. If you want to generate leads, then you should optimize for leads. If you want to get website visits, you should optimize for website visits.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you have a new Facebook ads account, you might want to start with clicks because you need a minimum of 35 goal events to optimize per week. You’re more likely to get 35 clicks than 35 leads since you’ll always get more clicks than leads.
Since most real estate brokers and real estate agents want to generate more leads, they should start with Facebook ads clicks and leads. If they want to generate visibility, they could optimize for awareness.
2. Lead follow-up system
Generating Facebook ads leads without using CRM is a waste of money. Having a smart follow-up system integrated inside your CRM is also essential if you want your Facebook ads for real estate results to blow up.
We recommend our clients to have a process or a customer journey in place to better capture the leads and follow up with them:
- Strong optimized website for conversions
- An efficient way to capture leads
- Integration with a CRM that keeps the relevant information of your prospects in an organized way
- Follow up system to transform your prospects into customers
By putting in place the following strategy, you’ll save tons of money from your real estate Facebook ads journey. Your goal is to reduce any gap in your sales cycle to make sure the money spent on those leads is well transformed into a strong return on investment for your Facebook ads.
If you are looking for help with your Facebook ads, be sure to check out the Facebook ads agency page.
We usually recommend Hubspot because it allows for a simple and effective lead follow up system, lead capture forms and a lot of insights to improve your system.
3. Large Facebook ads audience
When it comes to audience size and Facebook ads for real estate, we always recommend to have a broad audience. Why? First of all, Facebook is really good at finding the right people at the best price for your objective in a large pool of data. Second, if you want to spend on your Facebook ads for a certain amount of time then you need to have an audience large enough.
You might have heard that the best audiences on Facebook are the most specific ones but the better Facebook’s machine learning becomes the less that’s true. In fact, the more time goes, the better large audiences perform in terms of Facebook ads.
On rare occasions, you’ll see that targeting a narrow audience yields better results than large audiences. This might be true for retargeting the people who have visited your website but didn’t become your leads yet. This audience might be small but it’s one of the most relevant ones you can use.
Another great example would be retargeting your past clients, the list might not be in the millions but this audience is probably the most relevant one to target on Facebook. You could post an ad for a new promotion you have or even just to say “Thank You”.
4. Leverage Facebook lookalikes
You can’t talk about targeting without talking about traffic temperature. Traffic temperature is a description of how well your customers know your brand. If someone doesn’t know the existence of your brand, they are considered cold. If someone knows the existence of your brand, they are likely considered warm.
Your goal with Facebook ads is to map out your sales cycle with the Facebook audiences. Here is how it should look like for Facebook ads for real estate:
- Cold: interest targeting, saved audiences, demographics targeting.
- Lukewarm: Facebook engagement, Instagram engagement
- Warm: website visits.
- Hot: customers.
Most of you will start at the cold level, so it’s important you start to get to know all the options you have including income level, age ranges, marital status, education level and of course geographic location.
If you want to take your location-targeting Facebook ads skills to another level, I recommend our article called “Facebook’s Advanced Location Targeting“.
When it comes to Facebook ads targeting real estate, we always recommend starting your ads by targeting your location and leaving the age range to 25-65+. This usually creates a large enough audience to start seeing results for your Facebook ads.
At SH1FT, our strategy is always to go broad and then see where our ads are performing well to adapt our audience later. In our experience, we never know which audience will relate to our real estate Facebook ads.
5. Use location-targeting
Depending on what your real estate ads goal is, we always recommend testing multiple locations if possible. Most often, we generally don’t have a choice with real estate Facebook ads because we are promoting a house in a certain area.
You have to understand that Facebook’s machine learning is strong enough to show your ads to the right people in a large pool of people based on your objective. It’s why we always strive to focus on a specific location targeting rather than a large one when it comes to real estate.
In general, Facebook will show your ads to the main states or provinces of your country. In our experience, if we were to create a campaign for the entire US or Canada then Facebook would show our ads to states like New York, California, Texas and Florida.
It’s why at SH1FT we always choose to segment our audiences based on location to make sure we are able to cast a wider net to generate new prospects. Of course, if our client’s goal is to generate leads at the cheapest cost that is a different story.
The conclusion? Always strive to go precise with your location targeting. If you want to have the cheapest results based on your objective, then you can also go wide and let Facebook optimize for you.
6. Audience to ad creative match
Most would find this to be obvious, but make sure you are targeting an audience that cares about what you are selling. Target the right location for the house you are selling for example. Another example would be to target people within a certain minimum income range if you are selling a quite expensive home.
You should also be careful with demographics targeting. A five-bedroom room will likely not be sold to someone under 30. It’s why you should probably put the minimum age of your targeting to be above 30 and maybe even make sure the family has one or two kids.
You’ll also want to do the same if you are selling a nice condo downtown with 2 bedrooms by targeting people that are younger maybe in the 25+ age range.
7. Consistent CBO spending
Do you know what Facebook CBO means? It stands for Campaign Budget Optimization which is about setting your budget at the campaign level rather than the ad set level.
A few years ago, when you wanted to start a real estate Facebook ads campaign, you needed to set the budget of every ad set individually. Not only was this long, but if an ad set was giving you worst results than another, you would spend the same amount on each.
Facebook ads CBO lets Facebook optimize for you in real-time. It means that the campaign that wasn’t performing as much has now a smaller budget. It’s even part of Facebook’s new Power 5.
If you want to learn more about Facebook Power 5, I recommend reading our article “How To Improve Your Ad Performance Using Facebook Power 5“.
The advantage of using a CBO campaign is that you can constantly create new ad sets which would make you control your budget and spend consistently. It’s very important to spend consistently on Facebook ads because it helps you gather data and your results are likely to improve over time. You might also realize that a certain month, your results are amazing and want to ramp up your ad spend.
At SH1FT, we recommend a minimum budget of $500 per month but we generally don’t work with clients who aren’t willing to spend at least $1,500 per month on Facebook ads. By having a big enough budget, you make sure that you don’t miss out on opportunities while generating a good return on investment.
Although every market is different, based on the large pool of data we’ve accumulated in the past few years, for a budget of $500, you should be able to generate around 60 leads.
In our experience, real estate leads generally have a really high return so they are worth every penny spent on advertising. Our clients generally start at $500 in the budget but rapidly increase their budget seeing the amazing results of Facebook ads for real estate.
8. About evergreen real estate Facebook ads
We usually recommend our clients to run a mix of evergreen Facebook ads and timely promotions. In real estate, most promotions are timely in the sense that you sell a home and once it’s sold you move on but having evergreen ads is essential.
You could run a Facebook ad with a dynamic carousel with your latest houses that need to sell in certain regions. If you want to learn more about Facebook Dynamic Ads, I recommend our article “What Are The Benefits Of Dynamic Product Ads“.
Don’t forget that you can also run promotions that last 7 to 14 days which would be ad sets with a time limit. The only problem with Facebook ads CBO is that running promotions along other better performing ads might make your new ads end up with zero money spent on them.
Our suggestion is to have an evergreen Facebook ads for real estate campaign and another one for promotions where you have ads turned on and turned off constantly.
9. Turn on Automatic placements
Although most old school Facebook advertisers were recommending you choose only one placement per ad set, it’s not the case anymore. Since Facebook’s Power 5 update, Facebook’s machine learning has done wonders to optimize in real-time the results of your Facebook ads.
In fact, it’s fair to say that nowadays, the more options you leave to Facebook the better your results are. By letting Facebook choose the placements for you, you will be able to always get the cheapest cost per acquisition you can have for your real estate Facebook ads.
You’ll be surprised how you’ll make sales from placements you never would have targeted in the first place just because you turned on Automatic Placements.
How do you turn on Facebook Automatic Placements? Normally, every ad set has this feature set up as default but you’ll see it under placements where you’ll have the option to choose manual and automatic.
Hot tip ?️: make sure you edit how your ad looks on every placement it appears on. When creating your Facebook ad, you can check how your ad looks on certain placements and adjust how you choose to crop your image or video.
10. Strong real estate Facebook ad design
When it comes to Facebook ads design, it’s very important to make sure your message is short & clear so that your target market feels compelled to follow through. Remember, there are thousands of new Facebook posts and ads everyday and you are competing with them.
We recommend spending more time focusing on crafting a strong Facebook image or video ad. Your visual is the most important factor when it comes to delivering results with Facebook parts. Your ad won’t bring sales by itself, your website & your offer also have to be highly attractive.
If you want to level up your Facebook ad design skills, I highly recommend our article “27 Facebook Ad Design Hacks (2020)“.
Another important thing to keep in mind for your Facebook ad visual is the 20% text ratio. You can use the Facebook text overlay tool to make sure you respect the rule yourself. If you don’t respect it, your Facebook ad will run but the results might not be as expected.
Here are a few additional recommendations:
- Select carefully your call-to-action
- Test multiple ad formats such as images, videos, collections and carousel
- Keep your ad copy short & straight to the point
- A/B test your visual first and then other parts such as the Facebook ad copy
11. No links or above the fold
When it comes to Facebook ads for real estate, we always recommend to only put a link inside the call-to-action like the ad above. People expect the link to be there so no need to confuse them with a link inside the Facebook ad copy.
If you do want to add a link above your Facebook ad copy, make sure you add it close to the first line because Facebook adds a “see more” link for a text that appears below the fold.
12. Give them a taste
You should see your Facebook ad as an entre. If you give your customers all the information they need from the Facebook ad, they won’t click on your Facebook ad and you won’t be able to gather their precious information to follow up on them.
Your Facebook ad should have enough information and details to make people want to click, comment or share but still have some important sections left out so that they need to ask you more questions. You should let people filter the basic information such as the number of beds and baths, the neighbourhood and certain photos.
Remember that it’s not always good to have a large volume of clicks if they aren’t relevant. Someone who has enough information will want to gather more information but by omitting information you also risk attracting a lot of people who will never be interested. Better have fewer targeted clicks than tons of irrelevant clicks.
One of the best way to do this is to show your top picture, give out basic details about the real estate property but omit the price and additional pictures.
Hot tip ?️: leads don’t always arise on websites. A lot of people comment on your Facebook ad or post and it’s important to answer those comments and follow-through. They can account for up to 20% of your lead generation.
13. Keep the ad to landing page congruency
When it comes to creating a real estate listing Facebook ads campaign, it’s really important to work on the ad creative and the landing page design together. To increase the conversion rate, we recommend at SH1FT to reduce the friction between the ad and the landing page. It’s we call the congruency.
When people click on a real estate Facebook ad, they expect to see what they’ve seen on the Facebook ad. By showing them exactly the visual found in the Facebook ad, you greatly improve your chances of success.
If you want to learn more about landing page design, I highly recommend our article “How To Create Landing Pages That Convert“. And if you need any help with your landing page, check out our landing page agency to get a proposal.
For example, if advertisers target sellers in their ad with a specific property, the linked webpage should include an image of that property and prompt homeowners to check their home value.
You can even go as deep as matching the headline and the description to your landing page as this should greatly improve your Facebook ads results. The goal is to really create a frictionless experience for the user. He sees something he likes, wants to learn more and sees exactly what he liked in the first place.
We usually recommend picking your best picture or test multiple Facebook ads with multiple landing pages. If there are too many, you can either only select a few ideas or just test your Facebook ad before matching the best one with your landing page design.
14. Data is king ? : learn to leverage it
The pure beauty of Facebook ads is this enormous access to data. It enables Facebook advertisers to optimize their ads constantly by analyzing their best performing ads: cutting the bad performers and keeping only the best.
In order to truly leverage Facebook ads, you need to know where and how to leverage the data you receive to better optimize your ads over time. In fact, we believe at SH1FT that launching your ads is only the tip of the iceberg.
There are two main ways to access your data. You can go inside your Facebook Insights or within the Facebook ads manager. Let’s explore the following two to draw better conclusions.
Facebook Insights provide the following information about your latest posts:
- Post in question
- Reach: if you want to learn more about Facebook reach, I recommend our article “Facebook Reach in 2020: How many people see your posts?“
- Engagement by segmenting post clicks and reactions, comments & shares
- Results of your boost
From this information, you can find which posts and audience worked best in order to try to replicate your past success. Be careful to not draw conclusions based on too little data, but if you see a trending line across multiple posts, you might have found something important.
To read data more effectively, we recommend that you filter your top posts based on engagement and try to find 2-3 things that seem to have made them work well. Sometimes, you won’t find what it is that made them successful. You have to create hypothesis that you test afterward.
If you want to read data from the Facebook ads manager, it can get very complicated because you have access to so much more data. It’s why I urge you to take a look at our article “How To Leverage The Facebook Ads Manager: A Guide For Starters“. It’s one of the most complete guides you’ll find on the Internet (I very rarely brag).
15. Real estate Facebook ads: innovation & novelty
We understand the concept of sticking to what works because it’s also a sound strategy. Most of our clients want us to focus around 80% of our efforts on what we know is working but also 20% of innovative and novel Facebook ads campaign from our ideas and research.
The real estate industry should do the same when it comes to innovating and creating novel types of Facebook ads. Who knows, you might end up finding an ad that works twice as good as your other Facebook ad.
For instance, adding an emoji in your ad copy might improve the results of your Facebook ad campaigns, BUT you wouldn’t know that unless you test it. Creative tests on Facebook are extremely important as you never know if you are close to insane results.
For instance, we decided to target “social activists” with our Facebook ad (inside our TryTaste case study) for one of our client and it decreased our cost per conversion by 4.
It’s also important to be creative because what used to work eventually stops working with Facebook ads. People who were getting results 6 months ago, don’t know how to get results anymore because it’s changing so fast. By testing new creatives all the time, you are making sure that you’ll never see a dip.
Here are a few tips to A/B test new Facebook ads efficiently for real estate:
- Make sure you have enough data to conclude your tests
- Focus on testing new creatives
- Try new ways of contact: answering comments, messages, landing pages, etc.
- Leverage your own data to gain new ideas
- Don’t change too many variables at once else you won’t know what made your ad work or not
- Cut your losses fast if the results were good and then became bad
- Map out your tests to be able to track them and their results