I really mean that headline, you should be using Facebook Canvas for property listing ads.
Here’s the deal, it is incredibly easy to use; once you know how.
Facebook launched ‘Canvas’ at the end of February 2016, which is a new interactive form of advertising for Facebook’s mobile users.
It is designed specifically for mobile usage, and will allow the new style adverts to fit the full screen once clicked. This can be in the form of an images or video.
There are already a number of reviews of the Canvas platform, however none (that I have found) that really highlight the benefits for the real estate community.
Ultimately whenever something new is released, some people will rush towards it and others will wait and see the benefits; before deciding whether it is something they wish to learn.
It is currently the lack of understanding and knowledge gap which is the reason that many real estate agents haven’t yet dived into using Canvas (and the use of a goodwill strategy), when they really should be.
I am here to show you right now, how simple Facebook Canvas is, and how it will benefit you.
It will allow you to take your Facebook advertising campaigns to another level. Or indeed begin them if you haven’t before.
With this in mind, I wanted to create a step by step guide to exactly how you could utilise this new tool within your marketing campaigns, before your competition.
Firstly allow me to fully explain what Canvas is; its intended purpose and then how you can make the most of this release.
So what is Facebook Canvas?
Facebook describe it as
“an immersive and expressive experience on Facebook for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products”.
Facebook Canvas is ultimately a new way to advertise on the platform.
It really stretches the boundaries of advertising capabilities, and a huge number of industries will end up benefiting from this. In particular travel, automobile, fashion, sport and without doubt real estate.
Prior to Canvas, you could advertise on Facebook in the form of a static image, a carousel of images or indeed a video. Canvas now allows you to use all three in conjunction, as well as headlines and commentary.
The fact that ‘call to action’ buttons are also an option makes the potential here incredibly exciting indeed.
It has created almost a story telling platform, which allows brands to interact and engage with their audience; without the need to leave to Facebook.
That focus of retaining users within Facebook seems to have been an important step for both Facebook as a business, and the viewer for user friendliness.
It is now up to brands and their advert set creation to entice the customer to leave their newsfeed.
Who can use Canvas?
The short answer is all Facebook advertisers. With your business page you can create a Canvas to advertise to your audience.
To access Canvas you select publishing tools from your page. (If these options are not available read on and I will show you how to make them appear for you).
Then select Canvas from the bottom left of the menu.
From there simply click on ‘create’ to begin your Canvas.
You will then be greeted with a number of possibilities to bring your blank Canvas to life.
In just a moment I will talk you through how to go about filling these components in for your next property listing.
However there is a chance that the option to create a Canvas is not yet a selectable option for you. It is automatically available to use through Facebook’s Power Editor. However to make this accessible through your publishing tools then visit this Facebook link.
Facebook will then make those options available to you once you fill out a very quick form which requires your name, email address and Facebook page.
How does this apply to Real Estate?
I strongly believe there is huge potential reward and audience engagement with regards to Canvas, especially for the real estate audience.
I am sure you will have you own thoughts and feelings about how you could utilise this, however allow me to show you how I would go about advertising a property listing using this new tool.
There are a number of options to customise your Canvas to suit the needs of the advert. What I love most about this are the variety of options. You could advertise a property listing, with images, description of the property,price, a video tour, a map of the area all without the viewer having to leave Facebook. If they are genuinely interested they can click the call to action button to find out more information or to arrange a viewing.
Just consider for a moment how powerful that could be for your business, and the impact on your Facebook ad campaigns.
If I was to list a property on Facebook, I would be certain to include the following details:
- The street name and number of bedrooms the property has
- The price
- An image of the front of the property
- A carousel of various images displaying other areas of the property
- Further written information about the home, this property comprises a double garage (you get the idea)
- A map displaying the location of the home in relation to the surrounding area
- A video of inside the property (click here for tips to create this for FREE)
- A call to action for further information (linking to the full property listing) or to arrange a viewing (linking to your homepage contact details).
You could even decide to include more than one call to action. There are a vast array of possibilities that you could use to create your advert.
Consider what elements you already include for your property listings and consider if they are beneficial to include within Canvas.
I really love the scope and opportunity to really engage with the audience members here.
Below is a very rough draft of how that could be created. Let me walk you through the steps for creating this Canvas.
What to include
Firstly you can select the background theme of the Canvas. This can be black, white or a colour to suit your brand. This does present an opportunity to allow your advert to stand out amongst the rest of the newsfeed.
Secondly I added some text to display some basic details of the property. Once again this can be customised to alter the font, size of the text and indeed the colour.
At the bottom of the Canvas Builder there is the option to add components. This is where you add various pieces to your Canvas.
In this instance I chose to incorporate one static image, and then a carousel of pictures of the homes interior.
When selecting carousel, you simply add as many photos as required to your advert. A standard carousel ad allows you to select five images. However Canvas will allow you to add more if you so wish.
You can then reorder the elements of your Canvas as you wish using the small up and down arrows.
The simplicity to create these Canvases really is fantastic.
It has been built with user friendliness in mind, anyone can use this.
Once you have finished creating a draft of your Canvas. You can then click save at the top, then preview on your mobile device, or indeed a number of devices.
Your design is then sent to the Facebook of the people you wish to view the draft. From there you receive a fully interactive advert to view on your mobile device.
You can then go back to the Canvas Builder to edit any elements you wish to, or choose to publish the Canvas to make it live to a selected Facebook audience of your choosing.
When you are happy simply select Finish.
Once you click finish you have the choice of posting straight away, or clicking ‘Get URL’. You should select get URL as this will allow you to select an audience to view your advert.
You will then be provided with the URL that you need for finalising your advert.
Once you have copied that, you can then create a new audience.
When you create your new advert be sure to target the adverts for ‘Mobile News Feed’ only. As this is what Canvas is designed for.
You will then need to select ‘Canvas’ under the advert destination.
Your new Canvas advert is then good to go!
Once you have completed those steps, that’s really all there is to it. You can include images, video and text to really entice your audience to view your property listing, all without having to leave their newsfeed.
Remember that the total advert spend on these listings can be extremely low (I have sold multiple homes for less than £10 using Facebook adverts), providing you target buyers appropriate to that property.
I would be sure to have a play around with Canvas before you go live with your first ad; as there are a number of ways to customise the options to suit your brand. Consider perhaps that for a rural listing you may also wish to include images of the outdoor spaces nearby. Or maybe a park near a family home you are selling.
This really is a blank canvas for you to work from.
Creating an advert using Canvas will not only serve the purpose of getting that listing in front of a targeted audience. However it will also boost the presence of your brand and help you to be seen as the local expert.
What are the key benefits?
Jessica Watson, a production manager at Facebook said:
“We are raising the bar for what people and advertisers can expect to see on mobile.”
A real key point to consider is the length of the production or video created. Paresh Rajwat, another production manager stated:
“53% of people watch more than half of the Canvas”.
This has resulted in an average viewing time of 31 seconds. With more than one minute for the most popular adverts.
This is superb interaction for an advert, and certainly compares to that of television ads.
Better still, for Facebook users this is not expected to increase the number of adverts shown; and for the businesses this will not increase the cost of the ads.
Simply put, a more engaging, innovative and fun form of advertising, to connect a brand with an audience.
Let’s round this up
Many large brands such as Coca-Cola, BMW, Universal Studios and Netflix have already begun using the Canvas advert option; as well as a growing number of smaller brands. The initial thoughts and feedback have been incredibly positive.
You can really get ahead of the trend here, and make the most of this fascinating tool, before other real estate agents in your area.
I really hope this article and guide have produced enough information to give you the confidence to stand out from your competition.
You really do have an opportunity to interact with home buyers and sellers; and to be seen as an innovative realtor who is ahead of the trend.
There is nothing to fear about Canvas, go ahead and embrace it. Whilst also building your brand and audience base.
Please let me know how you get on with your Canvas creations.
However if you need any further clarification about anything above then please leave a comment below.
Alternatively get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help.
Thank you as ever for reading,