01The Facebook Ad for Real Estate - Planning Your Ad
In getting ready to write this article, I set up two Facebook ads and moved some budget from Google Adwords to Facebook to see if Facebook would perform better for me than Adwords. As far as getting business from the ads, it's only been three weeks in a very slow market, so I can't point to any. But, I can show you why I think this is going to be where I'll put my PPC money for a while. In fact, I've paused my Adwords campaign to move the budget completely to Facebook.
How Facebook Ads are Presented
In the image, you can see a cut from my Facebook page. As "real estate" is mentioned in my profile information, I see many ads for real estate. They show up on the right side of the screen, and always at least get a glance. The use of an image is efficient, and the proper picture will get my attention, at least maybe getting me to read the ad headline. A good headline would then cause me to read the ad body text. How did these particular ads show up for me, and not ads about insurance or cooking?
Targeting the Best Prospects with Facebook Ads
The greatest value so far in using Facebook ads for my real estate marketing is the ability to fine-tune the ad to reach the best prospects. And, it's not just one ad, as a campaign can contain several, each targeted to a different audience if you like. An example would be an ad to reach sellers and get listings, and another for buyers. The image and text for each would, of course, focus on the mission of that ad. But, the advertiser can also really drill down to the very best prospects by area, age, keywords, or other demographic information.
An example in my ski area and vacation home market is setting the ad up to run only when a Facebook user has the word "ski" and my town's name somewhere in their profile information. I was able to narrow the presentation focus of my ad from 300 million Facebook users down to under 30,000. It's more efficient use of my budget. Every market is different, but there are ways to narrow the group that sees your ad to those most likely to become a customer in the future.
Plan Your Facebook Ads for Each Real Estate Marketing Goal
Before you go to the ad layout area, have your ad plan in place. Decide on the goal of each ad, who the target is, and what the ad should say in the space you'll have. Also, take a decision on an image to go with the ad. Though there's no experience information right now to verify it, I believe that an area image, one that's highly recognizable, will work far better than your picture. If someone's interested in the Denver area, perhaps a photo of the mountains to the west or the city skyline. It's meant to catch their eye. Like all advertising, a catchy headline is a must. Once you have your plan in place, you can set up an ad campaign in minutes.
Let's take the next step and go to Facebook and do a sample ad to see how it works.
02The Facebook Real Estate Ad - Headline, Text and Image
The first step in setting up your Facebook real estate ad is to specify your ad headline or title text, the ad body text, and upload an image. In this tutorial image you see that it's an easy process, and the image is uploaded from the user's hard drive. As discussed in the previous step, this image is important. Though the ad on my page in that last step showed the picture of a person, that's not what I think should be done in a good real estate ad. A skyline or other prominent and highly recognized place would be a better choice. We're selling real estate, a place, so grabbing the attention of the Facebook user with a strong image of something in the area is the goal.
The URL You Take Them To
Of course, we're going to take them somewhere when they click on the ad. It would probably be your website or blog, but there's also a link there to take them to your Facebook Fan Page if you have one. If you're building different ads for sellers and buyers, you might want to create web pages for each, with bullets and titles that address the hot buttons of each. This is usually a better approach than taking everyone to your home page, but your choice.
The Real Estate Facebook Ad Headline
You only get 25 characters for the title, so spend some time on coming up with one that will get their attention and make them want to read the rest of the ad. Have two or three versions, and you can rotate them to test each by editing your ad later. We're working the Facebook user through a process, and we only have a few seconds in which to do it. An eye-catching area photo brings them to the right side of the screen, the ad headline gets their interest, and the ad text makes them want to click to see more.
The Text of Your Facebook Real Estate Ad
Here we have 135 characters, so we need to make them a sales pitch to get that click. If our buyer-targeted ad had a headline like "Denver-Hot Buyers Market," we could then make some strong statement in the ad about how buyers are "naming their price" when buying homes in Denver. Use your ingenuity and knowledge of other ads that have worked for you on the web and elsewhere. Re-write several times to make the most of your 135 character space.
We've already talked about the image, so upload that as the last item in this step. Now, go to the next step and we'll see how to take advantage of Facebook's amazing ad targeting for our real estate ad.
03The Facebook Real Estate Ad Targeting Process - Step 1
As there are a number of fields of information that allow us to precisely target which Facebook users will see our real estate ad, we're breaking this screen into two steps. Next to our ad itself, these two steps are critically important, as we'll be telling Facebook to present our real estate ads to a select group of users, and we can get really focused if we want to. Let's look at each item on this portion of the screen as shown in the image.
Location of User
Many real estate professionals will want to keep this item as wide an audience as possible. However, your market, and the buyers and sellers you work with, may dictate narrowing the field here a bit. If you tend to get the bulk of your buyers from a neighboring state, you may want to create an ad targeted to Facebook users in that state. For sellers, you can get right down to the city. If you do, you'll be presented with another choice of mileage from the city center. It's hard to get much more focused than this. For sellers and listings, those are the people with the homes you'll be listing, so why show the ad to someone a thousand miles away. The exception would be a vacation or resort home market, where your owner-sellers are living elsewhere.
Age, Birthday & Sex
Here you can rule out teenagers and younger with the starting age. Other than that, it will depend on your market and the areas you serve. You might want to get a little tighter. As for birthday, I can't think of anything of value there. Now the gender/sex could be quite valuable. A significant percentage of home buyers are single females. If you want to target an ad to that group, you can create the right headline and body text, then make sure that only females see it.
Keywords can be a major targeting factor if it fits your goals. In my case, a ski area vacation home market, it was a slam dunk to put the word "ski" here, as well as my town's name. As mentioned in the first step of this tutorial, I managed to target my ad to under 30,000 users who mentioned either my town name or "ski" in their profile information. If you work with investors, "real estate investor" can really tighten up on who sees the ad. No clicks, no pay, so why not try it, particularly with a specified area?
Generally, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to limit your prospects this way. An exception might be in a college town, and you're a specialist in working with rentals or sales to visiting or relocating professors. That's a pretty narrow group, but there may be other reasons you'd like to specify an education level.
That's it for the first half of the targeting page, so go to the next step for more Facebook real estate ad targeting fields.
04The Facebook Real Estate Ad Targeting Process - Step 2
We've completed the first half of the Facebook real estate ad targeting process, but we can fine tune our ad presentation process even more. Here are the remaining selections available.
Relationship, Interested In & Languages
If the focus is on families, the relationship field could be important. Conversely, if single college students or young professionals buying lofts are the target, then this field might come in handy as well. I can't see any use for "Interested In" for our purposes. If other marketing you do is focused on prospects who speak a different language, then the Language field might be perfect.
Connections & Friends of Connections
As Facebook develops, these fields may provide great value. Even now, if there is a group out there with a lot of connections, and the group relates to the area and real estate, you might want to zero in on those connected and their friends. It might be great right now in a college town to connect to groups associated with the institution.
Our Target Prospect Group Number
Now, looking at the number at the bottom, we see that we've narrowed our prospect group to 545,660, those within 50 miles of Denver, and age 35 and over. If we go back up and change criteria, or add new ones, this number could get larger or smaller. It started at more than 350 million, so you can see the value in this targeting power.
Go to the next step to set up our ad campaign and budget.
05Facebook Real Estate Ads Campaign and Pricing
Once our ad is designed and ready, and we've set up our targeting to reach only the very best prospects for that ad, we can change, or in this case, set up our campaign and budget. If more than one ad is in a campaign, the budget covers them all as a group, not a budget for each.
Campaign Setup and Run Days
We're setting up our first ad, thus our first campaign, so we give the campaign a name. Then we tell Facebook the maximum we want to spend each day. You can set this as low as $1 to run a test, but be sure that it's not set to less than the cost of one click, or your reports will be blank. Now tell Facebook if there are certain days you want the ad to run, or just to run it continuously. Based on the number of expected ad presentations, Facebook will have a suggested number in the daily budget box. We'll see in the next item why $50 is there.
CPC or CPM and the Bid
Based on the fact that there are more than 500,000 people who'll see our ad, Facebook is showing us that our suggested bid is $0.71/click, and we can expect about 71 clicks/day. There's your $50. If that's outside our desired budget, we will see far fewer clicks when we change the daily budget number. And, from experience, you'll probably not be paying the $0.71, but some number a little lower.
At this point, you may want to go back up the screen and tighten your criteria a little, rather than having your ad quit running early in the day because you've run out of budget. You can always loosen the criteria later if you're not getting the clicks you want.
That's it for setting up a Facebook Real Estate Ad Campaign. It's easy and quick, so why not give it a try?