real estate marketing ideas

How to Use Powerful Geo-Targeting in Facebook Ads for Real Estate

Do you want to run Facebook ads for real estate leads?

Are you tired of spending money only to get pitiful results from Facebook?

Maybe you need a new approach.

Facebook has some pretty awesome targeting capabilities, but they aren’t always easy to figure out how to use – either from a set-up or an applications perspective.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to use a combination of geographic targeting, along with demographic, behavioral and interest targeting, to get the best possible results from your Facebook ads.

What is geo-targeting?

Geo-targeting is the practice of delivering different content to a website visitor based on their location. That location can be a city, ZIP Code, IP address, or other location specific criteria.

If you’ve ever seen the “Location Settings” on your iPhone or Android, those are the settings that determine your current location. When you log onto your computer from home, the IP address of your computer is used to determine your location.

The same thing applies when you log into Facebook from your phone.

And it doesn’t matter where you are when you log-in with your phone. The location settings tell Facebook where you are at that moment.

How does geo-targeting work on Facebook?

Geo-targeting allows you to promote specific content or ads to Facebook visitors one of two ways:

  1. IP Address: This is the location where the Facebook user has logged in from. Since every device has a unique IP address, this could either be the person’s home, office, a or mobile device.
  2. Recorded Address: This is the current street address, including the city and state, of the user.

When you create a post or ad in Facebook, you have the ability to promote it to users several ways, including:

  • State
  • City
  • ZIP Code
  • Radius

The radius targeting feature is one of the most powerful tools you can use.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ Annual Survey of Buyers and Sellers, homeowners typically move within a median of 11 miles from their current location as shown below.


facebook ads for real estate

As you’ll see in the examples below, the ability to target homeowners within a certain radius of your listings increases the likelihood of reaching the right audience and converting them to leads.

You can also target Facebook users by:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Net Worth
  • Home Ownership – Homeowners, renters, first-time homebuyers
  • Life Events – This includes users who are engaged, newly married, have a new job, parents of recent graduates and more
  • Interests – such as golf, equestrian, hunting or travel.
  • Behaviors – including real estate investment, length of residence, likely to move, travel activity and much more.

Facebook sources much of this information from third-party vendors such as Epsilon, one of the World’s largest collectors and analyzers of consumer information. The data from companies such as Epsilon is added to your profile, creating a rich source of information about you, your interests and your habits.

Are you starting to see the potential?

Applications for Facebook ads for real estate leads

Let’s look at a few real-world examples of how you can use geo-targeting to target homeowners who are most likely to respond to your message.

Open Houses

Suppose you had a listing on a luxury home, priced at $1,500,000, in a golf community. You were planning an open house and wanted to use Facebook to reach homeowners who:

  • Lived within 10 miles of your listing
  • Are between 25 and 65 years of age
  • Could afford the home
  • Were likely to move
  • Were avid golfers

Here’s how you would create a promoted post or ad in Facebook:

Imagine that you have a page on your website with information about the new listing, including photos, descriptions – maybe even a video, and you wanted to drive traffic to that page to increase awareness of the listing and to invite people to the open house.

First, you create a post to your Facebook page (business pages only, not personal pages) with a photo of the house and text announcing the open house dates and times. You also include a link to the website where Facebook users who see your ad can go to get more information about your new listing.

Next, you would click on the downward arrow in the upper right corner of your Facebook page and select Create Ads as shown below;


facebook ads for real estate

Next, you would select “Boost Your Posts” from the list of available options;


facebook ads for real estate

You would then select the appropriate post that you would like to promote and click continue.

Next, you will see the form that allows you to target your ad, as seen below;


facebook ads for real estate

To enable the geo-targeting feature, click on the “Include” link below locations as shown below;


facebook ads for real estate

This will display the map and you can use the zoom (+) tool to find the location of your listing.

Once you have found the location of your listing, click on “Drop Pin” to place a marker at the approximate address.

At the top of the Location box, we have selected 10 miles as the area we want to target with our promoted post. The radius is shown on the map so that you can see the area where your post will be promoted;

facebook ads for real estate

To target buyers who are able to afford the home, you could try one of two approaches; either select an appropriate income or net worth range using the “More Demographics” tab. In this example, we have chosen incomes from $250,000 and above as well as people who are from 25 to over 65 years of age.


facebook ads for real estate

Our next step is to target those homeowners who are likely to move.

You accomplish this by selecting the “Behavior” drop down menu, then selecting “Residential Profiles” and choosing “Likely to Move”, as shown below;


facebook ads for real estate

The last step is to target homeowners who are avid golfers. You accomplish this by clicking on the “Interests” drop down menu, selecting “Sports” and choosing “Golf”, as shown below;


facebook ads for real estate

You would then set your budget for your ad.

Since this is an open house and there is a time limit on when the ad would be effective, you would want to choose “Set a Start and End Date” and then enter the dates and times you want the ad to be shown, as well as your daily budget.

In this example, as shown below, we want the ad to be shown from Thursday until Sunday at 12:00 PM, when we have our open house scheduled to start.


facebook ads for real estate

You can select where you want your ad to be displayed, such as in the desktop news feed, mobile news feeds or in the right sidebar.

I would recommend choosing the news feeds – for both desktop and mobile – and ignoring the sidebar. It works well for retargeting purposes, but you’ll get more engagement by having your ad in the news feed.

Once you have reviewed your ad, click on Place Order. Facebook will review your ad and, once it is approved, begin displaying it to your targeted audience.

Let’s look at how you could use targeting in different scenarios

Vacation homes

Suppose you are an agent who specializes in second home destinations, such as the Florida Panhandle.

Being the smart agent that you are, you know that many of the homes and condominiums are owned by people in Atlanta, Birmingham, Knoxville and Nashville.

You could use geo-targeting in two different ways;

  1. To target homeowners with ads while they are still in their home market, such as Atlanta, letting them know about second home investment opportunities in the Panhandle.
  2. You can also target prospects during the peak vacation season by running an ad that is only shown in your immediate area.Here’s how that works; If a person is visiting your market, and they are using a smartphone that has Internet access to log onto Facebook, they would be shown your ad. The same applies if they use the wi-fi in a hotel, resort or other vacation rental.Your ad headline would want to target their unique situation, such as “Visiting the Beach and Thinking of Making an Investment?”

The logical step would be to drive traffic to a landing page where they could opt-in for an offer such as a buyers guide or an e-book on investing in rental property at the beach. Those who take advantage of such an offer are likely going to be good prospects for future business.

Farms and Ranches

Maybe you are an agent who specializes in farms, ranches or recreational acreage. There’s opportunities for you as well.

You could use the same tactics as the agent in a vacation destination, however you’re Interests and Behavior choices might be different.

For example, if you have a listing on a tract of land that would be suitable for hunting or fishing, you can select those in the Interests category, enabling you to target people who pursue those activities. If the property is higher-end, you could use income or net worth to target only those who are able to afford your listing.

If your listing is a horse farm, or a residential property that can accommodate horses, you can target those people by selecting either “Horses” under the “Pets” category in Interests, or by selecting “Horseback Riding” under the “Outdoor Recreation” category in the “Sports and Outdoors” Interest section.

Real Estate Investors

If you work with real estate investors, you could use geo-targeting to promote your available properties.

You would identify a radius, ZIP code, city or state where you would like your ad to be seen. You could then choose to target investors based on their net worth and income, as we have seen above, or by selecting “Real Estate Investments” in the Investments category of the Financial section of Behaviors, as shown below;


facebook ads for real estate

Low-Maintenance Communities

If you have a listing in a community where the landscaping and maintenance is provided for by an association, these types of communities are very popular with older homeowners.

Using many of the same techniques described above, you could target homeowners who are 55 and over, who have the necessary income or net worth to afford your listing and currently live within a specified radius. You ad could promote the benefits of living in a low-maintenance community, include invitations to open houses and more.

. . .Another Option

Do you have a Facebook page with a big following?

Does the brokerage you work for have a Facebook page with a big following?

If so, here’s an option that won’t cost you a dime.

You can target any of your current fans with a targeted status update and not pay Facebook a dime.

Here’s how;

First, go to your business Facebook page.

Click on the “Settings” link and then click on the “News Feed Audience and Visibility for Posts” link.

Then click the box to “Allow News Feed Audience and Post Visibility Options For This Page”, as shown below;


facebook ads for real estate

When you return to your Facebook page, you will notice a new icon in the shape of a cross-hair at the bottom of the status update window;


facebook ads for real estate

When you are creating a new status update, clicking on this icon enables you to target specific fans of your page using the same demographic, behavioral, interest and locational options as used in the examples above.

The only exception is, that you cannot use radius targeting.

If you, or your company, has a Facebook page with thousands of fans, you could target homeowners who are likely to move, who have the necessary income or who have had a life event that makes moving an option, and promote your listings with much greater effectiveness.

This is yet another reason to build a large following on Facebook. Even though many of Facebook’s targeting options are on a “pay to play” basis, there are still some where you can reach your audience for free.


There’s no doubting the powerful targeting options Facebook provides you to reach homeowners.

Yes, most of them cost money, so I suggest you start small and learn before you try targeting everyone under the stars with your latest listing.

But I think you’d be hard pressed to find another advertising medium that has the reach, and the targeting capabilities, of Facebook at anywhere near the same cost.

As a final suggestion, when running Facebook ads for real estate leads, I encourage you to test everything you do.

It is possible to attempt to target your audience so narrowly that your ad doesn’t have the necessary reach. Think about what characteristics of homeowner you are trying to reach and which of those characteristics are the most important.

In the example of the open house for the golf community, targeting golfers certainly makes sense, but not everyone who may be interested in your listing is going to be a golfer. In that case, I’d run two versions of the same ad; one that includes golf as an interest and one that doesn’t.

Either way, you’re sure to reach an audience of homeowners who could be strong candidates for your listing.