Real Estate’s 10-Min Guide to Facebook Advertising
Generating real estate leads can be stressful. You (and many others) have spent countless hours trying different marketing ideas and advertising campaigns, but you’re not seeing the results you want. You’re left wondering, “Why? How is Joe down the road doing this successfully and not me? Why isn’t this easier?”
Today, we’re going to dive into Facebook advertising … specifically for real estate professionals. Real estate flyers and direct mailers seem a lot easier today, in comparison to digital advertising. Just a few years ago, the craze was all about Google AdWords and SEO. And now there’s social media.
But it’s not as hard as it seems. Facebook has done a good job building a platform that’s intuitive to use. So, I’m going to give you a hands-on tutorial.
Getting Started with Facebook Advertising
Let’s start with expectations. Every real estate agent and broker (and you, of course) wants to know, “Are Facebook ads effective?” Answer is: yes. Sometimes, you can spend as little as $5 per day and see significant results. You just need to understand the type of lead you’re attracting.
Facebook advertising is different than Google AdWords and other marketing campaigns. With AdWords, you’re fulfilling demand. When someone searches San Diego homes for sale, your ad is placed to fulfill that search demand, i.e. an eager homebuyer looking for homes.
With Facebook, you’re creating demand. This means you’re convincing someone to look at homes for sale when they’re not actively looking (at the moment). This type of lead will most likely require more follow-up communication and nurturing.
What results will you see? Here are some ballpark numbers we’ve seen from real estate teams — keep in mind, it’s dependent on the MLS market and on economic forces (hence the range).
- ~11x return on ad spend
- ~55% of leads engage in two-way communication with an agent
- ~80% of leads had at least one form of valid contact information
Remember, these statistics will vary by market, season, economy, etc. There are market forces to calculate. But let’s say you spent $100 on Facebook advertising for the week. You generated 40 leads. Out of those 40 leads, 18 of them returned your email/text/call. From there, you found 2 people who are interested in buying a house today. In a few weeks, they both close on a house with an average price point of $300,000. Your commission from both properties is $18,000 (I know agents have to further split this; it’s an example). That’s a 180% return on investment (ROI). Of course, this is an example and more of a reference point, but you can see the potential.
Pros and Cons of Facebook Advertising
Advertising on Facebook and setting aside budget for social media is a business decision. You need to weigh it against other choices. Some real estate agents love it; others do not — so, here’s a breakdown of Facebook’s pros and cons.
- Great channel for additional traffic/leads; see immediate influx of visitors
- Complete control over your daily budget and maximum cost-per-click
- Niche targeting options, such as likes/interests, cities, demographics, etc
- CPC is relatively cheap
- You can use images and videos within your ads
- You reach people early in the “buying cycle,” meaning a longer nurturing period for homebuyers and sellers
- Depending on your targeting, the leads you attract can be irrelevant at times (i.e. homebuyers from a town you don’t service)
If you’re new to Facebook advertising, my suggestion is to test it for at least 3 months. See what results you get back, do your damndest nurturing those leads, and measure the ROI. If you need help calculating conversion rates, this blog post will help you.
Not in the mood for handling advertising? BoomTown will do it for you.
Before We Begin …
You’ll need a Facebook business page. If you haven’t created one already, we have a guide for that. Check out this page and watch the video below.
Step-by-Step Guide to Facebook Ads
To access your Facebook ads dashboard, go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager or click the dropdown arrow in the top-right corner of the navigation bar (as seen in the image below). Click “Manage Ads” from the menu drop-down.
Once you’ve arrived at your Facebook ads dashboard, get familiar with the options and information at your disposal. See the image below for a simple knowledge guide:
1Create a Campaign
For the first step, let’s create a campaign. You should see a button labeled “Create Campaign” on the left side of your dashboard. Click it.
You’ll then be directed to a page that looks like this:
Choose a name for your campaign, then hit “conversions” as your marketing objective. This tells Facebook how to measure and allocate your ad spend. You want Facebook to prioritize conversions, since you’ll be driving people to real estate listings with hopes of capturing their contact information. You’ll then be prompted to click “Create Ad.”
2Fill Out Campaign Details
You’ll be prompted to create a Facebook Pixel. Just follow the prompts. Once that is done, you can re-use it every time you want to create a new ad. Now, fill out the Audience, Placements, and Budget & Schedule.
If you want your ads to be hyper-tailored to a target audience, you can create a custom audience. But for the majority of real estate professionals, they just use the “locations” feature. Select the location you want the ads to display in and choose the radius (in mileage). My suggestion is to aim below 25 miles … any distance you’re willing to drive.
You can also select what age range you want to target and if they’re a specific gender you want to advertise to. It’s up to you on how you want to target those areas.
For Placements, leave it as “Automatic Placements.” Facebook is really good at knowing who to show your ads to; trust them. Next set your budget and timeline in the Budget & Schedule section. Then hit “continue.”
3Create a New Ad
The next screen is where you’ll create the actual Facebook ad. The descriptions for the ad types are pretty straightforward. Most people roll with “single image” when advertising a listing.
Choose an image. Dimensions are 1200×628. If you’re advertising a particular listing, use one of the property’s photos from your MLS. It should be a listing you are representing. (If you want to get creative, you can also create your own graphics. Canva is a good tool for that.)
Under “Page & Links” fill out which Facebook page you want the ad to represent (and Instagram account, if you have one). Fill out the url address you want the ad to go to. Then write your headline, text, and description.
For the CTA, I suggest leaving it as “Learn More.” It doesn’t frighten people as much as “Sign Up” or “Contact Us.” (Remember, you’re creating demand. This lead will be in the early stages of house hunting.) You should be able to see a preview of the ad on the right side of your screen.
If you want to practice creating different ads, Facebook has a great tool called the Creative Hub for showing you what they’ll look like.
Lastly, place your order and let the ads do their work. If you want to check on them, try not to find the actual ad and click on. You’ll just drive up your own costs. Instead, monitor its performance from your “Ads Manager” dashboard.
If you want to learn more about Facebook advertising, check out their Ads Guide and visit their Creative Hub. When writing your ad copy, remember to keep it concise and straight to the point. Use descriptive adjectives, but don’t over-fluff it. Stephen King would be disappointed.
If you don’t see the results you want, test out new versions. Change up the ad copy or use a different image. Advertising is all about testing until you find what works. Perseverance is key. If you have questions or thoughts, feel free to let me know on BoomTown’s Facebook page.