Understanding fair housing laws is essential to all Multifamily professionals, especially those advertising on platforms like Facebook. When the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, it made discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability illegal in all 50 states. As a member of the Multifamily industry, it’s important to keep yourself updated on new regulations and laws that could affect the ways in which you market your property.
With social media marketing becoming more popular among Multifamily communities, Facebook has emerged as one of the most comprehensive platforms for advertising listings. And while its newest ad targeting changes are intended to prohibit discrimination and comply with the Fair Housing Act, they also make things a lot more complicated for the multifamily industry.
Facebook’s New Ad Restrictions
At the end of 2019, Facebook announced two important deadlines for housing advertisers to comply with their “Special Ad Category” changes. The new regulations, originally unveiled in March 2019, are now being rolled out to all advertisers using Facebook Marketing’s API—those buying Facebook ads through third-party platforms and tools—to process their ads. Here’s how Facebook’s changes impact the multifamily industry directly:
- Housing advertisements processed through Facebook’s Marketing API will no longer be allowed to target by age, gender, or zip code.
- They will have a limited set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns, while multicultural affinity targeting will be unavailable for these ads.
- The limited targeting categories available include: user’s geography (country, region, state, congressional district), interests, and behaviors.
- All approved housing ads will also be added to Facebook’s Ad Archive, providing full transparency over such promotions.
Who Is Affected?
Facebook has long been a place where the rental industry could effectively market properties to local residents, but with their new restrictions, their online and social media advertising on Facebook will be negatively impacted.
All Multifamily Advertisers: Multifamily communities advertising on Facebook (including those through Facebook’s Marketing API) no longer have the option to target their ads based on zip code.
55+ Community Housing: Senior living communities will no longer be able to specifically reach those 55 years or older since the restrictions do not allow advertisements to target age groups.
Student Housing: Those advertising student housing opportunities will not have the option to target their age range with the new age restrictions.
Any multifamily professional knows that Facebook Ads are not the be-all-end-all. Facebook is, ultimately, a social media platform, and marketing managers should lean into that. Here are a few ways to use the platform to your advantage:
- Post pictures from any community events or gatherings your property hosts for its residents or post other content that resonates with your audience.
- Utilize Facebook messenger as a chatbox to answer any prospective renter questions. The faster the response time, the better.
- Respond to all reviews of your property—the good and the not so good—to show that you’re committed to providing an exceptional customer experience.
In addition, marketers can leverage Facebook Marketplace to post listings. Within the dedicated housing section of Marketplace, Facebook users are able to search by location. That means that any multifamily property can post their listings and Facebook users can specifically search for places in their city.
Using Facebook as a multi-faceted tool for your community—as opposed to solely using it for advertising—will help build a more robust online presence. Although the new Facebook ad restrictions will negatively impact the reach of housing advertisements on the platform, you can still use Facebook to reach prospective renters and current residents.
Advertising Opportunities with Zumper
Zumper became an official housing partner with Facebook Marketplace in 2017. Multifamily listings posted and advertised on Zumper are automatically syndicated to Facebook Marketplace within 24 hours of onboarding with Zumper. This partnership allows all Zumper listings to be filtered by city and state on Facebook since they appear within its Marketplace.
Advertising with Zumper lets you maintain your online visibility and continue marketing effectively on social media. Plus, automatic syndication takes the work off of your hands and removes the process of posting your individual listings on Facebook.
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