Over the last several months, Facebook has been slowly rolling out the latest Facebook ads product—Facebook Messenger ads. Facebook Messenger has more than one billion users, which is why we believe that this ad product is going to be huge for marketers—especially those in the real estate industry. If you are a residential property owner or manager who currently uses email marketing or web forms to nurture leads, Facebook Messenger ads are going to become critical to your leasing and sales efforts.
Before you run ads, you must utilize the Facebook Messenger platform. Start by embedding a Facebook Message button on your property website. This will allow prospective residents to message an agent or property manager directly through Facebook Messenger, rather than having to send an email or use a website chat box that perhaps isn’t mobile friendly. Given the popularity of the Facebook Messenger app, chances are that you will reach your audience this way. It’s also instantaneous rather than having to wait for a reply to an email. The key for real estate marketers is making sure that your Facebook page is staffed during your business hours and that responses are timely—within 30 minutes.
Now you’re ready to run the two types of Facebook Messenger ads: Destination ads and Sponsored Messages.
Destination ads are appropriately named because they send you to a specific destination, be it a website, mobile app, or Facebook Messenger. Visually, they look like your typical website click ads and appear in the Newsfeed just as any link or carousel ad would. The only difference is that instead of driving people to a link, it opens a message with your property’s Facebook page.You can even pre-populate the message with something like “Hello! I am interested in taking a tour of this property.” Destination ads are designed to drive traffic right to Messenger, instead of away from the Facebook platform. You can target anyone with these ads just as you would in your other campaigns. You can geotarget people, target users by interest and behavior, or pixel and retarget users who have already visited a particular page on your website, such as your contact page.
The second type of Facebook Messenger ad is the Sponsored Message. This is a message that appears in people’s Messenger inbox like an email. The difference is that Sponsored Messages can only be sent to people who have messaged your page in the past. This is how Facebook keeps the product from becoming too “spam-y”—by only allowing advertisers to reach fans who have already opted-in. Users can also unsubscribe from branded messages just like you can with email marketing. The sponsored messages go directly into your main inbox, unlike services like Gmail where it might be lost in a “Promotions” folder. According to some early tests by DigitalMarketer, they are seeing open rates of over 80 percent. This is incredibly high compared to email.
Strategic Tips for Property Owners
The key for real estate marketers is to use Destination ads to build up your subscribers, then you can then message them with Sponsored Messages.
Here’s how it could work for a property owner: You run a Destination ad that says “Get your custom floor plan today.” The user would then have to message you to receive that special offer or deliverable. Once they’ve messaged you, you then target them with Sponsored Messages, creating a steady drip of engaging messages so that three or five days after a user downloads floor plans, you can message them and see if they would like to schedule a tour.
Strategic Tips for Real Estate Agents
One thing Zillow did very well a few years back was engaging people who saw their posts by asking multiple choice questions such as “Which house would you move into tomorrow?” Users then commented “A, B, C, etc.” under the post. As an agent, one might try similar tactics using Messenger ads.
Start with a Destination ad that asks “What is the most important factor to you when shopping for a condo? Price, Location, or Amenities?” When a user responds, they would open up a chat with you and answer, at which point your agent could start a conversion about which amenities are most important to them. A few days later you could use Sponsored Messages to send an automated follow-up to the people you engaged.
If you have a small leasing staff, you might not want to target too broadly and risk not being able to handle the volume of incoming messages. It’s probably best to use narrow targeting parameters such as people who have visited your website.
At this time, Facebook Messenger ads only allow you to broadly message everyone who has messaged your page at some point, but as those lists grow expect Facebook to introduce more options such as messaging people who’ve messaged your page within one week, one month, etc.
The content of your sponsored messages can include a link or image.
Remember to keep the copy informal as people use Messenger to communicate with family and friends, so the tone should be appropriate for the platform. Offer potential residents some kind of benefit for chatting with you such as exclusive content or early access to tours and events.
If you would like to learn more about how Facebook Messenger ads can help fill your resident pipeline, send us a message on Facebook!