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Facebook just stepped into Aussie Real Estate in a BIG WAY

It seems this is the week for big announcements with Amazon declaring it’s intentions to enter into the US Real Estate market and a number of the Aussie real estate groups have been a titter with the news.

But it wasn’t just Amazon stepping into the game, Facebook had a rather massive announcement of it’s own, however it hasn’t had the same hype around it as the Amazon one. Many agents have commented that the Facebook tech is in the USA only (ah….so is Amazon), so they won’t worry about it just now.

Time to set the cat among the pigeons….

The Facebook tech is here in Australia right now. My team and I are currently working with it and developing solutions to get it rolled out to our real estate clients ASAP.

Unlike the Amazon offering of referrals though, this tech from Facebook will deal with helping you sell houses and in so doing, list more as well. In fact it has the power to change how you go about marketing property – wait, yes I know, every freaking “disruptor” says that and you’re sick of hearing it, so am I. So instead of blathering on with marketing hype and jargon, allow me to explain how this tech works.

Firstly, lets take your personal branded real estate site that displays your listings.

The Facebook tech will require a developer and Facebook expert to set up (we happy to know a couple of good ones *wink*), but once it’s set up correctly this is how it will work:

  1. a buyer visits a listing on your site, but does not enquire or book an appointment
  2. Facebook analyses it’s data on that buyer
  3. Facebook then finds every other property on your site that is relevant to the buyer, (i.e what they’re looking for)
  4. Facebook then advertises all of your listings that may be relevant to that buyer automatically


In short, Facebook will turn your potential buyer’s Facebook feed into their own listing portal where the listings being offered……are yours!

Now of course there will be other ads among yours, the usual run of the mill stuff from a clothing company and Telstra or Vodafone’s latest attempt at convincing us they’ve gotten better. But for the early adapters and honestly, even those who might normally be late to the party, this Facebook tech will give you such a massive edge over your competition.

But wait there’s more and it’s not steak knives.

After this tech has been in play for a little while on your site, Facebook will then go and start marketing these listings to people who are statistically most similar to your current buyers. In lay-mans terms, Facebook will start marketing your property to people it thinks are most likely to want to buy it! (Initially, this feature won’t be available automatically but will need be set up manually – but it’s only a matter of time)

Now of course in the setup phase, you need to “teach” phase book what makes the properties similar, whether it’s price, suburb, bedrooms and that’s why this tech isn’t point and shoot.

After setting the tech up, this all happens automatically and all you need to do is set aside a budget for how much you want to spend on the ads each month.

So about those $2,000 premier properties on those portals you use, they suddenly look like a REALLY expensive way to blow a marketing budget don’t they?  Especially considering right now you can get in front of up to 5,000 buyers for $100 with a standard boost on Facebook (depending on what area you’re in) and these ads aren’t going to have any special pricing attached to them (based on current reports).

Add this tech into the equation and let Facebook do it’s thing and your ad spend is getting your listings in front of people that the data says is most likely to be interested in buying them.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Welcome to the game Facebook!




A portal won’t save you

A few times a year, the big real estate portals make a significant change to how you, as agents, are allowed to use their service.

The latest of these changes has been to disallow agency branding (including sign boards), in property photos on some listings on the portal.

Agents have responded to this change, much like every other change made over the last few years, in a disgruntled fashion – taking to Facebook groups to vent their frustration.

This has become the standard process for anything that the portals change that agents disagree with. Agents complain that the portals are doing their hardest to systematically take agents out of the home selling equation – they may just be right, we all remember a certain share prospectus doing the rounds a few years ago stating the goal was to “dis-intermediate the agent” – i.e cut the agent out.

As this process plays out in social media forums, it follows a familiar path and invariably someone suggests, “we’re a huge industry body, why can’t we band together and make our own portal?”

It’s been done and it failed miserably to break the dominance of the main players, for a number of reasons. The main reason though is a lack of understanding of what it takes to make a portal successful.

Anyone with a bit of money and access to developers can “make a portal” – but to make it successful and to break the strangle hold on the industry that the main two portals have, you need traffic.

Traffic is the lifeblood of any website and Realestate.com.au and Domain.com have it in droves. They’ve become household names, they own the traffic.

To counter their stranglehold by competing for traffic with the portals (which is what ever portal has tried to do to date), it would take a few dump trucks full of gold bullion, spent on marketing budgets to have a chance.

What will save you is the ability to market property without the need to use the portals.

While getting a hair cut the other week, I had a very interesting conversation with my barber (bare with me here, I have a point to this tangent). She was telling me that she doesn’t use the Realestate.com.au or domain.com apps anymore, because agents are putting properties in her Facebook feed.

Now does one person noticing that and changing their behavior make for a revolution? No of course not. What it does, is make you sit up and take notice and start paying a bit more attention to whats happening around you. How many people are like my barber? Is she a pioneer, or part of a trend that is building momentum.

The benefits that Facebook ad targeting provides, allows agents to target property listings directly to the people most likely to buy it. They can break things down by income, family status, relationship status, interests and much more to pick out the person most likely to purchase the property and then get the property listing in front of them.

In comparison, the portals work much like a billboard on a highway, they show a property to the millions of people driving past. Except now, they have a billboard every 5 feet and they’re just hoping an interested person drives past. It’s essentially hit and hope, but so far it’s been the only option for agents and it’s more or less worked – but many agents I speak with are reporting significant drop-offs in the number of genuine inquiries coming through the portals.

The other big issue is that it’s impossible to market a property in isolation on a portal. The portal’s job is to show the potential buyer as many properties as possible, that’s yours, your competitions and any other property that might even be remotely applicable. You are essentially in massive competition with every other property listed.

Where as correct targeting on Facebook allows an agent to target the people most likely to be a match for the property and market it in their feed, without another property in sight.

Now if you follow my page or have read any of my previous posts, you’d know I’m a certified Facebook marketer and you could be forgiven for thinking I’m heavily bias towards Facebook marketing.

I am. Unashamedly so.

The reason is simple, it works. I’ve used it to generate over $510,000,000 worth of leads for Check My House Price member agents in the last 2 years alone. I’ve run campaigns that have sold properties, corporate tenancies, recruited agents and generated appraisal inquiries all through Facebook marketing and that’s just the tip of the ice berg – I know what it can do and I’m determined to pass these skills on to any agent will to learn them. Having been an agent myself, I understand the day-to-day pressure and threats agents face. Having spent 20 years in the technology space as a published tech editorialist, I also know whats coming and knowing how to market on Facebook successfully is how agents will not just survive, but thrive moving forward.

The agent’s I’ve taught, have experienced similar results, having sold properties, generated leads and experienced a massive boost in profile in their area for significantly less spend than any other marketing channel.

But regardless of whether it’s Facebook or you’ve found another method of selling properties without using the portals, make sure you have those skills. Because being able to market and sell properties without the need for the portals is the greatest insurance you have against the portals or any other change in the industry, phasing agents out.