Low Budget Facebook Campaigns Ryan George

232: How to Target Buyers on Low Budget Real Estate Campaigns

In July of 2019, Facebook changed its rules about advertising employment, financing, and real estate to comply with federal anti-discrimination guidelines. When that happened, we advertisers lost the ability to target real estate ads to specific demographics like age, gender, wealth, occupation, home value, hobbies, affiliations, etc. That left us with eight kinds of audiences we could still use. For the most-targeted audiences, though, the best option requires purchasing a list from a database broker.

The problem is that sometimes our real estate value or seller budget doesn’t give us a big enough Facebook budget to purchase a more targeted audience. Then what? How do we work around that hurdle? 

Low Budget Real Estate Ads on Facebook

Here’s what I do.

First, I build the campaign as a two-stage process. I advertise the first round to the general public, my client’s past website visitors, and/or their past Facebook interactions. Then, I have Facebook replicate either (1) the customer’s website traffic to this auction’s page—if they have a Facebook pixel installed—or (2) the people who interacted with the first round ads on Facebook. Or both. For the second round of advertising, Facebook finds the common denominators of the people who self-selected as prospects in the first round and then builds an audience of people who share those common denominators. So, it duplicates only interested parties—and that’s better than a purchased list because you can’t buy a list that’s 100% interested parties.

Second, I rely on headlines for targeting in both rounds. Facebook’s black-box algorithm wants our ads to align our content with their users’ interests. Users get less annoyed by ads that align with their interests and are thus more likely to remain on the platform where Facebook can serve more ads. So, even first-round ads somewhat adapt to the audience of those interacting with them based on the content of the ads.

The way to get people to interact with your auction ads is to show them assets they want and use headlines that speak to the benefit of acquiring that asset. Buyers want real estate—even the same kind of real estate or even the same property—for different reasons. It doesn’t take much space to bait the hook with those primal desires.


  • Great for entertaining!
  • [name] School District
  • Quiet neighborhood!
  • Enjoy wooded privacy!
  • More lake life in your life!
  • Close to [hospital/univesrity/tourist destination]
  • Buy it at YOUR price!


  • Buy more cash flow!
  • Build your cash flow!
  • Ready for tenets!
  • Turnkey rental unit!
  • Expand your holdings!
  • Close to campus!
  • Real estate at your price!
  • Buy it at YOUR price!


  • Great business location!
  • High Traffic Location
  • Prime Intersection 
  • Make money here!
  • Expand your operation!
  • Next to [name] Hospital
  • Buy it at YOUR price!


  • 2022 crop rights!
  • Premium Loam Soil
  • Fantastic Base Yields!
  • Cropland at your price!
  • Tillable Acreage Auction
  • Buy land at your price!
  • Buy it at YOUR price!


  • Sportsman’s Paradise!
  • Prime Hunting Land
  • Long river frontage!
  • Buy scenic seclusion!
  • Buy wooded privacy!
  • Ideal Hunting Camp
  • Tag big bucks here!
  • Abundant Wildlife
  • Bring your horses!
  • Buy it at YOUR price!

The people who respond to these headlines are your prospective buyers. So are the lookalikes of these people that Facebook can find. And you can superimpose those common denominators over any geographic area you’d like. I usually save the widest geographical coverage area for the second round of real estate campaigns. That’s how so many of my clients have seen their auction properties sell to out-of-state buyers this year—and not just seasonal and recreational properties.

With Facebook’s dynamic content tools, you can test up to five headlines and five subheads per ad and have Facebook automatically adapt the ads as they run to favor the headline(s) and subhead(s) that are drawing the most clicks and other interactions. I also use a variable-image tool as well, giving the artificial intelligence engine up to 250 different versions of each ad to test, analyze, and adapt to get the most amount of clicks at the lowest-available cost per click. So, even the first round of ads can hone its content to achieve efficient traffic.

By the way, this method also works well for advertising non-real estate assets for which Facebook doesn’t have pertinent interest or occupational categories. You can market to more general audiences with asset-specific headlines that find the subset of the bigger audience that is interested in what you’re selling. Just as with real estate, you can run a second-stage ad that targets the lookalikes of those early responders.

You don’t need huge budgets to get efficient traffic to real estate auctions. Headlines are free. Good photography can be free or cheap. When you don’t waste space on auction details and focus on asset details and selling points, you find your prospects more efficiently and in greater quantity.

More and better traffic leads to more bidders. More bidders lead to more bidding. More bidding leads to higher sale prices and bigger commissions. And you can generate a lot of that “more,” higher,” and “bigger just by making your headlines more aligned with your buyer’s interests.

Images purchased from iStockPhoto.com

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