What Changed With Real Estate Ads On Facebook And How To Deal With It

Stevan Kobiljski
Apr 1 · 3 min read

If you’ve been using Facebook ads for promoting property related content, you’re probably freaking out about all the changes that we have coming. We thought 2018. was bad, but will 2019. be the end of real estate Facebook ads?


Do you remember the good old times when you could target Homeowners who are Likely to move and feel comfortable your ads are being shown to the right people? Or maybe the option to target people who can actually afford the house or condo you’re offering?

Some of the previous targeting options removed by Facebook in August 2018.

These were all options we were taking for granted until that last third of 2018. when Facebook decided to remove most of its partner categories due to allegations of discriminatory advertising.

“We’re committed to protecting people from discriminatory advertising on our platforms. That’s why we’re removing over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse,” was what Facebook’s blog post said. “While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important. This includes limiting the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.”

For people who were using Facebook for a while, these changes didn’t come as too big of a shock since they already had a seasoned Pixel and enough data to create high-quality custom and lookalike audiences.

For the people who weren’t ready, this was a nightmare.

In time, people learned the importance of quality content and funnels. The idea went from “Let’s target the exact person we think will convert.” to “Let’s create an amazing piece of content that our ideal prospect won’t be able to resist, capture their email and number, and then use different methods to qualify them.” This was something that made marketers get more creative.

It looked something like this:

· Figure out the age and location of your prospects and use that as your main targeting

· Maybe test out interests like Zillow, realtor.com, Trulia etc.

· Create a downloadable PDF, Property List, Checklist…

· Capture their info and put them through an email sequence or qualification call

· Keep track of leads in your CRM for slow, medium and fast converters.

This approach offered a wider net with which we could capture leads, but also greatly deteriorated lead quality (especially seller leads). Whatever people say — the average conversion rate of these leads within the first 30 days was 1–2% (one or two out of a hundred will actually want to sell their home right away). Nevertheless, the ROI was still there.

Now, there are new rumors. Actually, not even rumors, but facts — Facebook is removing demographic targeting for property advertising. What does this mean?

It means that you won’t be able to target based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or even zip code. According to Facebook:

“Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall. Multicultural affinity targeting will continue to be unavailable for these ads. Additionally, any detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes will also be unavailable.”

As we see it, there are two ways to go from here:

1. Work on even better lead magnets (blog posts, checklists and all that good stuff) that will attract more and better quality leads, make your ads more eye-catching, ad copy more appealing and an overall better experience (this is what Facebook actually wants and what you try to do anyway — at least you should). This way you are sacrificing a bit more marketing dollars because of poorly targeted audiences (actually you won’t target at all), but the ROI should still be there.

2. Use Custom Audiences from website visitors, post engagement or previous clients. If you’d like help getting access to custom audiences for homeowners, pre-movers and so on, click here.