Real estate agents rated return on investment of paid online leads highest when they advertised on Facebook or in search engine ads, according to a 2015 Inman survey.

ROI from Facebook was better than Twitter, YouTube and other popular paid online advertising options, according to the survey. But, while a promising resource for leads and new business, agents are underusing Facebook, according to Inman.

Just like any other kind of advertising, merely paying for the service and hoping for returns is like putting a blindfold on and shooting at a target. Taking that blindfold off requires having a strategy and using it to target online ads, so your message reaches an audience of people that might turn into clients. Bullseye!

A Nov. 23 article on brings clarity to how to optimize Facebook paid ads. The article’s author Gabriel The, a former Facebook marketing account manager, wrote small businesses and brokerages that rely on the “Boost Post” to optimize ads only scratch the surface. It’s a one-size-fits-all option that doesn’t offer customization. It might help, but only a little.

Facebook, according to The, has unparalleled reach, with some 1.59 billion monthly active users—many of whom go to Facebook on their mobile devices. Facebook also offers engagement with people who, on average, visit the social networking site 14 times a day. And for those agents who take the time to learn how to customize the reach of their ads, Facebook offers the opportunity to get more bang for their advertising bucks, by reaching the right people, rather than the masses, according to

Knowing the basics to improve ROI isn’t difficult. Agents and others need to learn six basic tenants, according to The, who calls them levers.

Lever 1 allows you to choose an ad type, such as a link page post, which is an image that goes directly to a website; video ads, messenger ads (in Facebook Messenger) and more. Agents should pick an ad type based on what will best send their messages and are within their budgets.

Lever 2 gives you placement options, including on the desktop feed, mobile feed and more. Again, choose a placement option that is likely to reach the target audience. If potential clients are more likely to look for agents on their mobile devices, a mobile feed might be better.

Lever 3 helps agents target who sees their ads. Real estate agents can use this level to reach the people who have already visited their websites or lookalike audiences, made up of similar people to those who already have some connection to an agent.

Lever 4 is a measurement option. It’s great for tracking activity, what works and how to further optimize ads.

Lever 5 is the interface option that dictates how a person creates ads. Boost Post is one of those interfaces. Ads Manager is the middle option in complexity and control, and the one that is probably best for agents who are not professional advertisers. The Power Editor interface is for advertising professionals and others who manage a lot of ads.

Finally, lever 6, allows for optimization, or the continual monitoring and calibrating of an agent’s or brokerage’s ads, according to The, who recommends learning more from Facebook’s free Facebook Blueprint.

For agents who don’t want to get this involved with their Facebook advertising, there’s a more targeted option that doesn’t require all the work. reported in October the Zillow Group announced a new listing lead product for real estate agents on Facebook. Essentially, Zillow is bundling Facebook ads into a product for agent advertisers. Zillow also has plans to launch The Premier Agent Direct option, which drives agents’ ads into the news feeds of Facebook users who have visited Zillow or Trulia. This targets ads to people interested in or planning transactions, according to Inman.

We’d love to know if and how you’re using Facebook ads to boost your business. Leave a comment below!