Even though I don't normally work directly with our clients, I've been in a lot of meetings with property developers over the past year. Having met the marketing teams of these companies for different projects, in different countries, I soon realised that the questions they had were often the same. More importantly, I realised that it would be a great idea to share my knowledge of marketing and of property development marketing with you.
The goal of these articles is to cover all the subjects that matter for the marketing of a new real estate project. For example: SEO, social media ads, which products and services to order, in depth analyses, etc...
In this article I'll cover a subject that is crucial nowadays: Facebook ads.
It's a fact that is a secret to no one: Facebook and more broadly social media platforms have revolutionized marketing. It opened a new world of possibilities for marketers, enabling them to engage with their target audience like never before. But, as the old saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Connecting with your audience appropriately is a must if you want to harness the power of the largest social media platform in the world. Don't worry, that's exactly what I am going to talk about in this article.
Before we get started, I'd like to share a few key statistics that highlight the importance of this indispensable online platform!
Where do ads on Facebook appear? How much do they cost? What do they look like? How does it all work? Before I show you exactly everything you need to know to master the world of Facebook ads, it's important to understand the broader picture.
With more than $27bn in revenue in 2016, Facebook is an advertising giant! You may not know it but all the ads Facebook sells don't appear on Facebook per say. Indeed, the ad you just purchased might run accros Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and the Facebook Audience Network.
What is the Facebook Audience Network?
It is an ad extension that enables your ad to also be placed on Facebook approved third parties such as websites, apps, articles, etc... This network allows you to target a broader audience and improve your ads performances.
Like for any successful marketing campaign, you first have to determine an objective! Facebook allows you to choose from several options.
Which one should you choose? That simply depends on your objective. Now let's take the example of a new development project you are trying to market. I'd recommend going for one of three options:
1) Traffic: this is a great objective if your goal is to simply redirect people to your website. The objective here being mainly informative.
2) Video Views: I chose to highlight this objective because of the importance of video marketing! Facebook is putting an emphasis on video content and it is a great way to create a buzz around your project.
3) Lead Generation: as the name suggest, this is about generating leads for your property development project. It means that you need to have a specific objective behind your campaign, an action you want the visitor to take. For example: sharing their contact information, booking a meeting at your local office, etc...
Creating a well targeted audience is crucial to the success of your campaign. You know it, I know it, even Facebook knows it. Indeed, the social media platform does everything it can to force you to create a cohesive audience. After all, they care about delivering content (whether it is ads or not) that is interesting to their subscribers; it's their core business.
For the sake of this article, let's take a specific example to illustrate the ad creation process. Let's say we are trying to market a new apartment building in the center of London aimed at people working in the financial district.
Each social media platform enables you to target your audience in different ways. For example LinkedIn has the great advantage of enabling you to target your ads at people from specific industries, working in specific jobs, etc. Which, in the example we chose, would come in handy.
When it comes to Facebook, parameters such as the age, education or even company name are very useful to narrow down your target audience.
Now that your objective is clear and audience ready, it's time to think about where you want your ad to be shown. We talked about it in the introduction of this section: you have several options.
First of all, when it comes to devices, select them all. Mobile users are more frequent than desktop ones, not including them could possibly mean a lost in reach.
Secondly, it's time to choose which platforms you want your ad to appear on. For the example previously given, I'd recommend choosing Facebook and the Audience Network. As mentioned earlier, it is a network of third party websites and apps where your ad could appear. It is the opportunity for you to reach your audience outside of Facebook. As the following graph shows, it has been a tremendous success for us in the past.
As you can see, there is a significantly higher click-through-rate and reach for the Audience network compared to Facebook and Instagram. Beware, you cannot select this placement option if you chose the "lead generation" objective!
Finally, if you choose to run your add on the Audience Network, you may want to exclude certain categories of websites. I would recommend excluding all the categories listed (Dating, Debatable social issues, Gambling, Mature and tragedy & conflict). You have to be careful with your brand associations. Running your ads on such websites might be counter-productive.
Choosing the right ad format is crucial for your campaign. We are going to review them all. Using a branding we created here at Drawbotics as well as some of our architectural renderings, we are going to create fake ads to illustrate each format.
The carousel format allows you to create an ad with several scrollable images or videos. This format is great to create user engagement and usually leads to better ad results. The carousel ad is available both on desktop and mobile and can be ran across Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network; which is an undeniable advantage!
A classic when it comes to Facebook ads. The single image ad is popular and used very often. It doesn't require as many images or creative content but isn't as interactive as its counterparts. A beautiful eye-catching visual will be necessary though. You want to trigger an emotion in order to engage with your audience. In my opinion, interior 3D renderings do the trick perfectly, especially with the cocooning trend still going on.
Nowadays videos are the kings of content, it's no different when it comes to ads. This is where a beautiful video animation of your project comes into play.
This ad format is not one I personally recommend choosing. But I have to admit that their slideshow tool isn't too bad. It allows you to create a slideshow based on images or videos, adding fades and even music if desired. It could be an interesting way to create a short video.
The collection is a new ad format launched by Facebook. It is the mix between the carousel and the single image/video formats. It allows you to create a compelling experience for your audience. If someone clicks on your ad he will be redirected to a full page experience where he can explore each apartment (for example) into more details and ultimately visit your website.
This ad format is at the crossroads between the classic formats such as the single image and carousel and the canva (a full page mobile only experience).
For more information about this great new ad format you can visit this Facebook guide.
Canva is an absolutely great ad format that aims at creating a new ad kind of experience for mobile users. Yes, it is only destined at mobile users. On one hand, not being able to target desktop users could be a problem. On the other hand, it might be a great idea to create two separate campaigns; one for mobile, the other for desktop.
When you decide to create a Canva you have two options. Either you can select a template and add your images, text and videos accordingly. Or you can create your own Canva from scratch. If you choose the latter, you will have access to a great little builder where you can easily drag and drop different categories of content (text, images, videos, carousels, etc...) to create your ad experience.
As for all the other formats make sure your videos aren't too long, that your content is in high definition and that you have a sufficient amount of calls to action. Just like an artist would, this Canva allows you to express a certain level of creativity that most social media ads can't match.
The last step before showing your ad to the world (or at least your well targeted audience) is choosing how you are going to pay for it. On Facebook and other social medias for that matter, the payment for the ad is based on its results, you have two options: CPC and CPM.
As the name suggests, if you select this payment option you are going to be charged for each click that occurs on your ad.
If you choose this option you are going to pay per 1000 impressions on your ad.
That depends on a variety of factors. From the objective of your campaign to the size of your audience and the type of ad you are running. Usually, experienced advertisers are going to select CPM because they can optimize their ads to the point where they generate enough clicks per 1000 impressions that is costs less than going with a CPC strategy. Again, it shows the importance of having beautiful visuals...
Tracking your results is crucial, as marketers we all know that. The question becomes: how do you track them? You have several options but I chose to showcase two in particular.
Facebook offers its very own ad reporting system that allows you to go in depth and check an impressive number of metrics.
Here is the example of an ad we ran on Facebook. The goal of the ad was to highlight our SEO guide for Real Estate. This ad only ran for a week. As you can see, we used the carousel format and decided to tell a story with the help of custom made visuals.
The first thing you need to check is that you installed Google Analytics correctly. You can then use the Google Analytics URL Builder Facebook provides. Once you've created the URL you can use it as the link your ad redirects to. That way you will be able to track the results in Google Analytics as well.
I personally like to use both to double check the results Facebook reports. There is just one downside: the Google reports are not usually very precise.
Before we conclude this guide to Facebook ads, I would like to give you a few creative tips to help you increase the engagement on your ads and therefore your ROI.
If there is a post you've shared on your Facebook page and that has been liked quite a lot, shared and commented on, it might be a good indicator of the value of the said post and could possibly be a great advertising opportunity. It is always something to keep an eye out for.
Facebook 360 photos and videos allow you to share 360 content on your Facebook page. This is a great opportunity for a creative ad with high engagement potential.
This is how you could use a 3D tour outside of your website. If you ordered yours with Drawbotics you can simply ask us to help you implement such content on social media. Next to the link with the complete 3D tour we could also provide you with the appropriate file for Facebook and you'd simply have post it.
After that, simply go back to the first tip and boost your post.
Facebook calls it split testing but essentially it's the exact same thing. It allows you to test the same ad with two different audiences. In the past this had to be done manually, that meant creating two separate ads and so forth. Now, thanks to this new feature, you simply have to create two different audiences to test your ad on and ultimately focus on the one that's working the best.
I hope you found this guide useful and make sure to leave a comment to ask a question or simply share a tip of yours.