Real Estate Marketing Academy

How to Advertise on Facebook to Grow Your Business in 2014

By Seth Price

Facebook-Advertising-Through-Clouds-SuperfamousStudios-PlacesterWith more than 1 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a social platform that promises a huge reach for advertisers — including those in the real estate space. But what are “Facebook Ads” exactly, how do you set them up, and how do you measure their effectiveness?

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through exactly how to advertise on Facebook and what it takes to make it work for your business.

The Basics

Facebook Ads are paid messages from businesses that can include social context about friends. According to Facebook, the ads are “designed to help advertisers show people ads they find interesting and relevant.” Below is a chart from that provides a simplified, 3-step overview of the advertising process.

how advertising on Facebook works

Using Facebook’s ad targeting system, you can hone in on large segments of consumers by geographic area, age, gender, and other criteria. This means you can reach those people who would be a good fit for your current listing inventory.

Getting Started

The first step to setting up a Facebook Ad is choosing what it is that you want to advertise. Facebook gives you four basic options, which will be discussed in detail below. These options are Pages, Apps, Events, and external websites. To select an advertising option, you first need to click the small gear icon at the top right of your Facebook page and select “Advertise” from the dropdown menu. Next, click the green “Create an Ad” button, and you’ll be prompted to choose one of the following options.

1) Advertising a Page

Facebook offers two main options for advertising a Page. (There are also “Advanced Options,” which we’ll cover a little later). Deciding on which option to go with will depend on the specific results you’re trying to achieve. 

facebook advertise a page

a) Get More Page Likes

Looking to build a bigger Facebook audience? The “Get More Page Likes” route is definitely the way to go. As its name suggests, this type of ad prompts viewers to “like” your Page (the more “likes” you have, the broader your reach will be when you share content). When you create a “Get More Page Likes” ad, the headline should always be the name of the Page you’re promoting. This will ensure that people understand what it is that they’re “liking.” You can choose up to six different images to create a variety of ads at no extra cost (Facebook will automatically deliver the best-performing images/ads). Finally, Facebook will give you 90 characters to customize the body text of your ad.

b) Promote Page Posts

If your goal is to reach a wider audience with specific posts on your Facebook Page, you’ll want to create a “Promote Page Posts” ad. After selecting this ad type, you’ll have the option to select a specific post to promote or you can choose to automatically promote your most recent posts. This latter option will allow you to reach a larger, targeted audience on a regular basis without having to return to the create ads tool.

2) Advertising an App

As is the case when advertising a Page, you have two main options to choose from when advertising an app. While the first option is geared toward growing your user base, the second option is designed to engage your existing users.

facebook advertise an app

a) Get New Users

When creating this type of Facebook Ad, you’ll once again have the option to upload six different images, and Facebook will automatically deliver the options that perform best. You’ll then need to specify the type of app you’re promoting (iOS vs. Android), the name of the app, and a description of your app (130 characters max.). You’ll also need to include the icon image for your app.

b) Increase App Engagement

The creation process for an “Increase App Engagement” ad is identical to the creation process for a “Get New Users” ad. Keep in mind, however, that while a “Get New Users” ad is shown to people who are likely to install your app, an “Increase App Engagement” ad is shown to your existing users (with the goal of encouraging more activity from them.)

3) Advertising an Event

facebook advertise an event

Have an open house, information session, or other scheduled activity coming up? After creating a Facebook Event, you can promote that event using an “Increase Attendance” ad. You’ll once again have the option to upload six different images and you’ll need to specify a headline (which should be the name of your event). You’ll have 90 characters to customize the body text of your ad as well.

Advanced Options

As you may have noticed in the images above, the first three ad types outlined here all have “Advanced Options” that you can specify. By selecting “See Advanced Options,” you’ll be able to manage all of the various creative and bidding options in a single location. Specifically, you can use “Advanced Options” to toggle your bidding method between CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and CPC (cost per click). The difference? With CPM, you’ll be charged every time someone sees your ad. With CPC, you’ll be charged every time someone clicks your ad.

4) Advertising an External Website

In addition to promoting Pages, apps, and events with Facebook Ads, you can use Facebook Ads to promote external websites, such as your business site. After selecting the site you want to promote, you’ll need to write a headline, create body text, and add an image. If the external website you’re advertising is also listed as the website for a Page, App, or Event, you can keep the “Related Page” box checked. This will pull in social activity about your site.

If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.

— David Ogilvy

Sponsored Stories

A sponsored story is a message from a Facebook user (visible to friends) about their engagement with a particular Page, App, Event, or external website that is being advertised. By checking the “Sponsored Stories” box when creating a Facebook Ad, sponsored stories will be included as part of your ad at no additional cost (they’ll share budget with your ad to deliver the best possible results).

Selecting Your Audience

After you’ve decided on the type of Facebook Ad you want to create, you’ll need to select the audience that will see that ad. From a real estate perspective, one of the most important demographics that you can specify is location. You can do this at the country, state/province, city, and zip code level.


selecting your audience facebook ads

In addition to location, Facebook allows you to specify age, gender, interests, education, languages, and more. As you narrow down your audience, an approximate number of people that your ad will reach will appear on the right side of the ad creation page.

Publishing Your Ad

If this is your first Facebook Ad, or your new ad has a different goal than your previous ads, you’ll want to create a new campaign for it. You can accomplish this by simply creating a new campaign name and then setting the campaign budget and schedule. (Alternatively, you can select an existing campaign if your ad has the same goal.)

facebook ad campaign

When setting your budget, you can choose “Per day,” which means the amount you enter will be the maximum you spend each day, or you can choose “Lifetime Budget,” which means the amount you enter will be the maximum you spend throughout the duration of the campaign. When setting the campaign schedule, you can choose to have the campaign run continuously (until your budget is depleted), or you can specify a start and end date.

After you’ve made all of your selections, click the green “Review Order” button at the bottom of the ad creation page and make sure all of the information being displayed is correct. If it is, click the blue “Place Order” button and you’ll be off to the races!

publishing a facebook ad

Measuring Performance

Once you have your ad campaign up and running, make sure to monitor its performance in the Facebook Ads Manager. This will allow you to see how your ad is performing against your goal and will let you calculate your ad’s ROI (return on investment). More specifically, the Ads Manager can show you…

  1. Actions: Page likes, post engagement, Page engagement, app installs, app engagement, etc.
  2. Reports: The default report will show you general metrics over the last seven days for your active campaigns. However, you can also create your own reports, specify metrics, and schedule those reports to be emailed to you.
  3. Ad level reporting: This section allows you to look at your bid and price for each individual ad or sponsored story, as well as other ad-specific metrics such as your cost per action (CPA) for each ad.
  4. Response graph: This graph allows you to track the performance of your campaign by clicks, click-through rate (CTR), impressions and actions over time.

facebook reporting graph

Let me know what you think of this in-depth format. We’re trying to really delve into some topics so you have all the ammo you need to succeed. Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.

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