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How to Run Real Estate Facebook Ads: The Complete Guide

Let’s get right to the point: When it comes to real estate advertising, Facebook is winning. Anyone who’s anyone is on Facebook- and they’re on Facebook all the time.

In fact, the average American reportedly spends almost 25 hours on Facebook in just one month! And, with all of these people frequenting Facebook, you can use it to your advantage and sell almost anything - even expensive homes.

If you’re serious about generating more leads, increasing awareness for your business and growing your network on social media, Facebook Ads should play an essential role in your marketing strategy.

In this post, we’ll explain why you should be advertising on Facebook, walk you through a step-by-step guide to getting started with real estate Facebook ads, and share our top tips for launching your Facebook ads funnel.

Real Estate Facebook Ads and Why They Matterphone with the Facebook app open

Real estate agents running Facebook ads to sell houses should be nothing new at this point, however, very few realtors actually promote their listings on social media! There’s a reason why you keep hearing about it- Facebook has the best targeting for ads out of any platform ever invented. 

Facebook’s advanced targeting and large user-base make it one of the best ways for real estate agents to generate leads and increase awareness of their business. Another plus? People actually engage with Facebook ads. In fact, “the average American Facebook user clicks on eight ads per month, 10 ads a month for women.”

All this is a pretty big deal. It means you can use real estate Facebook ads to drive the right people to any property with a little planning and smart thinking.

button to create personalized Facebook and Instagram video ads with PropertySimple

Getting Started With Facebook Advertising

In order to run Facebook ads, there are a few things that you’ll need to set up: a Facebook business page and a Facebook advertising account.

How to Set up a Facebook Business Page

example of a realtor's Facebook Business pageIf you don’t have a Facebook Business Page yet, you’ll need to create one in order to advertise on Facebook. Luckily, the process is fairly quick and straight-forward. Follow these instructions to set it up!

Not only will creating your Facebook Business Page give you the ability to run Facebook ads, but it also gives your business a home on the most popular and regularly used social platform today. With over 1 billion daily active users and the highest referral rates on the Internet, having a Facebook business page is essential if you want to succeed in the digital era. Basically, if your business isn’t on Facebook, it doesn’t exist. 

For more tips on setting up a successful business page for your real estate business, check out Facebook’s recommendations.

Create a Facebook Advertising Account

computer with the Facebook Business website open

After you create your Facebook business page, you’ll be able to get started with your Facebook advertising account. Got to the dropdown arrow at the top right of your screen, and click on “Advertising with Facebook”.

screenshot that shows where to click to create a Facebook ad

If you’ve never run a Facebook ad before, you’ll be directed to the Facebook Business website. Once you’re here, click “Create an Ad” in the upper right-hand corner, and you’ll be directed to your Ads Manager.

Facebook campaign objective screen that shows all of the options for your campaign objective

Here, you’ll be able to run your first ad campaign. But before you start, click on the toolbar in the upper left-hand corner, and go to your “Settings”. Here you can update your business information, as well as your payment information.

screenshot of the Facebook payment settings inside the Ads ManagerOnce you’ve added in your information, you’re all set to start growing your business with Facebook ads.

How to Set Up Real Estate Facebook Ads

woman holding a phone with an example of a real estate Facebook ad

Using Facebook’s Ads Manager can seem intimidating at first, and we’re not going to lie- setting up your first Facebook ads can take a while. However, once you have them up and running, you’ll start seeing results right away.

To create your first Facebook ad for your real estate business, go to your Ads Manager, and click “Create Campaign” in the top left. Name your campaign with an intuitive title. This title is just for your use to find your ad in your Ads Manager while and after it runs.

screenshot that shows where to click to create a new ad campaign

After you name your campaign, you’ll need to turn the Special Ad Category slider to “on”, and select the Housing category. This will place several limitations on your targeting options, but if you are running a real estate Facebook ad and do not check this box, Facebook will not approve your ad.

screenshot of how to select the Special Ads Category for Housing related ads

Set a Goal for your Real Estate Facebook Ad

The next step is to determine the Campaign Objective for your Facebook ad. Facebook offers three categories: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion, each with several subcategories.

screenshot that shows Facebook campaign objective options

For real estate Facebook ads, we recommend the options under the Awareness and Consideration categories. 

Awareness

Facebook ads with the awareness objective are perfect for building your network and reaching new potential clients. The goal of these ads is that people see your ad and become familiar with your business. Awareness ads are perfect for turning a cold audience into a warm audience. 

Ads with this objective tend to reach a larger percentage of your audience compared to ads with a Consideration objective. Facebook offers two options under this category- Brand Awareness and Reach. 

  • Brand Awareness: if you select the “Brand Awareness” objective, Facebook will show your ad to people who are more likely to remember your ad
  • Reach: if you select reach as your objective, Facebook will show your ad to the most people possible. 

Awareness ads that work well include videos about your real estate business, videos that offer home or real estate tips, or graphics with real estate tips.

Consideration

Real estate Facebook ads that use the Consideration objective are optimized to reach people that are likely to take action. Your ad may reach fewer people, but you will get a much lower cost per action. There are several types of actions that you can use as your objective: 

  • Traffic: select this objective if you want to drive people to a blog post, website, listing page, or landing page.
  • Engagement: use this objective if you want more people to like your page, respond to your event, or react to, comment or share your ad.
  • App Installs: if you select this objective, Facebook will show your ad to people most likely to download and engage with your app. In general, this objective is not relevant to real estate Facebook ads.
  • Video Views: if you want to the most people possible to watch your video, select this objective.
  • Lead Generation: generate high-intent leads with names, emails, and phone numbers. This type of ad provides you with information that makes it easy to follow up with your leads via phone or email. Keep in mind that with this objective, you will need to make a lead form as part of the ad creation. This lead form allows your leads to fill out their information without having to leave Facebook. You can specify the information that you ask your leads to provide.
  • Messages: every deal starts with a conversation, and this objective will help you start more of them. Basically, with a messages ad, you can prompt people to send you messages via Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, or Instagram Direct.

Set your budget

The next step is to set your budget for your ad. A big question about Facebook ads- how much do they really cost? That’s a hard question to answer, even with great targeting. 

In general, a good starting budget for a real estate ad is between $99-$299. Measure your results, and adjust your budget as needed.

Optimize for Ad Delivery

Ad delivery optimization is where you determine how Facebook spends your budget and shows your ad to your audience. The options that you have in this section of the ad setup will depend on what you chose as your campaign objective (note that you don’t have the option to select optimization for Lead Generation or Brand Awareness).

Traffic

If you selected traffic as your campaign objective, you can choose to optimize for landing page views, link clicks, daily unique reach, or impressions.

  • Landing Page Views: deliver your ads to people who are more likely to click on your ad’s link and load the website
  • Link Clicks: deliver your ads to the people most likely to click on them
  • Daily Unique Reach: deliver your ads to people up to once per day
  • Impressions: deliver your ads to people as many times as possible- note that this means that people could receive your ad every time they log into Facebook. The danger of this is what we call “ad fatigue”, where your target audiences see the ad so many times that they become less responsive to them.

Pro tip: Optimize for Landing Page Views. When you optimize for link clicks, you will get a cheaper cost per click, but you’ll notice in your analytics that many of the people who clicked, didn’t actually view your website or blog post. By choosing to optimize your budget for landing page views, Facebook spends your budget on people who are more likely to click your ad and wait for the page to load.

Messages

  • Replies: ad will be delivered to people who are most likely to respond to the ad through messenger
  • Leads: will show ads to the right people to help you get the most leads.

Video Views

  • Thru Play: will show your ad to people who are likely to watch your entire video
  • 2-Second Continuous Video Views: will show your ad to the most people who will watch at least 2 seconds of your video

Engagement 

  • Post Engagement: get the most likes, shares, or comments at the lowest cost
  • Daily Unique Reach: will deliver ads to people up to once per day
  • Impressions: will deliver ads to people as many times as possible

Reach

If you selected reach as your objective, you’ll be able to optimize for reach or impressions. Choosing reach will optimize your ad so that the most people possible will see it while choosing impressions will optimize to deliver your ads to people as many times as possible.

Choose your Audience

people walking on the street and using their phones

One of the unique benefits of Facebook ads is that you can use very specific targeting that improves your ROI. While Facebook has made significant changes to how you can target ads that fall into the Housing category, there are still powerful targeting options available to real estate agents.

Create a New Facebook Audience

Your first option is to create a Facebook audience from scratch, and solely based on your targeting. This is what we call a "cold audience". A cold audience refers to people who have not interacted with your business before. You can refine this audience by location and detailed targeting.

Location: Facebook gives you the option to target residents any address or city in the United States with a 15-mile radius. You can also target an entire state, multiple states, or multiple cities. Due to Facebook’s new Special Ad Category rules, you cannot target ZIP codes, and any city, address, or dropped pin must include a 15-mile radius. 

map that shows Facebook targeting of a city with a 15-mile radius

Age: age will automatically include people from 18-65+, as part of the targeting restrictions with Facebook’s new housing category.

Detailed Targeting: Facebook’s detailed targeting lets you target people with specific interests that could better qualify your audience. Because of Facebook’s new Special Ad Category Rules for Housing, most of Facebook’s detailed targeting options are unavailable. However, you still can target people with specific interests that help you better-qualify your audience. 

  • A few of the options that are real estate-related include: Starter home, terraced home, vacation rental, Zillow, Trulia, townhouse, terraced house, swimming pool, solar power, single-family detached home, penthouse apartment, moving company, mortgage loans, land, Land and Houses, House Hunting, Home equity loan, Gated Community, First-time buyer, first time buyer grant, Duplex (building), Condominium

Connections: Here you can narrow your audience based on whether people have liked (or not liked) your Facebook page, as well as friends of people who have liked your page. You can also choose to target people who have responded to your event. For example, if you created an event for your open house, you could run an ad targeted at everyone who responded to that open house to increase attendance. 

Custom Audience

Facebook custom audiences allow you to target warm audiences, or leads that are already in your sales funnel. This is a good option if you want to drive warm leads to your website or blog article, to remind them of your services, and have them contact you. 

Customer List: to create a custom audience from contacts that you already have, you can upload a CSV of names, email addresses, phone numbers, and any other information that you have from your leads. Facebook will then match this information to your lead’s Facebook profile information so that you can target them with your ad.

Special Ad Audience: With the new Facebook advertising regulations, you cannot use a lookalike audience for a Housing Category ad. However, Facebook has created an alternative for Housing Category ads called “Special Ad Audiences”. Just like a lookalike audience, a Special Ad Audience allows you to create an audience that shares similar characteristics to your custom audience, but with a few limitations. Special ad audiences do not take into consideration gender, age, religious views, ZIP codes, Facebook Group membership, or other categories restricted by the Housing category rules. 

Retargeting audience: If you have a Facebook pixel installed on your website, you can retarget all of your website visitors with Facebook ads. The advantage of retargeting audiences is that these are already warm leads, meaning that it will be easier to convert them with your ads. You can even narrow this audience to target people who have visited specific pages on your website (for example a specific listing). To create a retargeting audience from your Facebook pixel, go to “Audiences” in your business manager, select “New Audience”, and then select “Custom Audience”. From the options, choose, “Website”. Select your Pixel, and then narrow your audience based on who you would like to reach.

  • All Website Visitors: this is the most basic option, and includes anyone who has visited any page on which your Facebook Pixel is installed. 
  • People who visited a specific web page: You can narrow your audience by only targeting people who visited a specific web page. You can do this by either entering the entire URL (URL equals) or entering in specific values that the URL contains. For example, if I wanted to retarget visitors to all of the blog posts on the PropertySimple blog, I would set the parameters to “URL contains” blog, as all of our blog posts contain blog in the URL.

screenshot that shows how to target people who visited a specific page on your website

  • If I wanted to only target visitors to this blog post, I could type the entire URL of this post, under “URL equals”.
  • Visitors by time spent: you can target by time spent on your website. People who spend more time on your pages are more likely to be qualified leads. Facebook allows you to select the top 25%, 10%, or 5% of visitors by time spent on your website. Keep in mind that if you don’t have high monthly website traffic, this could reduce the size of your audience significantly. 

Pro Tip: Make sure your audience is the right size. The sweet spot is generally anywhere between 200,000-1,000,000 people for cold audiences.

Placements

After choosing your audience, you have the option to select your placements. These are all of the places where Facebook will show your ad. Facebook will optimize to show your ads to the most people across its platforms. However, if you know that there are certain placements that your audience doesn’t frequent, you can manually select where Facebook shows your ad, by selecting “Edit Placements”.

Ad Creative, Setup, and Copy

woman editing her Facebook ad creative

Now it’s time for the fun part- creating the actual contents of your ad. For real estate Facebook ads, this includes the ad creative (image or video), copy, and call to action.

Ad Creative 

Your ad creative should be colorful and attention-grabbing. The purpose of the creative is to stop people as they scroll through their feed so that they watch or click your ad. Your creative should also convey the message of your ad in visual form. Many people won’t actually read your ad copy, so they must get the gist of your ad, simply from seeing the creative.

Another important consideration for your ad creative is the text. Facebook penalizes ads that include too much text. Use images with little to no text in order to avoid low delivery of your ad. 

Pro Tip: Upload your creative to Facebook's Image Text Check to see if your image has too much text

When it comes to your creative format, Facebook gives you a few options. 

Single Image or Video: with this format, you can choose one image or video for your ad. This is a great format if you want to advertise a blog post (like the example below), listing, or video promoting your real estate business.

example of a Facebook single video ad

Carousel: this format lets you include 2 or more scrollable images or videos. This is great if you have a Collection of recommended properties that you want to advertise to your network, or just want to show multiple photos of one of your listings. Keep in mind that you will have the option to write a separate headline and link description for each image or video in the carousel. You can also add a different link for each carousel slide. 

Size requirements: 600x600 px per image

example of real estate Facebook carousel ad with multiple listings

Pro Tip: Select your format before you make your creative, as different formats have different size specifications. Also remember that for best results, you’ll need to make different sizes of your creative for the different placement options that you selected (Instagram Story, Facebook Feed, Instagram post, etc.)

Ad Copy

The copy of your ad is your opportunity to let your audience know all the details of your listing, article, or service. Spark their interest and give them a reason to click through to learn more, send you a message, or fill out your lead form. Run a split test to experiment with short- and long-form copy to see what works best with your audience! 

There are three places where you'll need to write copy for your ad:

  1. Primary Text: the primary text is the area right below and above the creative where you can write your main description for your ad. If you are advertising a listing, make sure to mention the most important features that your target audience would be interested in, and what makes the property unique. If you are promoting one of your blog posts, include the value that readers will get when they click through.
  2. Headline: Situated just below your featured image, your headline should clearly state both what you are advertising, and why they should click through to view your listing, blog post, etc. Keep it short - Facebook suggests keeping your headline between 25-40 characters. 
  3. Description: Your description appears underneath your headline, and should provide additional details that will give your audience all the information they need to make the decision to click through to learn more or fill out your lead form.

image that shows where the primary text, headline, and description appear on a Facebook ad

Call To Action

The call to action of your ad is the button that will appear in the bottom right-hand corner of your ad where your audience can click to take action. Facebook provides several options for the text of your CTA button. The ones that make the most sense for real estate ads are: Learn More, Subscribe, and Contact Us. Make sure that the button you choose clearly relates to the action you are prompting people to take in the ad. 

Monitor Your Results

Facebook provides detailed results on your ad performance in your Ads Manager. Check your stats, and experiment with adjusting your ad copy, creative, and campaign objective and audience to see what works best. 

man looking at Facebook ad results page on an iPad

With PropertySimple, we have run thousands of ads to find the perfect targeting for our agents, and we can safely say that testing your ads pays off in terms of real estate Facebook ad performance. 

How to Get Maximum Results from your Real Estate Facebook Ads 

computer that shows Facebook ad analytics

Have a website

If you are generating traffic from your ad, you’ll need to have a website that you can send them to. To make your ads effective, you should have a lead form somewhere on your website where your site visitors can become leads with names, phone numbers, and emails. 

If you don't have a website, using a tool like PropertySimple that displays your current listings, bio, and information about your business, and optimized lead forms is a quick and easy way to get started.

example of a real estate agent's landing page

Use Video

When it comes to Facebook ads, video is an effective way to catch the user’s eyes and stop their scrolling. Real estate video Facebook ads are so effective that “some 73% of homeowners say they are more likely to list with a real estate agent who uses video to sell the property.” Using video both helps you get more leads, and makes you more attractive to sellers. 

Pro Tip: Most video viewers on Facebook watch without sound. To make sure the message of your video isn’t lost, include captions or text that highlights the main features.

Facebook ads are one of the best (and affordable) ways to generate real estate leads. In the end, whether you decide to go solo or work with a company to run your ads, you should include Facebook ads in your social media marketing campaign in order to reach potential clients efficiently and effectively.

button to create personalized Facebook and Instagram video ads with PropertySimple

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