By all accounts, finding quality leads on Facebook should be easy. It’s the most popular social platform by a considerable margin, with an estimated 168 million Americans checking their newsfeed multiple times a day. With the exception of Google, more homebuyers use it to research properties than any other site—including Zillow and Realtor.com. And its role in real estate marketing is set to be even more influential, as the majority of millennials, now the largest home home-buying demographic in the U.S., consider social media to be the most relevant advertising channel to them. You probably even have a colleague that swears Facebook is the secret to her success.
And yet, for all the promises of cheap, readily accessible leads on Facebook, many agents struggle to source high-intent, ready-to-buy-or-sell clients from the platform. Sure, they might fill their CRMs with contacts—and might even source a lukewarm lead or two from it—but it hardly seems to be the end-all-be-all of real estate marketing it’s purported to be.
So, what is driving this dichotomy? Why are some agents able to have unprecedented success on Facebook while others struggle? And, more importantly, if you’re an agent who has so far been unsuccessful, what can you do to fix it?
The unique behavior of homebuyers and sellers on Facebook
Before we discuss the strategies for finding quality leads on Facebook, let’s start with some brief context on how the platform’s users interact with real estate advertisements.
Because Facebook is a platform primarily built for leisure—in fact, in terms of hours spent per day, it’s now more popular than television—the majority of users treat property and agent advertisements as aspirational entertainment, browsing through them in much in the same way they do Pinterest boards. These users may click on a listing, check out an agent’s profile, or even provide additional personal information if it’s a prerequisite to learning more, but they have little immediate intention of moving forward. They’re doing a little bit more than daydreaming, and they’re certainly not what you’d call high intent.
Now, this doesn’t mean they won’t someday be serious—many of them soon will be—but at the time they clicked, they’re often at the onset of their real estate journey. They may have recently settled on a budget and are researching the amount of house they can afford; are curious what a particularly desirable market or neighborhood offers; or are planning something further down the road, say, after their wedding in six months. The reasons for their behavior, though interesting to know, are largely irrelevant. For our purposes, all that matters is these users are not yet ready to transact.
The challenges of this behavior
Facebook is a sophisticated advertising platform, but it’s not without its limits when it comes to real estate.
Because both sets of leads, high and low intent, perform the same actions (clicked on an ad, provided personal information, etc.), Facebook has no way to separate them out. All it can determine is that a user showed interest, but not the degree to which a user is interested. This doesn’t matter all that much when a business is promoting every day or impulse purchases—the buyer’s journey is much shorter. But when it comes specifically to real estate, the chasm between will-someday-be-interested and I’m-interested-right-now is wide. As a result, low-intent leads flood agents’ CRMs and are lumped alongside those who do have more serious interest, making it difficult for agents to separate the wheat from the chaff.
This, in a nutshell, is why some agents become frustrated with Facebook. If you earn scores of leads from your campaign and 90% of them are low intent (for now—more on that below), what are the odds you’ll sift through them in time to qualify and capitalize on the good ones? It’s conceivable you could be earning high-quality leads and not even know it.
So, what can you do?
Option One: Qualify and nurture
Assuming your advertisements are optimized—that is, your copy and imagery are inviting enough to encourage clicks and you’re targeting the ideal audience—there are two steps forward to eventually landing high-intent leads. Do keep in mind, though, Facebook lead generation is not an immediate process. It can certainly pay off, but if your primary concern is to garner leads right now, there are better platforms available, in particular Google. Moving forward, you should reframe your mindset and consider Facebook a long-term, high-volume play, one where if you put the effort in now, it will pay off down the road. That’ll help set expectations.
Anyway, the first step is, unfortunately, a bit of a slog. During the running of a campaign, you simply have to prioritize qualifying leads as they roll in with some combination of emails, texts, and phone calls and not wait, as many agents do, for your campaign to finish. It can be tedious and time-consuming staying on top of this type of thing in real-time, and you will find it can be a bit discouraging when the majority of generated leads hit a dead end, but with this strategy, you should be able to identify any high-intent leads right away and move to close them quicker than any other agent (as it’s more probable than not that serious buyers and sellers will be interacting with more than one agent’s advertisement).
Moving forward, it gets a lot easier because you can nurture low-intent leads into high-intent leads and shift the ratio of leads generated in your favor. As we mentioned, low-intent leads are not no-intent leads; the majority of them will eventually transact. So, if you can stay top of mind throughout their research and decision phase—which may take a few weeks or months—you’re that much more likely to win their business when they are ready to hire an agent or purchase a property. It’s like any other advertising, really. How often have you looked at a sweater online only to see it so often displayed in banner ads that you eventually relent and purchase? Same thing here, only on a potentially longer timeframe.
The beauty of Facebook is you can (re)target and nurture these soon-to-transact leads more effectively than on anywhere else. If you know what you’re doing, you can calibrate each subsequent campaign to zero in on these types of users and nurture them with dynamic ads overtime, creating multiple touchpoints and refining your messaging so you’re present and easily contactable when they’re ready to hire an agent. Put simply: You’ll get the same advertising returns of those sweater retailers who keep following you around the internet (and if billion-dollar companies do it all the time, it has to be successful right?). You’ll still have to do qualification—that won’t ever go away—but your nurturing efforts will make it far more fruitful.
So, if you’re struggling with Facebook, ask yourself: Are you putting in the time and effort to build a recognizable presence and nurture leads? Or are you running the occasional, sporadic campaign and hoping to pull in serious buyers and sellers, only to come up short? If it’s the latter, and if you’re reading this article it probably is, we advise you to be patient and methodical if you decide to move forward with Facebook. In doing so, we guarantee you’ll be more like your successful colleague.
How Homesnap can help with option one
Homesnap automates the Facebook ad buying process, so agents don’t have to create ads from scratch or have an extensive knowledge of digital marketing. And because we can leverage consumer data from the millions of homebuyers and sellers who use the Homesnap app, we can target higher-intent consumers with far more precision than DIY alternatives.
We’ll create customized and optimized ads on your behalf—copy and imagery included—and as you continue advertising on Facebook, our digital marketing experts will work behind the scenes to calibrate your campaigns accordingly, ensuring you’re giving yourself the best chance to hone in on the ideal audience and nurture low-intent leads to high-intent ones.
You’ll have to do the qualification and follow up on your own. But for that, there’s…
Option Two: Skip the above steps entirely
Not every agent—especially higher-performing ones—have the time to (re)calibrate their marketing to pinpoint audiences and track and qualify leads. That’s why Homesnap introduced Homesnap Concierge, a fully managed advertising platform and lead qualification service.
Following a year of research and development, we worked out the best ad types, designs, and content types to serve hyper-targeted and personalized ads that nurture and attract only the most relevant buyers and sellers. Each month, our dedicated and experienced Concierge marketing team—supported by our Concierge-only, in-house machine learning algorithms—will optimize and run your advertising campaigns on Facebook (and we’ll even optimize your ads to Google, Instagram, and Waze)*.
Then, our team will do all the slog of lead qualification and nurture for you. We’ll send you the qualified, hot leads right away—so you won’t miss them—and continue to nurture the low-intent leads until they are ready to convert. It’s like having your own personal marketing and sales staff.
You’ll have full transparency into the process. We’ll share key metrics — number of leads processed, our conversations with them, lead contact information, qualification details, all leads acquired, and more — so you can follow us every step of the way.
Option one or two?
So, which solution should you choose? It really depends on your goals.
Homesnap Pro Ads are ideally suited for newer agents or those who don’t fully understand the ins and outs of sophisticated Facebook marketing—i.e., creating and optimizing an ad, retargeting an audience, understanding and taking advantage of Lookalike Audiences—and are looking for a provider to help them ensure they’re putting their best foot forward and getting the most bang for their buck. You can even opt for our Subscribe and Save option, so you’ll always have ads working on your behalf. The only drawback is having to do lead qualification and follow up yourself—and even that’s less tedious when you’re starting with Homesnap’s buyer and seller data.
On the other hand, if you’re a high-performing agent and are looking for a set-it-and-forget-it solution, Homesnap Concierge will handle everything for you. You’ll have a dedicated team of marketers working on your behalf, a dedicated Concierge manager available to assist you with any needs you might have, and your ads will be optimized and run across networks like Google, Instagram, and Waze in addition to Facebook*. And, as we mentioned, our Concierge team will do all the lead qualification and nurturing for you. Really, all you have to do is open your Concierge dashboard and go close the hot leads.
*Homesnap Concierge works across multiple networks – such as Facebook, Google, and Instagram – to get you the best leads. As Homesnap Concierge is not an automated, one-size-fits-all solution, each and every campaign is unique.
Our team of digital marketing experts is constantly iterating, seeking out the ideal combination of networks to reach the maximum number of highly motivated buyers and sellers. At any given moment, that could mean a heavy emphasis on Facebook; more budget toward Google; or an even split across Facebook, Google, and Instagram.