Facebook has unveiled its first ad product designed specifically for the real estate industry.
“Dynamic Ads for Real Estate” allows a brokerage to advertise relevant listings to Facebook and Instagram users who have previously searched for properties on the brokerage’s website.
With a Facebook employee telling Inman that the online giant is “betting big” on the industry, it could be the first of many real estate-related projects for the social network that recently hit 2 billion monthly users.
The new ad product mimics the type of advertising that Amazon excels at: promoting goods related to what a consumer has already purchased or looked at on the internet (like the abandoned contents of your online shopping cart) — and in this case, for-sale properties, said Facebook’s Keith Watts, who oversees projects covering the real estate and financial services industries.
The ad product requires integration between Facebook’s ad platform and the brokerage advertiser’s listing data and search system.
Facebook will glean a prospective buyer’s property search preferences by looking at their search activity on the brokerage’s site.
Then it will automatically select listings from the brokerage’s inventory that fit the buyer’s search preferences and present those listings in the buyer’s Facebook or Instagram feed in a slideshow format.
The product works best for brokerages with 100 listings or more.
“For the folks that can have that amount of volume, we think it’s going to work really well, and once it’s set up, it’s pretty much automatic, you don’t have to spend a lot of manpower to keep the system up and running,” Watts said.
Dynamic Ads for Real Estate is also a natural fit for listing portals.
Apartment Guide and Recruit Sumai Company, the operator of a Japanese listing portal, both reported positive results from their tests of the product, according to Facebook.
Zillow Group announced a partnership with Facebook last year under which agents could push ads to Facebook users that drive them to custom agent or property pages on Zillow or Trulia.
It was described as the first of “many, many, many ad products” that Zillow Group would introduce in partnership with Facebook, Zillow Group Chief Business Officer Greg Schwartz said in a statement.
Watts declined to say if Zillow Group is using Dynamic Ads for Real Estate. (Zillow Group didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Competition for the eyeballs and clicks of prospective homebuyers and sellers on Facebook has grown in recent years, and the cost of real estate-related ads on the site has predictably risen, many agents say.
But, they add, Facebook ads can still produce an impressive return on investment (ROI) for real estate brokerages and agents if designed and deployed properly.
Facebook built Dynamic Ads for Real Estate to simplify and improve on what had already been a winning strategy for some brokerage advertisers: “retargeting” ads of listings at Facebook users who had already visited their site.
“We saw that, and we thought, if we actually built this into a product and made some tweaks,” the product could pay off for advertisers, Watts said.
“Real estate is an area we’re betting big on as a company,” he added. “We think it’s content that consumers want to see.”
So don’t be surprised if Facebook delves deeper into real estate.
“I think there’s a lot of ways that we can help the industry in general,” Watts said.