Tag : past-bidders

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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

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209: Get More Wealth-Qualified Bidders to Your Real Estate Auction

Just about every week, I get a humorous answer to the question, “Who would you like to target with the auction advertising?” 

The answer goes something like, “Someone thinking of buying a vacation home” or “Someone interested in 40 acres” or “Someone who wants a hobby farm.”

Rich Real Estate Prospects

Those answers are funny because we can’t buy a list of people who have wants, wishes, and dreams. Even Facebook with all of its big brotherness and artificial intelligence doesn’t have a category for people thinking about buying real estate. Even as an advertiser, I’m cool with that. I mean—I don’t know about you—but I’m glad our thoughts aren’t harvested, cataloged, and sold to advertisers.

We can advertise where people search for these kinds of properties—both search engines like Google and asset sites like LoopNet.com, LakeHouse.com, or LandAndFarm.com. One of the downsides of that approach, though, is that in most cases your auction property can be found only when the prospect is actively searching or subscribing to emails. While those searchers are highly qualified prospects, not every potential buyer is searching during an auction’s short marketing timeframe. And some dreamers and wishers and wanters haven’t started digitally searching yet.

So, we’re left with disruptive advertising methods, aimed at people who are qualified to bid but more obliquely interested. The primary qualification we as an industry have typically leveraged is income or net worth. That’s because interest in a property without the financial ability to purchase is of no value to us or our sellers. We don’t want a lot of unqualified web traffic, especially since it can negatively interfere with our remarketing efforts.

Well then, how do we reach wealth-qualified prospects? Here are the four ways my clients and I find them.

Buy some secret sauce.

On August 2, 2018, Facebook withdrew third party data from our advertiser options. This included the valuable credit bureau criteria like net worth, income, home value, and mortgage applications. Those third party sources like AccuData, Acxiom, Equifax, Experian, and InfoUSA still have that data available for purchase. (One list I’ve found very valuable is the absentee acreage owners list, which can be sorted by county and even by various acreage thresholds.) We can use the lists we purchase for direct mail, Facebook, and Google audiences. Facebook and Google allow us to create lookalikes of the uploaded list. So, we don’t have to purchase huge lists to advertise to huge audiences. What’s been amazing to me over the years is how much more effective those lookalike audiences are than the original lists.

Use a time machine.

If you do a lot of auctions in a particular real estate segment, one of the best ways to find new buyers is to generate lookalikes of your bidders from past auctions. Several data companies can match your in-house list to their database and find lookalike profiles to the people they could match. You can then purchase that list for mailing and in some cases even emailing. If you’re not looking for an email or direct mail list, I’d go the free route. You can also upload you past bidder list to Facebook and Google to create lookalike audiences for your digital advertising. You don’t pay for that service, just the ads targeting the final audience.

Change the headline instead of the audience.

When we don’t have budget or access to the above audiences, I have tried Facebook’s real estate investor categories. “But this isn’t an investment property,” my clients have emailed me. They’re not wrong. But what do real estate investors have? Capital. Or access to financing. The headlines change from “Buy more cash flow” to “Own the home you deserve” and from “Make money with this unit” to “Luxury living on your budget.” In our flip-this-house culture, not all real estate investors are liquid; and not all are looking for their long-term home. But a subset is in our target audience; and we’re almost always chasing a subset of whatever audience we’re targeting anyway.

Exploit the power of cloning.

Once you’ve deployed any or all of the three options above, finding wealth-qualified prospects gets easier. Using the (free) Facebook and Google pixels on your website, you can have the world’s largest marketing engines find people who look just like those who investigated your auction’s page on your site. If you’ve attracted the right people in the early stages of your campaign, the artificial intelligence will multiply your best prospects. For advertising to sellers, this Google option can be valuable. For short-term auction campaigns, I recommend the Facebook platform—again, for the disruptive nature of its ads. Like Google, Facebook ads show on other news and pop culture sites; so, your prospect doesn’t have to be checking their Facebook app or newsfeed to see your ads.

For all of these audiences, you can sort them further on Facebook by interest categories. So, you can take any of these lists and sift them by people who like horses or hunting or boating or whatever pastime connects with your property. All of these lists can be sorted by age, though Facebook will soon be doing away with age sorting on real estate ads

Never in human history has targeting thousands of wealthy people been so easy or inexpensive. Thankfully, that means we can get better results for our sellers in shorter time frames and on smaller budgets. And now more of us small business professionals can look like marketing geniuses to our sellers.

Stock photos purchased from iStockPhoto.com

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