Real Estate Advertising on Facebook
by Sebastian Gutierrez
NEW FACEBOOK POLICIES
In response to a lawsuit filed against Facebook on March 19,2019 by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Fair Housing Alliance, Facebook has decided to change its housing advertising policies starting in August 2019. The lawsuit found that advertising administered by the company was potentially abusive in nature. To address the problem, Facebook has now included “special ad categories” when purchasing ads. These “special ad categories” pertain to housing, employment, and credit related ads (HEC for short). Anyone purchasing an ad within the HEC category is required to self-identify the ad using the special ad category.
EFFECTS ON REAL ESTATE ADVERTISING
As a part of the new policy, demographic categories such as gender and age have been removed altogether from real estate ads. This in effect limits your ability to advertise particular properties such as senior communities. Another big change brought on by the new special ad categories are the changes in geographic filters. From now on, an agent is only permitted to target a 15-mile contiguous radius. This in effect limits your ability to pinpoint specific communities or areas of interest. The final major change caused by these new policies are the limitation of the “interests” filters. HEC ads can no longer target people based on interests related to religion, race, gender, etc., in fact the interest that remain available for HEC ads are only related to real estate and a few other broad categories. Additionally, the option to exclude members using selected interests has been removed altogether.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO OPTIMIZE YOUR ADVERTISING?
With all of these new limitations on your marketing capabilities, you may be left asking: “what can I do to effectively market my listings on Facebook?”. Working around these new regulations will to some degree limit your efforts, but we have a few tips to help your ads reach their intended audience. When crafting your ad on Facebook, make sure the description is well written, easy to read and contains all the information pertaining to the listing that can’t be set as filters. If you are advertising a senior community, make sure you specify on the description that the property is for members 55+. This effectively targets specific groups in your audience without breaking the new HEC policies. Another more effective way to effectively target your intended audience is through the use of “custom audiences”. Agents can create custom audiences using various external data such as warm leads, sphere of influence sources, or even from your web site traffic/app traffic. By creating these custom audience you can include or exclude individuals using personal parameters to cater best to your listing.