26 Aug Effective Facebook Advertising Strategy for Real Estate & Property Industry
Facebook and Instagram are among the best lead generation channels for real estate and property businesses. In this article, I’m going to share with you the challenges and solutions to build an effective Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property business.
Real estate and property industry is no doubt one of the biggest spenders on Facebook and Instagram advertising. Not just property developers are spending big, but real estate agencies are actively advertising to drive sales. However competitions and behaviour change makes it more difficult than ever to achieve good ROI.
So if you’re in real estate or property industry and planning to up your game in Facebook advertising, the first challenge is competition.
Competitions and behaviour change makes it more difficult than ever to achieve good ROI
I’m a firm believer of contextual advertising strategy. You may read my past article about contextual Facebook advertising strategy for ecommerce businesses. I believe in building a journey for your prospect, by designing a series of actions that leads to them to meet your end goal.
Pro tip: Follow my Facebook Page for daily Facebook advertising tips.
Compare to ecommerce businesses, Facebook advertising for real restate & property industry requires a different approach, I break down to 4 main areas to focus on.
- Quantifying the ROI
- Intention-based audience targeting
- Identify the right objectives
- Continuous optimization
In case you’re not familiar with the concept of Contextual Advertising, in a nutshell it is about delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time. You may read my previous article for more details.
Step 1. Quantifying the ROI
One of the question we get most is: How much should I be spending?
I get it, it is the conventional advertising mindset – every advertising method has a price. You spend RM50,000 for a quarter page advert on newspaper, or maybe RM200,000 for billboard, for example. Then you “try” to calculate backward, looking to quantify the ROI of the advertising spend.
This is not how it works on Facebook, especially when we discuss Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property industry.
Instead of “guesstimating” the ROI, digital advertising provide us the opportunity to really quantify cost per acquisition, by breaking the process down into details, and examine the effectiveness by quantifying each stage with numbers.
Effective Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property industry starts from quantifying the ROI
Here’s how we should view it.
From the figure above, we understand that this is the typical customer journey as they evolved from being a complete stranger to the business, to become a customer.
So, from the illustrated figure we know that:
- Cost per lead is RM20
- Cost per meeting is RM200
- Cost per conversion is RM 1,000
Now since we know that the amount we need to spend to get one sale is RM1,000, the next question should be: how much you want to make?
How much you want to make?
Then we calculate backward.
Let say your quarterly sales target is RM10million. We should then use the funnel illustrated above to calculate, say value per sale is RM800,000, we will need about 12 conversion to achieve the target. Based on the calculation illustrated, we will need to spend RM12,000 for the campaign.
Bear in mind the numbers may fluctuate, however the estimation should work within acceptable variations.
We must then focus on working on reducing, or at least maintain the cost per lead, which in turn will reduce cost per acquisition. Our main objective is to achieve more with the same budget or even lower.
Fundamentally we focus on two areas to achieve the above mentioned – target audience and campaign objective. Let’s start with target audience.
Step 2. Intention-based audience targeting
I’m a believer of niche targeting.
After managing or consulting in developing countless Facebook advertising strategy for real estate agencies and property developers, we’ve developed a unique audience targeting technique, I call it intention-based audience targeting.
My argument is that, for most real estate or property project marketing, we should capture the intention instead of interest.
Let me explain. Most of the time, when we’re setting the audience targeting for our Facebook advertising campaign, we tend to think from the angle of “interest category”. For example, if we’re marketing a luxury condominium, we would think that people who are interested in “Mercedes Benz, BMW, iProperty, etc.” would be interested in our project.
That’s interest targeting. However, interest targeting tend to distract us from reaching to the right audience in our audience targeting. The assumption is “interest = intention”.
I don’t think this is effective, especially for real estate and property industry. Someone who are interested in luxury car brands not necessary can afford one, for example.
The other hypothesis for this technique is, if an audience does not have the intention to purchase a property in near future, no matter how many times they see the ad, they are very unlikely to take action.
Interest ≠ Intention
So instead of using one layer of detailed targeting, we use the narrow targeting feature to further zoom into the target audience, based on their “potential purchase intend”.
For example, you may select detailed targeting such as property, investment etc., however at the narrow targeting option you push further by selecting intention-based detailed targeting, such as live event targeting, etc.
This technique may not be applicable for all industry, but for real estate and property industry it could be a more effective targeting technique.
Remember to keep testing. Intention-based audience targeting technique requires constant optimisation as the audience combinations can be complicated.
Once we’ve managed to zoom into the right audience segments, the next is to find the objective that are more suitable for them.
3. Identify the right objectives
Same goes to all industries, one of the key area to test in searching the best Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property industry, is to identify the right advertising objectives.
I assume you area clear that there are now 13 Facebook advertising objectives available, if you’re not sure, read this post first.
As I mentioned at the very beginning of this article, there are 2 main challenges – the competition and the behaviour change.
We can try to tackle the competition part with better audience targeting, better creatives combine with effective bid strategy. However user behaviour is one area that requires constant testing as it changes all the time.
The most common Facebook advertising objective used by real estate and property professionals has always been lead generation. However, we have been witnessing the decline in effectiveness in terms of quality and quantity.
The other one that’s quite popular is to drive to Whatsapp, however you may not be using the right objective if you’re using “Boost post”, or “Engagement” objective according to Ads Manager selection.
It all boils down to the user behaviour.
For example, we did an experiment for a client by split-testing 2 Facebook advertising objectives, both targeting the same audience. We used lead generation objective to capture leads and messages objective to drive Messenger conversations.
The conclusion was we got more leads, however almost 95% of the leads are not actionable; while we have only about half as much Messenger conversations started, however almost 30% of them are actionable.
We believe it was the audience behaviour that caused the difference. For example, if you’re trying to sell luxury bungalow, your qualified audiences may be very private and sensitive about giving their details away, hence your lead generation campaign may flop. They may prefer having private conversation on Messenger or Whatsapp.
You just need to find the most comfortable action that your audiences are more likely to take.
Based on our observation, we usually use below objectives to formulate effective Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property industry.
- Lead generation objective
- Messages objective
- Traffic objective (link to Whatsapp)
- Traffic objective (link to landing page)
- Traffic objective (link to Canvas)
- Combination of any of the above
Yes, we build contextual Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property industry as well. Let me give you an example.
In most cases, an ad message can’t register in the mind of target audience without appearing multiple times, and usually no matter how you design the advertisement, the key message didn’t really get through. For example, over 90% of the leads you captured when you call them, at least 50% will deny that they have actually submitted the lead, and over 90% can’t recall at all, the key USP you’re promoting in your ads creative.
So we thought of creating a journey to help your audience decide, at the same time setting a limit of pushing to the same audience without wasting budget for retargeting the audiences for too long. Based on our experience, the best duration is 7-14 days. If the audience do not take action within the period after being exposed to a series of ads multiple times, they’re not interested.
So as usual when it comes to contextual, we will have cold audience which is your target audience that are totally new to your product; and warm audience who have seen your ad or reacted in one way or another.
This is not ecommerce business, it may not be that straight forward to identify your warm audiences for real estate and property industry. In order to achieve this, you need to create “audience qualifying factor”s, to help you “qualify” your cold audiences into warm.
Create your audience qualifying factors
How do we achieve that? Usually we use a few of the Custom Audiences below as qualifying factor:
- Watched video for at least 10 seconds – we always recommend to use video or slideshow as the ad media for cold audience ads. Make sure you pack enough info in the first 10 second to make sure the qualifying factor works.
- Opened lead form but didn’t submit
- Visited landing page
- Opened Canvas but didn’t click
The whole idea is to qualify a set of audience that have at least learned some info about your project, at a acceptable level. And we create multiple audiences depending on how many key USP you want to reinforce to your warm audiences. We usually have 2-3 sets of warm audiences, as below:
- Warm audience (combining above-mentioned) in the past 3 days
- Warm audience in the past 5 days
- Warm audience in the past 7 days
Different project will require different strategy. Based on our recent experiment, we find that single image works better in conveying key messages. So in this example case study, we will use video as media for cold campaign, driving audience to submit lead. Followed by 3 ads targeting people who watched the video up to 10 seconds + opened lead form but didn’t submit in the past 3, 5 and 7 days. Here’s how we formulate the strategy:
- Lead generation objective – target cold audience using short video
- Traffic objective driving Whatsapp message – target warm audience 3, 5 and 7 days with 3 different single images highlighting 1 key USP at a time
In this case an audience will be seeing 3 single image ads after they have viewed the first video for 10 seconds, or opened the lead form but didn’t submit, on the first 3 days after they did the actions, followed by the next 2 days and another one in the following 2 days. The course complete within 7 days, whether or not the audience take action they will be opted out from all ads. The setting for this to happen is to exclude the above-mentioned warm audiences in all campaigns including cold.
Here’s an overview of the example we discussed.
This is just an example, remember every project is unique in its USP and target audience, so we need to test and identify the most effective media, objective, ad creatives and more to form an effective strategy.
4. Continuous optimisation
Optimization for Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property industry is even more interesting compare to other businesses. However, due to its high-ticket product nature, a relatively lower conversion is needed to achieve positive ROI.
However factors such as behaviour change, festive seasons, political issues or any happenings might still affect the effectiveness and performance of your Facebook advertising campaigns from time to time.
It is important to continuously optimize your Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property industry to reduce cost and increase ROI.
While there are countless optimization opportunities we can work on, I’ll highlight a few key optimization areas you should consider focusing.
AB split testing
AB split test is particularly important during the early stage of the campaign. Do not assume, as a business owner we can never really think like our customers. It is important to stay humble and test, let the number speaks.
You can start with AB split testing below variables:
- Target audiences – don’t treat everything in your target audience as the same, even if you’re using detailed targeting. Try grouping them based on gender, age group, geolocation, etc. to find the best combination.
- Optimization methods – While most will go for objective optimization (e.g. clicks, engagements, video views, etc.), you can opt for impressions or reach optimization for certain ads.
- Ad placements – There are 13 placement options to choose from, not all works the same. For example, at least test to find out if Facebook gives you better result or Instagram? That’s a good start.
- Ad creative and copies – Don’t use just 1 ad and 1 creative and expect it works like a snap. Test different design using different USP, message approach, etc. to find the best combination.
Optimizations will never end. Revisit your campaign performance at least once a week even if you have reach the perceived best combination as there are many factors that might affect the effectiveness.
Landing page optimization
This is another area that is critical yet you can’t rush into perfection. Landing page optimization is a continuous thing that requires a lot of data gathering and testings.
It is always good to revisit your funnel, and check the conversion of each funnel layer from time to time. For example if you have good number of people added to cart but big drop at checkout, it could be something wrong with your checkout form.
I believe now you have a better idea on how to create the most effective Facebook advertising strategy for real estate and property business.
Remember the rule of thumb here: keep testing.
If you need help with your Facebook advertising campaign, we offer 1-on-1 coaching and monthly Facebook Advertising Master Class, drop us a line and we’re more than happy to assist in your Facebook advertising success.