If you’ve invested in social media, chances are you’ve heard of the Facebook Pixel – and you may even have it running on your website. If you’re not familiar with Facebook Pixel, it’s a piece of code that you can install on your website or apps to track visitors, and then follow these visitors up with tailored ads that appear on their Facebook pages based on their browsing history. You’ve probably noticed this yourself when you’re searching for something such as flights to Melbourne, and suddenly airline ads pop up all over Facebook!
This marketing strategy (commonly known as ‘re-targeting’), can be an effective way for real estate agents to target ads to potential customers, as well as making sure their ads get seen multiple times. For example, if a prospect has visited your website to view one listing, you can re-target them with tailored ads when you have more properties on the market.
What are the recent Facebook privacy changes?
The new privacy feature ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ means Facebook users can now get a summary of the information that Facebook has received about their activity on other apps and websites. Furthermore, users can disconnect that information from their account, which means it will no longer be associated with them.
If you’ve got a Facebook account, you can see the list of apps and websites that have shared your activity here. As a Facebook user, you now have the option to clear your entire history, or you can specify the particular apps and websites you want disconnected.
So how will these changes affect real estate agents?
These changes may reduce the ability for Facebook to build an accurate audience profile that can then be used for targeted real estate ads. However in reality, similar to ad blockers and spam filters, many consumers may not get around to taking advantage of this feature either through a lack of understanding or awareness, or simply because they don’t care!
It’s also interesting to note that disconnecting your activity won’t mean you see less ads on your Facebook page – it’ll just mean that the ads that you do see will be less personalised.
And on the flipside, when people know how their information is being used, they often feel more positive about the businesses they interact with online, as they get to control what stays or goes. For people in the market for a new property, highly relevant real estate ads could help them find their dream home, so it may be something they choose to keep.
The other good news is that if you use Facebook’s measurement and analytics tools for your agency, they’ll remain intact. These tools are designed to protect people’s identities, however they’ll still provide accurate measurement to help you understand the impact of your Facebook investment.
Although it’s too early to tell how big the impact of Off-Facebook Activity will be, it’s a good reminder to have a look at your other real estate marketing activities.
For example, make sure your customer information is kept up-to-date within your own database so you can use that data as another way to build customised audiences. You can never underestimate the power of a highly engaged email list.
How many people will actually take up this new Off-Facebook Activity feature is yet to be seen, however it’s definitely something to keep in mind when you’re planning your agency’s advertising strategy for the coming year.