Hello and welcome to this very first post about Facebook Ads for Real Estate Agents.
Today I would like to explain, why Facebook is the single best platform to advertise on as a real estate agent.
In this post I will talk about:
- Facebook’s reach
- its cost-efficiency
- the targeting potential
- ad formats
- chatbots in combination with Facebook
Facebook has – as of mid 2017 – more than 2 billion monthly active users worldwide and about 310 million monthly active users in North America. About 205 million Facebook users in North America use Facebook on a daily basis. Round about 85% of them even use their smartphones to use Facebook.
Now especially the last point is extremely interesting for real estate agents trying to advertise their listings or trying to get new clients: People who use Facebook with their smartphones basically carry your ad with them all day every day instead of taking a glance at your mailer and throwing it away immediately. That is a potential reach of 170 million people that could take a look at your ad Every. Single. Day…
Facebook Ads are extremely cost-efficient – especially compared to old/conventional ad formats like mailers, magazine ads and the like. To prove that I would like to give you an example:
If you would want to send out mailers to let’s say 3,000 people you would have to pay for the mailers themselves. Let’s assume about $0.10 each which would be the lowest I ever heard of. Next you would have to cover the stamps – another $0.50 each. 3,000 times $0.60 is $1,800.
From those 3,000 people though nobody can tell you how many you really reach. Simple example: A household with kids that are told to bring in mails but throw ads away immediately. If your mailer looks only the slightest like ad they will throw it away before the parents even see it. But for easy comparison let’s just assume that all 3,000 mailers get to their respective recipients.
On Facebook you can easily get 70,000 to 90,000 impressions as a real estate agent. An impression is defined as somebody out of your targeted audience seeing your ad. That means that you only pay for those that really saw your ad. Not for what you INTENDED to reach.
Constant Daily Budget vs. All Costs Upfront
When you send out those mailers you usually send them out all at once. That means that you have to cover all the costs at the same time and upfront.
With Facebook Ads you usually set a daily ad budget that you feel comfortable with. Facebook will then only spent this amount plus/minus a little But they will never spend more than your daily budget times 7 per week.
Not only are Facebook Ads for Real Estate Agents extremely cost-efficient, it is also extremely targeted, too.
“What does targeting mean?”, you now might ask. Good question – thank you! Targeting is the way you define your audience that you want to show your ad to.
Facebook’s number 1 priority (believe me and them or not) is a great user experience. If something makes the user experience worse they won’t accept it. This policy has a nice side effect which I talk about in the “chatbot” section further down this page and in more detail in my upcoming post about chatbots.
All great, but why is it so important?
Imagine you would (maybe you even have already…) book an ad in a magazine or newspaper. Those can get pretty expensive – especially in the better known ones. And the reason for that is their potential reach: Huge magazines and newspapers have thousands, even millions of readers which will see your ad. The fact that most of them probably aren’t interested in you, your offer or buying/selling a house isn’t relevant to those magazine and newspaper editors: You have to pay the same as every other advertiser would have to.
Now, with Facebook you have the chance to laser-target those that are most likely interested in you and your offer. This way your ad focuses on those instead of simply “everybody in that area” like a mailer or magazine ad would do and thereby makes it even more efficient.
People are more likely to engage with your ad, are more likely to click it, share it or do what you ask them to do.
Enough of all the theory, though.
Let me give you an example:
With mailers most of the time you can only target by location. Some premium services (which ask for premium prices, too, of course) give you the opportunity to also target by bedroom count.
With Facebook you can target (1) a married couple, (2) with a household income greater than $75,000 per year (3) that has kids (4) between the age of 0 and 18 years, that (6) are currently renters and that (5) are likely to move. I could go on with specific interests or behaviors that they have, but I am sure you already got the point: You are only showing your ad to those that really could become your clients immediately.
Another really cool thing about Facebook Ads for Real Estate Agents is its variety of different ad formats. While conventional ads only offer “text” and “pictures” with Facebook you can also choose to use Carousel Ads, Slideshow Ads, or even Video Ads. One more engaging than the other!
Carousel Ads are great if you do not have a video available. Video ads tend to be more engaging than any other ad format. This is why I highly recommend using video ads whenever possible. But there are some additional reasons for Video Ads which I will cover in the Video Ads section.
Back to carousel ads, though: Imagine you want to promote a specific listing: With Carousel ads you can have a small virtual tour – front door, entrance area, first bedroom/living room, kitchen, bathroom, “more on my website: Real Estate Agent XYZ”. Can you see how you would build up interest for people that ARE ALREADY interested in a new home?
Or you have a very limited budget and want to promote multiple listings at the same time: Simply show them next to each other with the most interesting one in the front. This way people will stop scrolling through their news feed to check out your listings.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve slideshow ads can be even more engaging than carousel ads. They can work very well if you don’t have a video available. With slideshow ads you let Facebook create a slideshow-like video from your pictures. The movement creates more curiosity and stops most of the users to scroll past your ad.
As I already said in the Carousel Ads section: If you can you should always use video ads. They are by far the most effective ads because they can transfer so many emotions, specific focus changes can pin point interesting things one after another and so on.
At the same time – depending on what you are trying to achieve – if you can’t get a professionally looking video but professionally looking pictures you will probably get better results with high quality pictures instead of an amateur-like video.
On the other hand: If you are recording a video of yourself telling your target audience something about you, a day in your life as a real estate agent or something like that a “lower-quality” video shot with your iPhone or higher-class smartphone will do a great job, too, because it is more personal.
Video Ads by default start playing automatically and Facebook is currently testing auto-playing video ads even with the sound enabled. I personally don’t think that users will like that but – as I said – if Facebook finds out that people don’t like it they won’t stick to it, so nothing really to worry about here.
What happens when you sent your mailer to prospects and instead of throwing it away immediately they take a look at it but don’t call you or visit your website? They most likely will forget about you and your agency and won’t remember you when they want to buy/sell a house, right? You would have to spend the same money over and over again to stay in their heads…
Facebook has a tool called Facebook Pixel. It “marks” your visitors for you and lets you retarget them. Retargeting means that you can specifically advertise your listings, offers, services, etc. to those and only those that already came to your website at least once. And it’s also extremely efficient especially in combination with your email list: Those that already signed up to your list won’t see your ads again. That would be wasted money anyways because you can retarget them through email marketing at zero costs. I will talk about email marketing in another post.
Now the really cool advantages with retargeting are its cost-efficiency: Because the amount of people that came to your website usually is very low compared to a normal target audience for ads you can show your ad to those people over and over at very low total costs. At the same time though you build yourself a – what I like to call – “celebrity-like” status.
How does that work?
Because you are “everywhere”. There are millions of websites and apps that partnered up with Facebook. All these websites and apps will happily show your ad – in addition to Facebook. And because they already came to your website they will recognize you.
The more often they see you, the more they will think that you must have a huge ad budget because only few people actually know about the Facebook Pixel. They will think that you really are advertising everywhere and THEREFORE they are seeing your ad everywhere. And if you are able to show your ads everywhere you must have a huge ad budget. And if you have a huge ad budget you MUST be a trusted and well-known real estate agent and they will be more likely to trust you, too, and eventually work with you.
Have you heard about chatbots? They are the trendiest thing in 2017 and are expected to become the standard communication tool in customer service by 2020. Their progress is remarkable and they are finally at a point where using them won’t make you look stupid but really save you money and time.
Facebook decided to jump onto this train and upgraded their Messenger platform to work with chatbots.
“What does chatbots have to do with Facebook Ads for Real Estate Agents?” you ask?
Well, chatbots are great for nurturing your prospects into working with you. They can turn cold traffic into warm traffic (in case you don’t know what that is have a look at my post about traffic types). And the cool thing about this: it will be done automatically and without any additional costs if set up correctly.
Extremely cool is that Facebook even allows us to message people that commented on a post we made on our Facebook business page.
Extremely High Reach
In case you didn’t know yet: Facebook also offers an ad objective which will optimize your ad spread to people that are very likely to engage with your ad. Always use a clear call to action in your ad (like: “Comment ‘Interested’ below to get additional infos about this beautiful house”) when you use the so-called “engagement” objective. This way you can get an extremely high reach, lots of people commenting and who you can then send messages to automatically with your chatbot.
And if that is not great enough already Facebook will also reward you for apparently having great content that people like to comment on.
They will show your ad in the newsfeeds of your commentators’ friends – for free! That means that you can get even more eyes to see your ad than you usually already would and therefore probably even more people engaging with your ad. And with that a reinforcing factor comes into play: social proof.
Do you know what social proof is?
Well, if you don’t I highly recommend you read “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini.
In short: Social Proof is one of the most persuasive things out there. It can turn a non-interested person into a raving fan within seconds.
Social proof means that others publicly say that something is great. Other people that didn’t trust the person or product before now do because others already trust them/it. We can see examples for social proof everywhere but this would get us too far away from the actual topic.
Back to our original example:The friends of your commentators will see your ad in their newsfeed and that their friend commented on your ad. Because of that they will know that their friend was interested in this ad. Knowing that, they are now more likely to check it out and even comment on your ad. And then it goes on and on. ;-P
You are hopefully already using email marketing. One of its huge advantages is that you can fully automate it. Well, here is the good news: You can do the same with chatbots. You can set up sequences like with email marketing. And you can send out “single-email” campaigns to all your subscribers, too.
Chatbots offer so many opportunities. But what I haven’t yet told you about is the biggest advantage:
Open and Click Through Rates
Facebook Ads for real estate agents can only be efficient if your audience is engaging with your content. If they don’t they also won’t turn into your clients.
Typical open rates in email marketing are between 10% and maybe up to 60% for some pros. Average open rates for current chatbots are between 80 and 100% – no joke!
But it gets even better:
The average click through rate (the percent of people that click a link in an email) is about 0.5 to 10%. On chatbots the click through rate is about 30-50% some get even higher results than that.
Think about what that means: If you usually get a click through rate of 10% for your emails asking your subscribers to book an appointment (which would be great) you would get +200% more money instantly if all other stats (conversion rate on appointment booking page, closing rate during appointments, average commission when closing the deal, etc.) would stay the same. Simply by using a chatbot.
Now I don’t say that you will get those results immediately once you start using chatbots: All chatbots need to be adjusted to their actual users to fit into the rest of your online and offline presence to have their full potential… But it’s definitely possible!
Why is that the case though?
The reason for this is the higher engagement on the Facebook Messenger. People are getting emails each and every day. Some have to go through hundreds each day at work and simply don’t want to spend more time with more emails in their free time. The Facebook Messenger though usually means “fun time” because it is about talking with friends.
So, on the one hand we have emails which are linked to work, stress and bad feelings. On the other hand we have the Facebook Messenger which is linked to friends, fun and simply said: a good time. There simply aren’t many businesses out there that use a chatbot on the Facebook platform yet.
People are in a way better mood when they open the Messenger and see your message. And with being in a better mood they automatically are more open minded and ready to click a link.
Alright, enough for today. I will end this post hoping that you learnt at least a little bit about the opportunities of Facebook. Let me know in the comments what you think about this post and what you would be interested in so that I can provide helpful posts.
Until next time,