Tag : facebook-ads

post image

211: Will Facebook Handcuff Your Real Estate Advertising?

Last week, Facebook released its new advertising restrictions for residential real estate. This applies only for residential properties and will not impact land, commercial, or industrial properties. It will probably affect farms and recreational properties but only for ads showing or mentioning a residence. As you can see in the screen capture below, marketers can no longer:
• target geographically in less than a 15-mile radius
• limit age of audience in any way
• use lookalike audiences
• use past saved audiences

The greatest lost for my clients will be the lookalike audience. Auction marketers will not be able to replicate a list of past bidders, a purchased list of people based on specific qualifications, or the traffic visiting an auction. All of these are now considered discriminatory practices by Facebook thanks to the influence of legislators, judges, pundits, and possibly plaintiffs. (Google will likely follow Facebook’s lead because of these factors.)

This will radically impact how residential real estate advertising can be targeted and may significantly change your cost per click and cost per landing page view. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to handcuff you. Here are three ways to adapt to this change to gain a competitive edge over those who don’t.

Don’t Panic.

Most residential real estate is bought by someone local. In my weekly experience with residential real estate auctions on Facebook, my untargeted ads to just anyone living within a radius regularly outperform most of my targeted ads. At some point, Facebook will disallow any uploaded list and maybe even people who like your Facebook page. Until that day, take advantage of the options still on the table.

Buy Bigger Lists.

Advertisers are still allowed to purchase lists, upload them, and have Facebook match as many of the people on the list as possible. So, you can still target people who own specific amounts of acreage, people with certain wealth criteria, and people who work in industries related to real estate (developers, builders, real estate investment trusts, etc.). Now, instead of buying a small list and having Facebook multiply the lookalikes, you might need to buy bigger lists. So, your Facebook budgets will need to reflect that cost. Before uploading those lists to Facebook, remove all columns except first name, last name, city, state, zip, phone number, and email address. Facebook is scanning the lists for discriminatory information. Also, several data brokerage companies offer a service to create lookalike lists of your in-house lists for a fee.

Write Targeted Copy.

Since certain buyer pools are off the table from an audience perspective, use the advertising text that appeals only to your intended recipients of each ad. You can still write to investors, brokers, and end users. (See a residential real estate example of this here.) Facebook’s new text limit will require succinct writing, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Thankfully, all of your competition has to play by the same rules. So, learning how to play within them can give you a leg up on other auction and real estate companies. Even with these restrictions, Facebook will continue to be more efficient than newsprint and direct mail—and probably television, radio, and web banner ads, too. The sky isn’t falling. It’s just a little more likely to rain on your parade.

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com

post image

210: Facebook Wants Advertisers to Cut to the Chase

Last week, Facebook began rolling out a new advertiser restriction, which has already impacted my clients’ accounts. It will most likely be the biggest change in years for marketers on the platform. After Facebook’s analytics showed audiences responding poorly to verbose ads, they cut the visible amount of text available in an ad. Now, audiences will see three lines of text instead of seven above the photo, slideshow, or video content. (The character limit of the headline and subhead underneath remain the same.) That’s 57% less text above the image area!

Advertisers will have a choice between getting their copy to fit neatly into three lines of Facebook text or having a two-line preview with a “Read more…” link underneath those two lines that will expand to the full seven lines of text. This has been how the ads have shown on Instagram for more than a year. So, now both platforms will incentivize advertisers to hook consumers in two or three short sentences—like Google has been doing for two decades.

Who This Benefits

With less text to read, advertisers will be pressed to fit the American consumer attention span. Those who adapt to this space will hold a competitive advantage over those who don’t. For auctioneers who focus on the asset’s benefits and the audience’s perceived need, this will help them get more and cheaper clicks than bid callers who lead with “AUCTION!” Online auctioneers will benefit, because they can shorten auction information and calls to action to just “Bid now,” or “Bidding now open.”

Who This Hurts the Most

Auctions with a diverse quantity of asset categories will feel this pinch more than any other auction type. Large estates, business liquidations, and tax-delinquency auctions will prove the most difficult to describe in the short space. Offline auctions will have to choose between selling the event or selling the assets well.

How to Minimize the Limitation  

THINK LIKE A SIGN MAKER.

Ask yourself what would be most important to say if you had only three to five seconds—because you do. Use only enough text to generate a motivation to click. If someone’s not hooked on the headline, the secondary and tertiary details won’t sell them anyway.

LEVERAGE COLLAGES.

For the past four years I’ve been using collages instead of single images to maximize my advertising copy, especially on auctions with a variety of assets. Facebook’s image window is 1,200 x 628 pixels. I’ve created templates for three, four, five, and six photos to appear together. Facebook allows advertisers to select up to six of these collages per ad. Facebook’s artificial intelligence engine determines which collage(s) will get the most clicks and most efficient traffic for each audience and then adapts the ads to display the top-performing one(s). Having spent almost a million dollars on Facebook advertising, I’ve found that these collages outperform slideshows and videos just short of 100% of the time.

DON’T PUT TEXT ON YOUR PHOTOS.

You can’t cheat the system by putting text somewhere else. Facebook penalizes performance of ads with text embedded in the images—if they approve the ads at all. If you put text in your videos, use it only as captions. Facebook has revealed that you have seven seconds to hook 75% of their users and less than fifteen seconds on the rest. Show the property instead of headlines, your company logo, or a cameo of you talking about the property. 80%of Facebook users view videos on mute.

USE MORE AUDIENCES

Rather than generic text that tries to attract a range of different buyer interests, write succinct copy to each buyer group in separate ad sets. I’ve seen success with this tactic. With a brick ranch, for instance, you might target audiences of:
• investors with “Buy more cash flow.”
• brokers with “We pay buyer brokers.”
• end users with “Buy a home on YOUR budget!”
• flippers with “Make quick sweat equity.”

While this change is inconvenient for almost all of us, it creates another Darwinian opportunity for professional marketers to separate themselves from those unwilling to adapt. Commissions are at stake, if not business models. Whether you outsource your social media or handle it in-house, you’ll be best served by viewing the asset through your buyers’ eyes instead of your own—and then using as few words and characters as possible to sell them.

Stock images purchased from iStockPhoto.com

post image

207: 5 Ways to Get More Clicks from Facebook Video Ads

While photo-based ads typically outperform video and slideshow ads for my clients, I have seen videos deliver significant website traffic for some auctions. If you do reminder ads to pixel traffic, a slideshow or video can add value by mixing some variety into your second interaction with potential buyers. If you’re using video on your website, anyway, it’s worth experimenting with video ads and even A/B testing them with photo-based ads. Your videos will perform much better both in those tests and in general, if they follow the following guidelines. 

Use short videos.

I know you paid a lot for that drone or for that drone vendor. There might be more than 600 lots or a huge variety of items in your catalog. But “ain’t nobody got time for that.” 

You've Got 15 Seconds

Facebook recommends videos of 15 seconds or less, and they don’t even allow videos longer than 30 seconds on Instagram. That’s probably because their study with Nielson showed “that up to 47% of the value in a video campaign was delivered in the first three seconds, while up to 74% of the value was delivered in the first ten.”1

Lead with the buyer interest.

Don’t be like most of the auction industry. Do not start with 
• your company logo (which already shows above every Facebook ad), 
• the word “auction”—let alone “real estate auction” or “farm equipment auction”
• the estate name, or 
• the auction date.

If you’ve got three seconds to grab a buyer, lead with what they care about: the asset, the problem the asset will solve, or the future version of themselves with the asset. If you feel absolutely undeterred to include all of that tertiary content, there’s plenty of room for it in the headline, sub headline, and advertising copy spaces Facebook provides for all video ads.

Don’t depend on sound.

Admit it: we’re all scrolling Facebook in places and situations where we don’t want others to hear the videos in our streams. According to Hootsuite, 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound. 2 Facebook reports that 80% of their users have negative reactions to videos that play loudly when sound wasn’t expected. 1 So, take advantage of captions, or use the included headline, sub headline, and advertising copy space to convey your message.

Mobile Shopping

Show the assets, not the salesman.

Unless you’re a celebrity—sorry: none of you reading this are (neither am I)—people aren’t buying anything because of our faces. You might think you’re the exception to this rule. You’re not. Neither is that car dealer that interrupts your football games. Our reputations and brands matter but not until someone is already interested in a purchase. Show people what they want: the asset or what the asset will do for them. If you’ve got the budget, celebrity endorsements do work—just typically not for selling haybines, excavators, real estate, or machine shop metal brakes.

Optimize for landing page views.

Most business people who post videos on Facebook do them on their business’ Facebook page. That doesn’t hurt anything. (I’ve been asked that question.) Boosting or promoting those posts allows you to optimize the ad for likes, comments, and shares. So, Facebook shows them to people who are likely to like, comment, and share. My clients, though—especially the ones with online bidding available—pay me to get bidders off of Facebook and over to their website. To optimize for that, you’ll want to create a Facebook ad from either Ads Manager or Business Manager. There, you can optimize the video for link clicks or—even better—landing page views. So, Facebook will show the ads first to those most likely to click or go to your website. (A landing page view requires the consumer to wait for the page on your site to load before clicking back. Landing page view optimization requires a Facebook pixel installed on your website.)

Get More Mobile Clicks

If you play with Facebook videos, play by the rules. You’ll look to consumers like a digital native and a professional brand. More importantly, your cost per click will plummet. That will allow your video content to be seen by hundreds or thousands of more people for the same cost.

Stock images purchased from iStockPhoto.com.

1 “Capture Attention with Updated Features for Video Ads,” Facebook.com, February 10, 2016.

2 ”Silent Video: How to Optimize Facebook Video to Play Without Sound,” by Christina Newberry, Hootsuite.com, May 2, 2017.

post image

Facebook’s New Targeting Tool Comes with a Catch

For several years, advertising agency publications have been complaining about transparency and accuracy of Facebook’s self-reported results. I dismissed those headlines as Fortune 500 problems until an email from Don, one of my Kentucky clients.

Don asked me why there was such a big disparity between how many visitors his Google Analytics had shown to originate from Facebook and how many Facebook had claimed. I answered something along the lines of these points:

• the difference lay in how both entities define a click/view/visit;

• I would take Google’s word over Facebook’s stats; and

• the true numbers should still be somewhat proportional to each other.

In my post-campaign correspondence with clients since that first email from Don, I’ve often advised clients that they need to compare the results that Facebook reports with what their Google Analytics shows—and work off Google’s numbers.

Facebook wasn’t trying to mislead advertisers.

It just had limited measurement. One of their newer tools combats that limitation and gives advertisers better data.

Facebook previously counted people who clicked on any or all links in your ads and promoted posts. Four people make that a problem.

(1) the accidental clicker, who clicks right back to their newsfeed after seeing it disappear to a link screen

(2) the impatient clicker, who won’t wait for a page to load (often on cellular service)

(3) the indecisive clicker, who decides they don’t want more information after all

(4) the double clicker, who could be any of the first three but clicks a second time

I’ve been all four of those clickers.

Facebook’s solution was to get what Google has: measurement on the other end of the link.

Facebook built measurement into their pixel code. Now, advertisers who use the free code on their website can give and receive anonymous reporting through that pixel. In so doing, Facebook affirmed the disparity of results but offered transparency. That removed most of the suspicion of inflated reporting.

Then this summer, Facebook added a tool to bridge the gap of the disparity between link clicks and page views. They added the ability for us advertisers to optimize ads for people likely to visit a specific landing page. For auctioneers, this might be an auction even page, online catalog, or even a seller services page.

Facebook Ad Optimization Options

Facebook’s algorithms know who is likely to click on advertising. Up until 2017, that was the best you could get when prospecting. Those algorithms now also know which Facebook users are most likely to visit landing pages—those who do more than just click. What this means is that you can prioritize your ads to serve to the segment of your target audience most likely to actually visit your website.

For the auction industry, that’s what we want. We need to get people off Mark Zuckerberg’s platform and onto ours. We want people to move through our sales funnel, and we want those to be the right people for what we’re selling. The option to optimize for landing page views allows us to find more and/or better needles in the haystack.

This incredible opportunity does come with a catch—four of them, actually.

You must have a Facebook pixel installed on page where traffic is heading.

If you use Facebook’s Business Manager, this would be your business’ pixel. If you use Ads Manager, this would be your pixel and/or your vendor’s pixel. (You can have multiple pixels installed at the same time, and they don’t interfere with each other.) Fewer than half of my clients have installed a pixel of any kind. It’s a shame, too, because the pixel offers some other mind-bending abilities. Rather than insert the pixel code on each page, it’s a lot easier to paste the Facebook pixel code into your site’s header, where it will automatically and invisibly populate to every page on your site.

You must be prepared for fewer clicks from your ads.

I’m only a few months into this tool, but my sample size indicates that these ads will get fewer clicks than ads optimized simply for clicks. They’ll be better clicks from more qualified clickers, because you’ll be paring out the unproductive fluff. Unfortunately, that means that any of your past case studies or results reports that emphasize clicks—inflated numbers—will seem to overpromise results from ads optimized for landing page views. Depending on how many auctions you do a year, it may take a bit to rebuild your case studies for clients.

You’ll have to educate your sellers.

It makes sense to assume that someone who clicks to your website inherently becomes a visitor. Now you know why that isn’t true. So, you’ll have to be careful not to call clicks “people coming to the website.” I used to pass along that assumption—before Don’s email.

You can’t optimize for landing page views when using boosted posts or promoted posts.

Even if you have the pixel installed on your site, you can’t use it to optimize posts for landing page views. You can still use it to create custom audiences and lookalike audiences for promoted posts, but only ads can be optimized for clicks to your website or for landing page views. If you don’t know the difference between an ad and a post, I created this guide for (1) telling them apart and (2) knowing when to use each.

The benefits of optimizing for landing page views outweigh the above considerations. In most situations, the more targeted our audience, the better; and I’ve found Facebook’s algorithms to outperform my educated guesses most of the time. That doesn’t mean I would optimize all my Facebook advertising for landing page views. Each auction and its various target audiences require different goals, and I currently use all five optimization options for ads and posts in different situations. That said, this will probably be my default setting when available going forward.

Get these articles delivered to you.

Don't set a reminder to check the site for new content. Have new content sent to you when it posts.
* = required field
×