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Big Changes to Facebook Ads for Real Estate Agents: What You Need to Know

By Anthony Mann, Contributor - Posted on
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Massive Changes to Real Estate Advertising

Have you kept up with the massive changes with Facebook ads that apply across the board for real estate? And how have they begun to affect your online marketing?

If you’ve been living under a rock, or just don’t keep up with the near-daily changes on Facebook, then you may not have heard about the new special category that Facebook ads is now requiring for all agents, brokers, and marketers working for real estate agents.

So what has changed?

The largest change in my eyes, is that you are no longer allowed to exclude anything from your advertising. Now, I know what you might be thinking… “I just won’t use the special ad category and I’ll do what I want!”

Unfortunately, that’s the quickest way to get your ad account shut down, and you may never get it back again.

What does it mean that exclusions are no longer possible? It means simply that it makes your job much harder to get the “qualified” leads you want. While inclusions have also been limited, not being able to exclude people such as other Realtors from your ads, simply means it’s going to cost you more money to get the same results.

What is an exclusion?

Let’s use a very simple example. Let’s say you wanted to include people in your targeted Facebook ad that like the following pages: Zillow, realtor.com and homes.com.

Now that sounds easy enough, right?

What you would have done before this change is also EXCLUDE people who are real estate agents, as you do not want them clicking on your ads and submitting their info. This changes the Facebook Pixel (Facebook’s special code that helps you track how your ad is performing) and in turn will show your ad to even more agents if they are the ones submitting information on your ads!

Now that exclusions aren’t possible, lots of people you would have excluded are probably going to click on your ads.

I personally don’t think this was Facebook’s intention when eliminating exclusions, but unfortunately, this is the new Facebook ads reality.

What else should I know?

A few things that have changed are all in regards to Fair Housing laws. These items are things agents, and/or their marketers, should not have been targeting against anyway, so it’s not something you should be too concerned about.

However, one major change that was also made is that all advertising must go to a certain town, plus 15 miles. Without exclusions, this also means all those areas where you DON’T want your advertisement showing, are going to be shown and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

But how to we get around it?

In short, there is no way to “get around it.” But there are a few things you can do to ensure your advertisements are being seen by the right people.

First, make sure to call out your audience specifically in your ads. Since you need need to have a 15 mile radius around a specific town… if you want to ONLY target that town, call the town out by name! In my case, the town I live in is Huntington. If I was going for buyers or sellers, I would call people in Huntington out by directly saying something like “Hey Huntington Residents” or “Looking to move to Huntington?”

This will do a few things.

Help the right people pay attention

As you may know, Facebook reads your ad copy. By calling Huntington out, it will tend to show your ad to people who have activity in and around Huntington. This means more of the RIGHT people seeing your ad. 

This will also naturally let people who are not living in, or interested in living in Huntington, to immediately mentally gloss over your ad, since it does not apply to them or what they’re looking for.

Use images that apply to your desired audience

Make sure to use local images in your ads of the area you are advertising in. While many homes look the same in many areas, surrounding towns and villages may have a different look and feel.

If that is the case where you are advertising, then make sure the images you are using match the area you are advertising directly. This will naturally create an emotion in someone’s mind if they have been searching in the area, or already live there.

What kind of images should I use?

Be creative. Use restaurants, parks, video, and anything else you can think of to make people know you’re talking about the area that you are advertising to.

While this means more legwork upfront, this also means that the people who do respond to your ad will be more likely to be qualified for what you’re selling them!

Should I be worried?

Well, if you’ve been breaking fair housing laws to get your ads in front of the right people you should be worried. Be VERY careful moving forward, and go back through your ad account to delete any ads that you even think may have violated any of them. 

If you’ve been following the law to a “T” while advertising, you will need to make some minor adjustments, but overall you should not notice a massive increase in ad spend or cost per lead.

Happy Advertising! Have questions? Add a comment below!

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Anthony Mann
Anthony Mann has been in the real estate industry for over 12 years, getting his start in the worst market the US has seen in nearly 100 years. During his tenure as an agent, he sold more than 1,000 REO and short sale properties in Long Island, NY. He was able to get into a niche field within the industry, where there are less than 15 active REO agents and was the youngest by nearly 20 years. Anthony has seen many markets and new technology emerge without any real benefit to agents, so he decided to make a change in the industry and launched AM Open House in July of 2014. At that time, Anthony focused entirely on the AM Open House app and management platform. His goal was to make the lives of agents easier, while supplying them with technology they actually want and can benefit from using. He helped over 125,000 do better business within 3 short years. Founding A Social Strategy in 2016 was a milestone for Anthony as he has always had a passion for helping businesses grow through social media marketing and advertising. Currently, A Social Strategy handles advertising for many real estate agents and brokers, mortgage professionals, and businesses that need help generating quality and qualified leads. In his quest to truly help people, he is one of the few experts in the advertising field that makes a point to make himself available in groups and via messenger to help those who need it most, giving anyone and everyone direct access to him and his team.
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3 thoughts on “Big Changes to Facebook Ads for Real Estate Agents: What You Need to Know”

  1. Anthony,
    You are a success and give good advice but please remember to use UPPER CASE R when spelling Realtor. Realtor is a registered trade name and requires the R to be in upper case. Realtor.com was given permission to use the lower case r to make it easier for people to type it in their computer/i-phone etc.
    Don Flannery, Realtor since 1969

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