Facebook Retargeting

How many times do people go to your website and buy a house after their first time looking? Probably not a lot, if ever. It’s even less common for someone to click on just one ad and turn into a client, especially if they’ve never seen or interacted with your brand before. Facebook retargeting positions you to increase your conversion ratios by creating a sequence of events that other platforms simply cannot create.

Facebook Retargeting

Module Outline and Objectives:

  • Why you should be using retargeting ads

  • Facebook retargeting mistakes

  • Proven retargeting method to follow

How Valuable are Retargeting Ads to Your Business?

Facebook offers multiple retargeting options and comprehensive ad capabilities that don’t exist elsewhere. Coupled with a higher audience level and lower cost of conversion, Facebook retargeting is invaluable for your real estate business.

Two Common Retargeting Mistakes

  1. Opting to use the default options when setting up custom audiences

  2. Failing to understand your lead generation funnels

It is said all the time, “buying and/or selling a house is the largest transaction most people will ever make.” Just because someone visits your website doesn’t mean they want to be “kicked in the throat” with your ensuing Facebook ads. You have to fully understand your lead generation patterns and who you are for to fully take advantage of Facebook retargeting.

Real estate requires education, comes with a large price tag, takes a longer time to convert and has multiple variations that change along the way. In short, your Facebook retargeting plan will not look the same for a company selling clothes online. However, this is how most retargeting ads are set up.

Micro Audiences

Breaking your audience into multiple micro audiences allow you to deliver ads that meet the needs of each one. For example, if someone visited your home valuation in the past 3 days, they should not be in the same category as someone who visited your website in the past 30 days. The potential client gets “colder” the longer they are away from visiting your website.

You may be inclined to want a larger audience when delivering an ad or creating a custom audience, but showing everyone the same retargeting ad will lower your relevance score, decrease trust and negatively affect your future ad campaigns.

Proven Facebook Retargeting Method

Before jumping into the ads manager, we recommend understanding how people interact with your website, where currents leads are being generated and then setting up your custom audiences based on these behaviors. The smaller the audiences the better. So yes, you will have a lot, however, they will save you money and increase your relevance scores. Remember, the ad algorithm focuses on creating value and optimizing experiences.

Step 1: Create multiple custom audiences so they start populating

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Create your custom audiences now so they are ready when you are. If you wait to create them they will not have as long to populate and could not reflect the most accurate data. Remember, the minimum number of people you can run an ad set to is 1,000. If your audience doesn’t reach that number, 1) you need to focus on driving more traffic to your website and 2) you will need to combine some audiences to increase their total size.

Side Note: When creating custom audiences, use detailed descriptions. The more you create the more confusing they are and you will forget which audience means what. For example, if you create an audience of people visiting your blog url within the last 10 days, use a title like: JH visited /blog past 10 (This stands for visited the Jonathan Hawkins Blog in the past 10 days).

Step 2: Use custom events to track how people interact


Most people will take their Facebook Pixel ID, paste it into their website and call it done. That should just be your first step. Setting up Facebook Events for your Pixel to track is where you begin to take your ads to the next level.

Step 3: Leverage Google Analytics to understand web traffic

Similar to Facebook Event tracking, you can use Page Analytics by Google , to also track “events” and create a “heat map”.

Page Analytics by Google

Step 4: Retargeting to keep audience engaged

Facebook caps the maximum amount of time that people will stay in a custom audience, based on website traffic, to 180 days. Once this time period elapsed, anyone in that applicable custom audience will be removed, UNLESS they revisit your website. This is why storytelling creates massive conversions. The people that keep their audience engaged over a longer period of time have access to paid advertising for a longer time as well. Before they’re removed from Facebook, drive people to your website by creating valuable content (ie. community blog, community news, events, local news impacting real estate, case studies, hyper local information, etc.).

Tip: Create retargeting ads to keep people in your audience by showing them content relevant to their search history. For example, if you create a custom audience based on people who visit your /homevalue url, rather than continue to send people to the same url to keep them on your list, send this group to your /blog/seller/. This way you can provide information and know that anyone you are sending to your seller related blog came from your home value site, and you can track who went to the seller blog.

Too confusing? Let us know. Set off a lightbulb? Let us know!

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Step 5: Sequence ads emulating the journey by creating a roadmap

The best way to understand the journey of a buyer or seller is to ask each of your current clients how and where they saw you. Did they get a random postcard for the first time and pick up the phone or did they see you “everywhere” that when the time came you were the obvious choice?

Creating a roadmap is a simple process that brings the client journey to life. For example, we can all agree that most people (probably all) don’t see your ad for the first time, go to your website, look for a house and then swipe their credit card.

Do they see your 4 pillar pieces of content (personal, brand, community, real estate), go to your website and browse, consume video content back on Facebook, go back and read your community blog posts, engage with you on your community Facebook group, schedule a showing and then become a client?

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Whatever the case may be (the above example is very common) you can build out your audiences based on these journey points, and not just based on time. This is especially true for real estate because of the longer sales cycle. In a longer cycle, you will see higher lengths of time between each step, thus, you will need to evoke emotion, gain trust and stay relevant if you are to be remembered across the entire journey.

Word of Advice: Do not clump all of your buyers into a buyer custom audience. Someone in the consuming pillar content of the journey is drastically different than someone in the going back to your community blog after they’ve seen you “everywhere” and they’ve already been on your website. Make sense?

If a prospect downloads your first time home buyer guide but doesn’t set up a consultation, then you would want to advertise the consultation. If they’ve had the consultation but they “weren’t ready”, then you want to show them content that validates they can and should take the leap.

Step 6: Use the content you’ve already created to your advantage

Creating valuable content is imperative to stay top of mind to past, current and future clients. However, too many create content, use it, and then never reference it again. If you have a blog or content specific to a particular audience on your website, use it to your advantage. The best way to do this is being consistent with URLs. Your blogs that have seller related content should all look like Example.com/blog/seller/title-goes-here This way you can build out a custom audience for everyone visiting your /blog/seller/ pages. If you have 100 posts that start with /blog/seller/ everyone of them will be used in that custom audience.

Step 7: Frequency caps

The final step in retargeting is setting caps to limit the amount of times someone in your audience will see your ad. If you are running a Reach Ad, you can set a frequency cap to keep people from seeing your ad too often. However, if you are using a different objective, you do not have the frequency cap option. This means you want to set a budget that is relative to your audience size. We recommend not exceeding 2-3 times your reach size.

For example: If your custom audience is 1,000 people and spending $5/day will show your ad to 250 per day, the maximum you should spend on this ad is $60.


Now let’s tie the steps together

For this example, we will use people visiting your home valuation page and how you can use retargeting to increase your conversion rates.

Step 1: Create a custom audience for your home valuation url visited in the past 10 days

Example: JH /homevalue visited past 10 days

Step 2: Set up events on the home value page to see where people are engaging

Step 3: Set up heat maps in Google Analytics to show clicks on everything.

Step 4: Retarget this audience to a landing page to download the “top 10 tips when getting your home ready to be sold for top dollar”. (This will break your audience up. Those who don’t click the ad to go to the landing page. Those who go there but don’t enter their email. Those who click the ad, go to the landing page and input their email to download the guide.)

Step 5: Sequence your next ads to meet people where they are. Show the person who downloaded the guide a case study of a similar seller. By seeing that story being told they will envision their current situation.

Step 6: For the person who didn’t click the download ad, back off, and build more trust showing them an ad about the community, your team, etc. that you’ve already created.

Step 7: Set a cap on your daily or lifetime budget.

Retargeting only works if you have an audience to retarget.

If not, you should focus on building traffic to your specific pages. Having this retargeting method set up will work automatically as you bring more and more people to your website and to your specific pages.

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