How to Get the Best Results from Facebook Ad Campaigns
We're all aware that Facebook Knows Everything About You. If you're on the grid, they have a frightening amount of your data. That's something we've all just made peace with, in the name of baby pictures and cat videos.
However you feel about it, it's the reason Facebook advertising is one of the most cost-effective methods out there. But how do you, as a real estate agent, get the most bang for your Facebook buck? Here are 8 Do's and Don'ts to get the best results from your Facebook ad campaigns.
Do: Use the Website Objective
When it comes to lead-generating opportunities, the objective often labeled Website or Traffic is your best bet. (Facebook renames its Objectives every 5 minutes, but those terms are consistent.) Ads using the Website/Traffic objective will click through to a URL of your choice. This gives you three opportunities to gather leads:
- Form Submissions. The URL you enter should be a landing page on your website with a lead-gathering form. Learn more about the most effective landing pages here, here, and here.
- If you can get people to visit your website, you can warm them up as a lead even if they don't submit their contact info the first time. More on this in a bit.
- Post Engagement. Leads from the comment section can make up 15-20% of generated leads if you pay attention to them.
The Lead objective, on the other hand, creates an ad that lets users submit their info without leaving Facebook. If you don't want to mess with websites and landing pages, this is a solid option. But:
- You lose the remarketing opportunity since they never go to your website
- Some data shows a slightly higher form submission rate over Website, but it may be offset by lower quality leads.
Don't: Bother with Engagement Posts
When you set your objective, you're not just telling Facebook what action the ad will perform. You're also telling them who to show the ad to. When you pick Website or Leads, Facebook's algorithm will try to get the ad in front of people most likely to click or submit on a real estate ad.
That's great. When you pick Boost a Post or Promote Your Page, you're telling Facebook to show your ad to people who will leave more "impressions." That's liking, commenting, and sharing. Even if you have the patience to hunt those people down, they're not qualified leads. You're flushing your ad money down the toilet.
Do: Use a Lead Magnet
Advertising a single listing is fine, but you'll attract more leads if you offer something of value in exchange for entering the user's information. This could include:
- Neighborhood market analysis
- Instant home evaluation (note: you'll need third-party tools)
- Homebuyer/seller starter guides
- More specific how-to guides (i.e., staging, downsizing, first home inspection)
- Curated lists of homes that meet specific criteria
- A quiz, survey, or enter-to-win contest (note: for all of these, target your topic or prize carefully to attract only your target audience)
The key is coming up with a value proposition that your ideal prospects won't be able to resist. Specific is generally better. Instead of a home seller guide, for example, maybe you go with "How to Increase Your Home's Selling Price by $10,000." But! You have to deliver what you are promising and only promise what you can deliver. Otherwise, this strategy will backfire. Instead of earning their trust, you'll lose it (along with their business).
Don't: Require Phone Numbers
The fastest way to make someone change their mind about submitting a form is to require their phone number.
People are much more willing to part with their email address. Make it clear on the form that phone numbers are optional, and don't forget to change the setting on the form.
Do: "Borrow" from the Big Dogs
When you're choosing Target Audience in the ad builder, one of the options is to choose people whose "interests" include major real estate sites. We're not naming names, but they rhyme with Willow, Edfin, and Julia. You can piggyback on their advertising dollars to target quality leads.
You can also target behaviors like recent mortgage borrower, likely to move, first time home buyer, recently married, recently divorced, and others.
Don't: Get Tunnel Vision
Don't assume that turning real estate specific audience filters on is the best method. Marketing firms who do a lot of testing report mixed results. Some areas or niches just work better with a broader set of criteria. You won't know which way is better until you experiment for yourself.
Do: Use Remarketing
We recommended the Website objective because remarketing is a powerfully effective form of advertising. Here's how it works: a portion of people that click on your ad won't submit a lead. If the click takes them to a native form (within Facebook, for example), you've lost them forever.
But if it takes them to your website, you still have a chance. If you can get yourself in front of those lurkers again and again, a significant portion will eventually submit a lead. And you can do that if you've set up pixel remarketing.
You install a small snippet of code on your website that creates a "cookie" on a visitor's browser. When the ad platform(s) that you work with (including Facebook) get ready to serve up an ad, the cookie signals the platform to serve that visitor your remarketing ad. Remarketing has the highest ROI of any ad type—it's common to make twice as much as you spend. You're also squeezing more value out of your original ad dollars.
For real estate, you have some interesting options for the ads you show to remarketed visitors:
- Repeat the offer, in case they were on the fence
- Try a slightly different offer, in case the first one wasn't quite tempting enough
- Build their awareness of your qualifications by featuring testimonials, ratings, awards, etc.
In real estate, trust is your primary currency and acquiring clients is a long game. Getting testimonials in front of prospects that have already interacted with your brand can make a difference.
Do: Keep Improving
This just scratches the surface of best practices for Facebook advertising. Check out:
- This guide to testing and improving your own Facebook ads
- This case study from marketing pros on the tactics that get their clients the most leads
- This comprehensive guide to each step of the process (note: their advice on ad text is outdated because Facebook shortened character limits. You now only have 90 characters for copy and 25 for headlines. So you should learn to up your copy game as well.)
- This detailed, agent-specific advice on ad budgets and duration
- The current specs you need for pictures or video in all Facebook ad formats
Constant improvement isn't just for your marketing efforts. You can improve your professional knowledge on all sorts of topics with online continuing education courses.
Depending on your state, this can include topics to help build your lead magnet library: comparative market analysis, the ins and outs of real estate financing, home inspections and appraisals, and more.