How to Use Facebook Ads for Real Estate Marketing

Real estate marketing is an interesting process.  Offline, we create postcards, magnets, handwritten notes, newsletters, Just Listeds, Open Houses, Just Solds and more – and proceed to blanket the neighborhood we’ve chosen to farm with everything.  Oftentimes, it’s on a “drip” basis, so it happens weekly or monthly.  Sometimes, we even take the material door-to-door for a good ole door-knocking session.  Ask a typical real estate agent, however, what the return is on the marketing materials they put out there, and chances are good, the number isn’t being tracked.

Online Marketing Key


The same thing oftentimes happens with online advertising.  From paying for Google ads and premium profiles on Zillow and Trulia, to joining every social network and throwing out listing information, to sending a templated newsletter to everyone you may have possibly met in the past 10 years…once again, ask an agent what the return on the time and money used for those marketing efforts is, and you probably won’t get a good response.

(Note: I didn’t say everybody.  I know many great real estate agents and teams that assiduously track every marketing effort.  I hope that’s you, too.)

One of the greatest benefits of online marketing is that all the information we’re concerned about websites collecting from us?  Those same sites are collecting information about your potential clients too.  This can prove to be extremely valuable, especially for target marketing.

What is Target Marketing?

Target marketing is basically defining a group of people on whom you will concentrate your advertising for houses and your services.  The best way of determining that is by either: (a) deciding who your ideal buyer client is, and focusing all your efforts on wooing them, or by (b) deciding who the  seller would be for the home you’re marketing.

If “George” is your ideal client, write down all of the attributes that make George perfect.  How much money does he make?  Where does he want to live?  Does he have a family?  What are his goals – will he stay where he is, or want to move?  Into something bigger?  Smaller?  When?  How does he communicate with his friends?  What would it take to get George to refer you?  All of these answers will help you when you’re trying to target who you want to advertise to.

If you’re marketing a home, who would be the perfect buyer?  How much money do they make?  What would their interests be?  What would they love most about the home?  What’s the community they want to live in?  What kind of neighborhood?  Identifying these attributes will enable you to pinpoint what features to most concentrate on in your marketing.

Now, what does target marketing have to do with Facebook ads?

Why Facebook Advertising?

The attraction of Facebook advertising is that what some consider Facebook’s greatest evil is also its greatest strength, especially for marketers.

Facebook collects a lot of information.  A LOT of information.  And people gladly give it – where they live, how much money they make, where they work, what their relationship status is, who they hang out with, what music they listen to, what TV shows they watch, etc.  All of this information can be used to drill down to those clients or perfect buyers that you want to reach.

How to Get Started With Facebook Advertising

First, you have to be on Facebook.  Yes, I know.

Second, you can either use a Facebook business page or your own website.  To create a Facebook business page, you can start by clicking here.  Why do you want one of these?  You need to have a place to drive people TO with your advertising – your ads need to serve a purpose.  Also, you will want a Facebook business page to link to ads…yes, even those involving your website. Why?  Because Facebook says so.

Next, you actually create a Facebook ad.  (If you can’t figure out where to do that on Facebook, start with this landing page.)

The first thing Facebook will want to know is the purpose of your ad:

What do you want from your Facebook ad?

You can decide which one you want to choose.  FYI, website conversions involve installing a conversion tracking pixel, so that may not be the best choice for newbies.  The most appropriate for a real estate agent would be: Clicks to Website, Page Post Engagement and Page Likes.  (Unless you have somethings special, like a video [Video Views] or an event [Event Responses] that you want specific people to see! And no, open houses are not normally Facebook Events.)

Clicks to Website

This is pretty self-explanatory.  You enter in the URL (web address) of wherever you want people to go, and build an ad around that.

Page Post Engagement

This means Facebook will be measuring actual engagement on your Facebook page.  Engagement can include post likes, photo views and comments.  This would be used if you wanted to actually get people interacting with your page.

Page Likes

This is simply measured by likes of your Facebook page (without the interaction).  The reasons you’d use this is if you’re just getting started with your Facebook page, or would like to draw more initial attention to it.  This could especially be used if you were using a Facebook community page, and wanted more people in the community to know that you had one.

Let’s say you want to increase the traffic of clients, of Georges, to your website.  You’d choose “Clicks to Website” and enter in the address of your website where prompted.

Clicks to Website

Next, you’ll upload up to six images that you want to appear as the “face” of your ad.  No pun intended.   The more images you choose, the more you’ll be able to measure what is and isn’t working with your advertising – what’s catching people’s attention?

Now on to the fun part – adding in the Text and Links.  Think of headlines that would capture your attention.  Next, think about headlines that would capture George’s attention.  The same with the text – make it short, sweet and memorable.

Finally?  The super-fun part.  You get to find George.  Using the information you wrote down earlier about him (aka your “ideal client”), you can narrow down the audience your advertisement goes to…your ideal (or as close to it as possible) audience.  Facebook has a nifty meter at the side that will let you if you’re narrowing your possibilities too much or defining your audience “just right.”

Campaign Ad Set Plus Bidding and Pricing

You can name your ad, set a certain budget per day, pick a start and end date or have it run continuously until you stop.  You can also tell Facebook to keep it optimized for clicks (i.e., actual interactions) and how you want the pricing to work.  You can either have Facebook work out the pricing for you, or tell Facebook how much you think each click is worth.

Once all that information is there?  You’re done!  You just have wait for Facebook to take one last look and approve it.

Here’s the key, though.  At the beginning, I mentioned that you can query real estate agents and they often won’t know what the return on their marketing dollar is.  The beauty of Facebook’s ad service, over and above its extensive reach, is the way you can adjust and readjust your ad to see what does and doesn’t work.  Also, you can keep careful track of numbers – useful for when you’re talking to your sellers about how many people have seen their listing, and useful for you at end-of-year accounting time.

Facebook ads are just one piece of marketing that you an add to your real estate marketing toolbox.  Think about whether they would fit your business.  Reach your George.   Be worth your time and money.  If it’s yes to all those, go for it!






  1. Barbara P says

    Thanks Tara.

    I’m so bad at facebook but it seems like there is so much potential for leads on there. I just signed up for boldleads to do my facebook ads for me, so I’m hoping that works. Do you know anything about them?

    • Tara L. Christianson says

      Hi Barbara – I’m familiar with them, but haven’t and don’t know of any agent personally who’s used them. As with any company you use, keep track of your return on investment! :-) As for Facebook itself, just like any platform you use for business, it takes a time investment (usually before a money investment!) to understand. Let me know if I can be of any help.


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