In early 2014, Facebook launched new demographic data on all users within the United States (not available in Canada at this time). Behind the scenes, Facebook partnered with three different data companies to provide the data.

Tech-savvy agents were able to produce and run advertisements that were relevant to the audience. A real estate agent who wanted more listing appointments could run a home valuation ad that targeted only homeowners. Mortgage lenders with a first-time-buyer loan program could market to renters who were in relationships and who had a steady source of income — and they could also avoid marketing to someone who recently started paying a mortgage.

January 2015 brought several changes to Facebook advertising. One of those changes, in particular, brought many Facebook ads to a screeching halt, and thousand of real estate agents have no idea why clicks to their house value ads stopped suddenly during the afternoon of Jan. 21.

I noticed the pattern among dozens of Facebook accounts that my company manages. Upon further investigation, we found that Facebook no longer had the subcategory of homeownership called “price range.”

For at least the past six months, we could run advertisements to homeowners in the $100,000 to $200,000 range and in every $100,000 range leading up to the over $2,000,000 category. In several markets around the United States, agents were able to avoid running ads to lower price ranges. Today, that level of specificity is no longer possible.

When Facebook removed the data, it did not make any announcements or adjustments to the ads. Agents affected by the change were not being charged for clicks, but by the same token, they were not generating any clicks because they were now marketing to a demographic that no longer existed, according to Facebook. There is no automatic resolution to the problem at the time of this writing.

If you never used the home price range category, then your ads are likely running as normal. If you did see a dramatic drop in clicks starting on Jan. 21, the remedy is to resave your ad and check back the next day to make sure that clicks are happening again as normal.

Next time, we’ll examine how to block other real estate agents from seeing your advertisements on Facebook. This is beneficial for decreasing the cost of “curiosity clicks” from your competition and for preventing copycat advertisements.

John Pohly is an author, coach and thought leader for Internet marketing and online conversion funnels.

Email John Pohly.

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