Dubbed Dynamic Ads for Real Estate, the new tool enables real estate brokers to advertise listings on its social media properties including Facebook and Instagram. Kevin Watts, real estate and financial services head at Facebook, told the real estate news website Inman that with this advertising tool, real estate agents can promote for-sale properties, but it does require integration of the brokerage firm’s listing data and search system with Facebook’s ad platform. Once that is complete the social media company will look at a potential home buyer’s search preferences based on their activity on the brokerage website and then serve up listings in the inventory that match the buyer’s search preferences, reported Inman. The listings will show up in the feeds of Facebook and Instagram as a slideshow. (See more: Facebook Is Putting Ads ... Everywhere.)
Taking on Zillow
“For the folks that can have that amount of volume, we think it’s going to work really well, and once it’s set up, it’s pretty much automatic, you don’t have to spend a lot of manpower to keep the system up and running,” Watts told Inman, noting that real estate is an area Facebook is making big bets on. The new feature appears to be in direct competition to Zillow Group Inc. (Z), the online real estate company, which already let's real estate agents advertise on its site. In October, it inked a partnership with Facebook in which its Premier Agents can run ads on the social network. It's not clear if Dynamic Ads for Real Estate will compete directly with that partnership. (See more: Zillow May Have Violated Mortgage Regulations.)
Facebook isn’t the only tech heavy hitter eyeing the real estate market as a new way to boost advertising revenue and keep users on its platforms longer. In July media reports surfaced that Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) was getting into the real estate market with a “Hire a Realtor” link suddenly appearing on Amazon’s website during the company’s annual Prime Day event. The page, which was later taken down, was reportedly located in the Home and Business Services section, a part of Amazon’s website dedicated to connecting customers with experts in home improvement, electronics installation, and various other services. The link asked users to enter their zip code. It also featured a "coming soon" message, together with the option to receive an email when the service is made fully available. Despite not being online for long, the fact that Amazon might have uploaded the page in the first place would suggest that it is keen to eventually start enabling consumers to hire a real estate agent through its website.
That revelation immediately sent shares in Zillow, which generates the majority of its revenues from realtor referrals, into a downward spiral.