Why Agents Don’t Get Leads or Clicks When They Run Ads Using the Facebook “Boost” Button

When you post to Facebook, the social media giant gives you the option to “Boost” your post. (Not to be confused with Boost by HomeSpotter!) If you take them up on it, you can spend as little as $1 a day to promote that post to an audience.

To the untrained eye, the Facebook Boost button is a pretty good deal. The reality is that these boosted posts:

  • Can waste money promoting your posts to the wrong people
  • Are designed to keep users on Facebook — rather than to lead them to your site
scott shapiro facebook

Even Scott Shapiro, Facebook’s Real Estate Industry Relations Partner, has said that partnering with an ad vendor will work “far better than boosting, especially for the things that [agents] need — [like] trying to generate need, trying to generate demand.”

In short, Facebook Boost posts are the bus bench of digital advertising, in that they offer agents high (but random) exposure and minimal results. In just a few quick examples, we’ll explain why the Boost button just wasn’t designed for our industry.

The Facebook Boost button isn’t built for real estate agents

When you promote a Facebook post using the button, their algorithm begins searching for folks who are most likely to engage with the boosted ad. First, the ad targets your “fans” (or people who have liked your page) and then it will move on to friends of your fans. 

And it makes sense why Facebook would start here. It’s an easy one-to-one relationship: Someone who has gone so far as to like the Coke Zero page is more likely to buy an ice-cold bottle after they see an ad for the product. It’s a slick arrangement for some companies… but it’s not one that works well for real estate. 

After all, think quickly about who likes your Facebook business page. If you’re like most agents, the majority of your likes come from friends, family and past clients. It’s unlikely that you have a large network of active, in-market buyers who have liked your page but aren’t currently working with you.

That means that when you hit “Boost” on one of your posts, your post about an upcoming open house isn’t reaching those active local buyers. It’s reaching your personal and professional network, or sphere of influence. There’s a small chance that one of these contacts will refer you business after seeing your ad, but it’s much more likely that you end up spending your marketing budget targeting your cousin Janice. (We love Janice too, but paying for her likes is a waste of your money.)

The bottom line: If you’re running ads about new listings, open houses, price reductions or other property-related information, then you want to reach an active, local audience. The Facebook Boost button is unable to target that group, unless you’ve painstakingly built an audience of current local buyers and sellers. 

The Facebook Boost button won’t get you many clicks (because it isn’t designed to)

We now understand that the Facebook Boost button is unlikely to reach a targeted audience of local buyers and sellers. But even if you somehow do manage to hit the right people, you’ll quickly run into another problem. 

A Facebook ad, when run from the more robust Ads Manager setting, allows you to choose a goal for your campaign:

  • Post Engagement — where the algorithm prioritizes likes, shares and comments
  • Website Clicks — where the algorithm prioritizes website visits and conversions

Any time you use the Facebook Boost button, it defaults to the goal of post engagement. That means that unless you customize the settings, ads run through the Boost button will target folks who are likely to engage with your post, not click through to your site. (Cousin Janice, is that you again?)

The bottom line: You’re paying to look good on Facebook, but you’re less likely to get any actual client interest. That’s a problem if you’re running a listing ad hoping to draw in local buyers or an open house ad meant to attract attendees.

The Facebook Boost button doesn’t help agents follow best practices for digital advertising

When you run a Facebook listing ad using the Boost button, you may choose to simply pull in the images and photos from your IDX site, then add a bit of extra copy before hitting, Post. This is better than doing nothing, but it still falls short of best practices.

But hey, it isn’t fair to put that much pressure on agents. Keeping up with Facebook’s ever-changing standards and algorithms would be a full-time job. In fact, it’s our full-time job.

By working with an ads vendor like Boost by HomeSpotter, you can run campaigns that are optimized for clicks and lead generation, with:

  • Design and copy features like corner flags, emojis and engaging content proven to drive in more traffic
  • A dedicated landing page with “gated” information that encourages visitors to provide their contact information
  • Built-in lead generation that can be integrated to top CRMs
Ad creative optimized for clicks and focused landing pages generate more leads.

The bottom line: If you run an ad campaign to an IDX property page, users can go in a lot of different directions. By running a smarter campaign that boosts clicks and sends visitors to a more focused experience, you can capture leads and begin the process of converting them over time.

A few other limitations of the Facebook button

In addition to not targeting the right audience or getting you website visitors, the Facebook Boost button has other major limitations. Let’s run through them quickly:

  1. You can only boost posts that you’ve already added to your Facebook page. That means every Boosted ad has to live on your timeline before it can be promoted. If you plan to regularly Boost ads, you’ll have to post frequent self-promotional content that” could alienate your loyal audience.
  2. The Boost targeting options are extremely limited. You can target interests, but not behaviors. You also cannot target certain email addresses. 
  3. You can’t decide if you want to run your ads on desktop (which leads to higher conversions) or mobile. 

The bottom line: When you hear people talk about smart, targeted marketing campaigns, they aren’t talking about campaigns that are run through the Boost button. The Boost button offers minimal customization, control, and conversions.

But what if I don’t know how to run smarter, effective campaigns?

If you’ve ever logged into the Facebook Ads Manager, you know that it can be daunting. It makes sense that you may default to the Boost button, which has fewer options and can launch an ad quickly. 

Of course, those aren’t your only options. Boost by HomeSpotter is a digital ad platform built for real estate agents looking to get ahead online. Our solution offers the power and control you need to reach the smartest audience on Facebook and Instagram — and the fast, seamless experience you need to get a campaign running in minutes.

Get the speed and results you need to give your business a real boost. If your broker already partners with Boost, log in here to get started. 

About Aaron Kardell

Founder and CEO of HomeSpotter

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