Facebook & LinkedIn:
Who is the winner in the competition of advertising real estate properties?
December 16, 2016
The evolution of digital technology has witnessed the transformation of the way real estate agencies advertise properties. Property advertising has been changing from traditional one-way advertising like print ads to engagement advertising on social media. As Facebook and LinkedIn have been among the biggest social networks in the world, have you ever wondered which network can give real estate agents higher chance to reach more home buyers which lower cost? You don’t know? We didn’t know either. So we initiated a small competition between Facebook and LinkedIn networks. Exciting!
Each network advertised three same properties in Sweden at the same time in 14 days. The objective was to drive the traffic to the listing pages. On Facebook, we run Link Ad, including News Feed and Right Column Ad. On LinkedIn , we run Sponsored Content and Text ads. Facebook News Feed ads competed with LinkedIn Sponsored Content, and Facebook Right Column ads competed with LinkedIn Text ads.The winner was decided based on the cost of website traffic from the two networks.
We tried to set up advertising criteria for two networks in a way that we can get the most from each social network.
- Facebook: Mobile and Desktop for News Feed, Desktop Only for Right Column ads.
- LinkedIn: Mobile and Desktop for Sponsored Content, Desktop Only for Text ads.
Budget: 100 EUR for each network
- Facebook: automatic
- LinkedIn: 1.16 EUR (it was the minimum bid that LinkedIn suggested)
- Facebook: Three audience types were targeted:
1. Re-targeting audience: Re-targeting audience is defined as active home seekers. They are the Facebook users who have been in the real estate agency websites and are interested in similar properties with similar prices, home types, locations and number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc…
2. Lookalike audience: Lookalike audience is defined as in active home buyers, who are not actively looking for houses but may be interested in buying houses if relevant houses are shown to them. Lookalike audience is identified by matching behavioral profile of active home seekers with Facebook users.
3. Characteristic based audience: This audience is identified by their characteristics that are mostly likely related to their behavior of buying home. In this case, we targeted the people who were living within 2 km radius of the selling houses and had relationship status “In a relationship”, “Engaged” or “Married”.
- LinkedIn: We tried different targeting options on LinkedIn and we found Location and Member age were the most relevant criteria to identify potential home buyers.
And here are the results!
Facebook won convincingly against LinkedIn!
In terms of CPC, Facebook News Feed outperformed LinkedIn Sponsored Content by 1763% and Facebook Right Column Ads outperformed LinkedIn Text Ads by 22%. Regarding CTR, Facebook News Feed ads also outperformed LinkedIn Sponsored Content by 758%, and Facebook Right Column ads by 465%.
Based on the metrics we got, we proposed several possible explanations why LinkedIn has lower performance results in advertising properties.
Low CTR of LinkedIn ads indicated that the ads were not showed to relevant people. One explanation is that targeting options on LinkedIn mostly focus on professions and career, not on characteristics and behaviors. Therefore, it was challenging to identify people who had interests in buying houses. On LinkedIn, there is no option to create Re-targeting audience and Lookalike audience which perform very well on Facebook. Another limitation on advertising on LinkedIn is that we can not target a small area but the whole city.
With Facebook, high CTR (6.96% for Facebook News Feed) and high Relevance score (9.5) shown that we targeted very relevant people who were mostly likely to be interested in buying houses.
Another note is that ad approving time on LinkedIn was quite long: 1-3 days, therefore advertising on LinkedIn may not be a right advertising channel for dynamic real estate markets like in Scandinavian markets where houses can be sold in 7 days.
The competition was initiated in only Sweden. Although we assume that this result can apply in other Nordic countries because of similar characteristics and behaviors of Nordic home buyers, we can’t be sure that the result is valid in other continents.
We planed to spend 500 EUR to for this competition. However, due to the significant difference between the performance of Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads’, we decided to stop the competition after advertising three properties and spending 200 EUR. However, we believe that bigger scale gives more reliable results.
Advertising properties on Facebook network is much more efficient than on LinkedIn network in terms of cost of website traffic. This is because Facebook provides with more flexible targeting options to re-target active home buyers and target inactive home buyers.
LinkedIn is a professional social media and has a lot of professional and career targeting options that Facebook does not have. There is a hypothesis that LinkedIn can be a good network to advertise agents to home sellers and advertise real estate agencies to top agents. This could be the idea for further competitions between Facebook and LinkedIn in resolving problems for real estate agencies.