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Are Motivated Seller and other Real Estate Campaigns Going Away on Facebook?

For real estate investors, things are changing on Facebook that will affect how you run ads.

If you didn’t know, Facebook faced a major scandal a few months back when Cambridge Analytica gained access to nearly 87 million users’ personal data through Facebook. This incident resurfaced privacy questions that have resided in the minds of Facebook users’ for awhile now…

How safe is my information on Facebook?

In order to offer more transparency to its users, Facebook is tightening up its advertising platform by adding new compliant policies to custom audience lists, removing third party data, and providing the option for users to see how advertisers targeted them.

For the millions of people on Facebook, this is good news… but for real estate investors, this change requires a new campaign strategy on Facebook.

Real Estate Companies Running Motivated Seller (and other) Campaigns… what you need to know

The majority of motivated seller, cash buyer, tenant, hard money, or related campaigns we manage on Facebook have been affected by these new policies.

Here’s the first major updated from Facebook:

As of July 2, Facebook requires advertisers to specify where they obtained their custom audience list.

If you’re at all familiar with the idea of custom lists, you know they can be an effective form of advertising on Facebook. You upload a list of names, email addresses, property addresses, etc. as an audience on Facebook and run campaigns specifically targeting this group of users with your ads.

Read more about using custom lists to target motivated sellers on Facebook.

So why is this Facebook update important?

Facebook users can now see how advertisers are using their information and why they are seeing an ad with the click of a button.

How it Works

When you upload a custom list into Facebook, you now have to specify the origin of the audience list and certify compliance with Facebook’s custom list terms and policies. Facebook gives you the following data origin options:

  1. Directly from customers
  2. Customers and partners
  3. Directly from partners
Drop-down menu of data origin options on Facebook

Now that Facebook knows where you’re getting audience information, Facebook users have the option to click a drop-down button that will show them the source of the custom audience list and whether you used their email or phone number to target them.

Facebook Audience Targeting
Client-facing view of drop-down button explaining how an advertiser targeted them

It’s simply a step toward providing greater transparency for the Facebook user.

For the advertiser, we don’t expect this to cause much backlash. Facebook custom audiences will continue to exist and provide an effective strategy for targeting motivated sellers.

For Lightmark clients:
If you have any questions regarding the custom lists for motivated seller campaigns we’re managing for you on Facebook, please reach out to your account manager and we’ll walk you through any implications this may have for you.

The second major Facebook update affects real estate investors at the audience level, requiring new testing and targeting methods. Here’s what you need to know:

Facebook is eliminating all third party data used for audience targeting, including homeownership status and income.

When you create a campaign in Facebook, you’re given a variety of targeting options to determine who sees your ads. You can choose from a variety of interests, behaviors, and demographics along with age, gender, and location targeting.

Facebook Audience Targeting
Audience targeting in Facebook’s Ads Manager

In order to provide this type of detailed targeting, Facebook compiles data and behaviors from its user database alongside third party data resources.

Since Facebook announced they are removing third party data from their advertising platform, all financial information (income, home values, etc.) are being eliminated along with several demographics and behaviors (likely to move, unlikely to move, etc.). This change forces real estate investors to re-strategize their Facebook campaigns and find new audiences to target.

Our campaign managers have already started to test a variety of new audiences on Facebook before the detailed targeting is removed indefinitely.

Since many of the qualifiers we use in our campaigns (like home values and income levels) are being removed, the audiences are more broad than once before. This could have a slight impact on cost-per-lead, but we don’t anticipate the change to be significant.

Lightmark Clients:
We are in the process of testing a variety of audiences for our motivated seller campaigns. Be on the lookout for emails from your Account Managers on updates concerning your Facebook campaigns.

Is Facebook Still Worth Your Time (And Money)?


See our comparison of cost per lead when using custom lists to target motivated sellers on Facebook.

While some targeting is going away, there are still millions of people using Facebook every day, and there’s no other better way to reach people based on their demographic and interest profiles.

And as far as our real estate investor clients’ campaigns go, we’re still in it to win it.

If you have questions regarding the new Facebook updates and how it might affect you, just ask!

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