230: The Real Estate Shots That Get the Most Clicks on Facebook
Three years ago, I went fishing for the first time in my adult life. My buddies wanted to introduce me to fly fishing. So, we booked a weekend of guided fishing in drift boats. On the first day, I caught more fish than anyone and netted all four types of trout known to inhabit the rivers of Paradise Valley. Meanwhile, the experienced fly fishermen in the boat with the other guide couldn’t match my beginner’s luck. They groused later that their guide didn’t adapt his bait to the conditions as our guide did.
The next morning proved their assertion correct. We surrendered our guide to the other boat and got a new one, who happened to be a solid guide too. We caught enough fish to stay engaged with the river, but the boat with our former guide absolutely smoked us. My brother-in-law caught 16 fish, including the full Yellowstone Grand Slam.
The guide from our first day and their second day could look at the grass on the banks and tell when to switch lures. An hour later, he knew to switch to something bigger or smaller—and where to cast to take advantage of that adjustment. He knew the insect shapes and sizes that accompany specific weather and seasons. He’d drifted the rivers of southern Montana so long that the cracks in his weathered skin seemed like maps of the watershed in which he worked.
I’m no river sage, but I’ve spent almost $2 million on Facebook advertising. Thousands of auctions into this livelihood, I’ve tried all different kinds of lures while fishing for bidders. Thanks to gracious and patient clients, I’ve been able to test different headlines, different imagery, and different ad delivery formats. One thing I’ve discovered is that prospective real estate buyers don’t respond equally to the various types of visuals in your ads. In fact, there seem to be defined strata in terms of efficiency of results.
From my experience here are the four types of imagery from worst cost per click to best.
I don’t know if video performs so poorly for my clients’ ads because of the production quality of the video, because the videos typically don’t follow Facebook’s recommendations for video ads, or because of something else. But video ads typically have a cost per click multiple times that of photo-based ads. They’re usually not even close.
Generally, my clients use aerials when they don’t have ground shots of the subject property or when winter snow hides valuable details. Sometimes, they use aerials because the properties are in dire need of—well—redevelopment. I can’t tell you why aerials perform worse than the next two options, but my guess is that the detail that makes aerial imagery valuable is mostly lost at the scale in which it’s seen on our newsfeeds.
#2 Drone Shot
It makes sense that images from drones outperform aerials because they’re usually captured closer to the subject property. Also, they put the property in context with an oblique view. Property lines pop with a more dimensional perspective, and the height of capture makes the surrounding scenery look more beautiful thanks to that horizon line. If a property is close to a beach, a lake, a commercial area, or other landmarks, a drone shot shows proximity you don’t have to mention in the ad’s restricted text space.
#1 Eye-Level Photo
Humans are accustomed to seeing properties at eye level. We also want a close-up view—especially within the tight confines of a social media ad. Buyers want to know as much what they’re in for before they click that link. That doesn’t mean the photos need to be boring MLS inventory shots. Show that sweeping view from the porch or along the fence line. Take the photo from the top floor of that commercial building or the top of the grain elevator. Snap a field picture through the windshield of the combine or from the deer stand. Take a picture from a canoe looking back at the lake house or at sunset with all of the lights on. There are lots of ways—even with our phones—to take interesting images that will capture attention. But even the mundane standard photos will typically outperform aerials, videos, and even drone shots.
It’s good to try new lures. I recommend it, actually—as long as you’re testing it and measuring it against your baselines. The differences between properties can make it tough for an auctioneer or REALTOR® to get enough apples to compare with other apples. From the scale of my time on the Facebook river, though, I can highly recommend your imagery tackle box holds more eye-level and drone phots than other lures.