Focusing on expired listings can be a great way to acquire motivated sellers for real estate investing purposes or as a realtor to get new listing contracts.

There are several ways you can go about that. One way is gathering contact information manually or from different service providers.

The issue when cold calling them can be that many others (competitors) will have the same contact information, which means that those sellers may get flooded with calls.

A solution is to target them with Facebook Ads, so you will change the push strategy over the phone to a pull strategy where only the ones interested (the warm ones) will contact you, not vice versa.

This article will show you how you can target expired listings on Facebook.

Besides that, if you read this article to the end, you will learn what you need before you head over to the Facebook Ads Manager and which expired listing service providers you can use to support your Facebook campaign.

What Are Expired Listings?

Although I am pretty sure you already know what expired listings are, I will discuss what they are to ensure we are on the same page.

Let’s say you are a homeowner that signed a listing contract with a realtor.

This usually has a contract period. At the time of the listing contract, the property gets listed on the respective MLS.

If the property doesn’t sell during this period, the listing contract expires, and thus the property listing becomes an expired listing.

As a property owner, you can either renew the contract and list it again, change to another realtor, or just say I will go for the for sale by owner route.

No matter if you stay with the realtor you used before or change to another brokerage firm, a new listing will always be created on the MLS.

What You Need Before You Head Over to the Facebook Ads Manager

Now, you just head to the Facebook Ads Manager and create an ad by selecting the interest “expired listings” in the audience targeting section, right?

Not so fast.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use the detailed targeting option in Facebook’s ad manager because you will need to select the special ad category “Housing” for all real estate-related ads.

 

How to target expired listings on Facebook

It is a fairly new ad classification that promotes job opportunities, credit, or housing.

Why did they create this category? 

Its purpose is to help against discriminatory practices, including discrimination based on age, gender, and other demographic characteristics.

According to Facebook, discrimination happened foremost in these three categories.

But even if you could use detailed targeting, you wouldn’t find “expired listings” as interest there because of the existence of this special category.

Here, I tried to create a campaign without the special category and searched for “expired listings”, and nothing came up. 

How to target expired listings on Facebook

Before, you might have been able to do a detailed targeting of people that fit the profile of property owners whose listing expired, such as, for example:

  • Certain age groups by researching beforehand in which typical age groups such as owners usually, are
  • The gender having typically the largest share of owners of expired listings (also based on prior research).
  • Interests in certain for sale by owner websites

I think you get the idea. 

You could have profiled the ideal target group whose interests were directly or indirectly connected with owners of expired listings by enough prior research.

So, this leaves us with only two options for targeting expired listings on Facebook.

The first option would be broad targeting (forced due to the special ads category) in a particular geographic area in combination with the perfect ad created by rigorous testing over time.

You would need to be able to do an outstanding job in creating the ad copy and the ad creatives while getting these ads approved by Facebook without violating their policies.

To do that, you would need some great knowledge about your target group. In this context, you might want to read my article “The Facebook Marketing Strategy Guide,” where I discuss this more in-depth.

The second, more cost-effective option, with likely less testing involved than the first one, would be to let third parties do for you the detailed “targeting,” which is not available on Facebook in this special category anymore.

What do I mean by that?

Well, you basically buy data from services that can provide you with the contact information of expired listings.

They don’t do detailed Facebook targeting per se, but they already have access to the contact information of owners of expired listings in some geographic regions.

6 Expired Listing Providers That You Could Use

Why Not Just Contact the Expired Listings by Phone or Email Directly?

This is a valid argument, and you could do just that. 

Just pick up the phone and then cold-call the expired listing leads you to receive from these providers.

Why not? You will save money by not spending additionally on a Facebook advertising campaign.

Overall, cold-calling performance isn’t as bad as I already discussed in this article.

But you might want to consider several points before you pick up the phone.

During my research, I found a review about Vulcan7 from an owner of an expired listing.

It wasn’t a review from a real estate professional’s perspective that may use Vulcan7 to generate leads but rather from a bothered owner that got lots of unsolicited calls.

Here is an excerpt of the review:

“Sep, 2016 – on MLS I listed my home for sale. My home telephone or private mobile numbers were never published or listed online.

Most importantly, all these phone numbers were on Do-No-Call for the last five to eight years.

Once the sale of my home was suspended from that list on MLS, on all of my numbers, I started to receive solicitation from different realtors.

They pitched about their services during those calls.

I decided to ask these realtors in order to know from where they used to operate and got my private numbers.

All of them have mentioned that they got those numbers from Vulcan 7. It was a paid-for service used by most of the realtors.”

You can read the rest of it here.

This review may or may not be true, but it gives food for thought that can be extrapolated to other service providers of expired listings.

We can assume that, firstly, the quality of the leads may vary from provider to provider. Secondly, that lead information is not necessarily sold exclusively to real estate professionals.

So, the same owner of an expired listing may get many calls from different real estate professionals.

The other thing to consider is that you will lose the opportunity to create lookalike audiences by not importing the lead contact information in a Facebook Ad campaign for a custom audience.

A lookalike audience is an audience the Facebook Ads Manager can create with the help of its algorithm. It is based on the first audience you create by importing contact information or creating it individually with different interest targeting and more.

In our case, it would be based on the imported data to create the custom audience.

In other words, this new lookalike audience would be people that know people in the first audience or people with similar profiles and behaviors.

Additionally, and on a side note, importing the expired listing contact information into the Facebook Ads Manager will also have an additional way to filter out bad contact information.

Facebook will display an error when the data is incomplete or if it has errors by comparing the imported data with the information in the database.

This part of creating the campaign with a custom expired listing audience will become clearer in the next section.

How to Target Expired Listings on Facebook with Higher Chances of Success

I hope I could convince you that the most effective and efficient is to use expired listing providers to gather contact information for expired listings and then target them on Facebook. This is in contrast to contacting them directly over the phone has its merits.

So, first, you would need one or more of the above providers to generate expired listing leads before starting the Facebook Ads campaign. 

Sure, you could also get them from the MLS or other manual methods (e.g., courthouses, etc.), but this would be way more time-consuming unless you already have a system where you delegate this task. 

Now, head to your Facebook Ads Manager and click “Create.”
Next, you have the choice between different campaign types.
As already established in
 my article on real estate Facebook marketing strategies, these three are most suitable for real estate:

  • lead generation
  • traffic
  • messages

So, if you want to generate leads directly on Facebook, choose “lead generation.” 

If you need the traffic to go to your website (your landing page) and convert them there, choose “traffic,” and if you want to create ads within Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, maybe also in combination with a Chatbot, then choose “messages”.

 

How to target expired listings on Facebook
How to target expired listings on Facebook
How to target expired listings on Facebook

Now, you click on “Next” or “Continue.”

On the next screen, you can name your campaign and should activate “Special Ad Category,” and choose “Housing.”

Again, without this special ad category activated, you won’t be able to run real estate ads.

How to target expired listings on Facebook

You can leave the rest as it is and then click on “Next”.

Now, you can name your adset, select your Facebook Page, define your daily budget, and your ad scheduling.

Scrolling down, you will find the Audience area.

This is the critical part where you will need the data from your expired listing services.

Here, you click on “Create New,” select “Custom Audience,” and then “Customer List.”

How to target expired listings on Facebook
How to target expired listings on Facebook

Now, you can upload your list from your service provider as a CSV or text file. 

So, you want to ensure that you downloaded it in this format from your providers.

You can then name your custom audience. Here, you want to use a name such as “Expired_DATE.” 

Use the date in the name of when you uploaded it to Facebook, so you don’t get confused should you upload another new one several weeks from then.

Next, Facebook will want to know which datasets to import. 

You only want to check the boxes for emails and phone numbers.

Depending on your service provider, there might be other information, but these two are the most important. 

Ensure not to check the boxes of the other information types, such as addresses. 

If they are selected, Facebook might give you an error.

It might display an error, nevertheless, if the data provided by your service lacks some emails or phone numbers or has some incorrect emails or phone numbers in it. 

But that’s ok.

This filter I mentioned above filters out some bad lead contact information.

Next, you can move on to create your ad or to create a lookalike audience.

By the way, to create a lookalike audience, you will need at least a dataset of 100 entries.

To further understand ad creation, you may want to read my article “The Facebook Marketing Strategy Guide for Real Estate.”

You can and should exclude certain audiences below this area, such as real estate agents, brokers, and more.

However, do this only if you don’t want your competition to be targeted.
You can do this by job title, behavior, and more.

The next thing you need to do in this section is to determine your geographic area, which I assume will be the U.S. for the most part.

You can also select the language.

If you want to target Hispanics, you may want to use “Spanish,” although that’s not what the statistical data suggests about this target group.

Summing Up

Targeting expired listings on Facebook is not straightforward because of the limitations the Facebook Ads platform will give you due to its policies for real estate (Special Ad Category).

The most effective and efficient way to go about it is to already have a contact list of expired listings that you then use to create a custom audience on Facebook.

To get this list, you may want to use third-party service providers or get them manually if you have a lot of time on hand.

Based on your custom audience, you can create lookalike audiences and then reach more people who may be in a similar situation as the ones you already target.

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher

Tobias Schnellbacher