Video duration: 10min 9sec
The power of Facebook is hard to ignore. Facebook generally knows what we want to buy before we know we need it. It also allows businesses to take advantage of the third party data that Facebook buys and trades, helping you to hyper-target audiences with your posts based on that data.
Facebook ads give real estate agents a whole new way to market property online and as digital advertising costs increase, local newspapers shut down and competing for attention becomes even harder, more agents are turning to the platform than ever before – and for good reason.
Done right, Facebook ads can drive significant traffic to your website at a very low cost and in many cases it can drive more buyer leads than any other channel – at a much lower cost.
Done wrong, and you can easily blow your dough.
Why you should care about Facebook Advertising for your listings
The amount of information that Facebook, and third-party data providers, has on each and every one of us would likely scare some people.
As a marketer, if this scares you, you’re probably not cut out for marketing online at all. Don’t be ashamed about using these tools. It should excite you that we live in a time where you have access to the same advertising tools that were traditionally only available to big business.
As a real estate agent, it’s a huge advantage if you know how to leverage this data correctly for the purposes of advertising property to interested buyers.
Unlike a search engine (i.e. the major property portals) whereby you wait for buyers to come looking for a property, you can now take listings to buyers before they go looking for their next home. Not only that, you can create multiple ads, very quickly, for the same property but targeting different buyer groups i.e. first home buyers, investors, retirees and so on.
While it could be said you’re targeting a more ‘passive buyer’ with Facebook ads, you might also be targeting people who haven’t even started looking on the portals yet. Not to mention the possibility that your audience could include people thinking of selling but aren’t browsing the portals just yet.
Secondly, from the data we’ve collected from running thousands of campaigns on behalf of agents and agencies, the cost to acquire page views – a person looking at the individual listing – can be far less using Facebook Ads. Not only that, all the traffic is coming to your website.
In some cases, we’ve seen agents drive the same level of traffic to the listing on their website compared to their portal ads, for 75% less the cost of a top-level package on the major portals.
With off-market listings becoming more popular in our major cities, Facebook ads provide enormous benefit to sellers who don’t want the outlay of a full-blown campaign or the exposure that a portal ad brings.
Lastly, the amount of traffic that you’re generating to your website can be significant. Just check out this chart below which shows the traffic for an individual agent’s website before and after he started vendor paid Facebook ads for every listing.
Some things to consider
Firstly, I’m not suggesting that you stop using the major property portals, but this certainly does open up a discussion in our industry on where your money, and your clients’ money, is best spent. More importantly, who owns the traffic and the data?
There is a reason why the major property portals have ramped up their efforts to sell their social media advertising packages – they know how much traffic it drives to their website. And the more money you pump into these packages to boost their website traffic, the more they’ll be able to convince more advertisers to spend more money. We are feeding the beast.
Secondly, this article is about Facebook ads, not boosting posts. There is a big difference (check out this video). If you’re only boosting posts to promote your listings, you’re wasting your vendors’ money and your time. Facebook ads are a very different animal and are far more powerful for your property campaigns. But, if you are running Facebook ads and your targeting is not done right, you can certainly waste your vendors’ money, and your time, on this approach too.
Lastly, consider using Facebook ads to ‘test the market’.
We work with numerous agents who regularly run a Facebook ad prior to kicking off a full-blown campaign. By throwing a few hundred dollars at a Facebook ad and applying the appropriate targeting, these agents have, at best, secured a buyer before a major campaign and the spend that goes with it. At worst, they’ve garnered intelligence that can be used in a full campaign spend to refine their messaging.
How to sell it to a vendor
Like anything, you need to understand how Facebook ads work, at least at a fundamental level, before you can sell it to a vendor. Just telling your potential client “Of course! We do Facebook ads”, isn’t enough anymore. Your competitors are armed with audience segment data, targeting options, case studies, and more, to educate the vendor at a much deeper level.
Just like your expertise in all other areas of a marketing campaign, you need to really understand how Facebook ads work – or take a course on how to do it properly.
Secondly, consider running a few Facebook ad campaigns with your own money. The case studies you’ll generate from just a few hundred dollars will give you everything you need to convince a potential vendor that you truly are the expert and the return will be worth the initial investment.
Lastly, you need to consider Facebook ads just like any other form of marketing and advertising. You need to tweak and refine your advertising during the campaign to optimise your results. ‘Set and forget’ is not a strategy.
How much should we spend?
Throughout our work and research, we’ve found agents are typically spending on average $100 – $500 on Facebook Ads per property and the typical campaign timeframe is 14-21 days. Some agents are taking a multi-channel approach and running Facebook ads in addition to their portal campaigns but many are now solely running Facebook ads for a property either to advertise off-market listings or to test the market prior to a major campaign spend.
Overwhelmed? Not sure where to start?
We have a number of instructional videos here on our website which will guide you through setting up effective Facebook ads.
Or better yet, our Facebook Ads Masterclass is an online course that will show you step-by-step what it takes to implement a profitable advertising system through Facebook for your listings as well as vendor lead generation.