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Optimizing Instagram and Facebook Ads to Drive Leads for Loan Officers

Whether you are a loan officer looking to run a social media ad for the first time or you already have and just aren't getting the results you want, this article is for you. Here are five tips for loan officers to optimize Instagram and Facebook ads and drive more leads.

If you aren't already active on social media as a loan officer and using it to expand your marketing efforts, then you could be missing out on a massive audience of potential borrowers. Social media is expanding at a very fast rate, creating the perfect environment for you to publicize your services. One of the best ways to do just that is through social media advertising. That is why we have compiled a list of five tips to help optimize your social media ads to drive more leads.

Why Facebook and Instagram?

When deciding where to run your ads, there are a lot of social media platforms out there to choose from (with more being added all the time) . However, Instagram and Facebook are the two best that will help you get the most bang for your buck.

So what makes them more optimal than the rest? For starters, they are two of the most popular social media platforms, with Facebook amassing over 3 billion active users a month and Instagram over 2.4 billion active users a month. That's a lot of users that could be seeing your ads!

Since Facebook and Instagram share the same parent company, Meta, they both use the same ad management platform, Meta Ads Manager. This makes it easy to run ads on both of these platforms and manage them all under one roof. In addition, Meta Ads Manager allows you to easily optimize the placement of your ads. All you have to do is select the Advantage+ Placement option and Meta will automatically use your ad in the most optimal way possible.

Now that you know what platforms are optimal for social media ads, let's get in to the tips that will help you optimize your ads.

1. Build a strong campaign strategy

The key to creating a successful ad campaign is building a strong foundation. Before you implement any of the subsequent tips, it is key that you strategize and plan out your ad campaign to put it in the best position possible to succeed.

One of the first things you should be doing when creating a strategy for your campaign is researching your competition. There are a plethora of options out there that will help you see the kinds of ads your competition is running. Look into the content they are producing, the keywords they are utilizing, and the media type they are using.

This research will give you a sense of what others in the industry are doing and allow you then to start planning better ads than your competition.

Once you are past the competition research phase, you will have to decide some of the key features of your campaign. What do you want to promote? Is it a loan type? A positive review or borrower testimonial? Perhaps a milestone or achievement you recently reached? Whatever it is, the content that you are pushing will guide the rest of the decisions for your campaign.

After confirming what content you are advertising, decide on the media type. There are two media types to choose from, video or image; both having their own advantages and possibilities. Ultimately your decision will come down to what you are comfortable with and your skill set. Later in this article, I will go into more detail about both media types to assist you in determining which will better help you reach your goals.

An often overlooked, but incredibly important part of the campaign strategizing process is keyword research. Utilizing top performing and high-potential keywords in your copy will ensure that your ads are reaching the audiences that are looking for the services that you provide. Tools such as Semrush make it easy to find the best keywords for your campaign with the click of a button.

The final part of building your campaign strategy is setting a budget. Set a budget for the entire campaign based on your goals and how much you are willing to spend. After that, decide how long you want the ad to run, as this will help you determine your daily budget. One thing to note is that Meta ads will optimize your budget so that on certain days you are spending more than your daily budget and some days, less.

2. Define your audience

How do you expect your campaign to succeed if you aren't putting it in front of the right people? Without defining your audience and pushing it to those who can benefit from it, you have a low chance of turning impressions into actual leads.

Before diving into the options that you can control, I first want to note the options that cannot be changed. As a loan officer, you will have to select the credit category for the type of ad. By selecting this category, some of your audience targeting will be limited, such as age, gender, some interests, exclusion targeting, Zip or postal code, and lookalike audiences. So what can you do to hone in on your target audience?

For starters, select the location where you want your ads to run. Meta allows credit category ads locations to be by country, region, state, city, province, or congressional district (you cannot target people based on zip code and you cannot exclude any locations). To get the most out of your audience targeting, run your ads on a state level as it makes it broad enough to reach a large audience, but also specific enough to target those who will engage with your ads.

As a best practice, limit your ads to the states where you are licensed. Without doing this, you run the risk of getting leads in states that you can't even service.

In addition, your budget should determine how many states you target (if you are licensed in multiple states). With a smaller budget, roughly $25 or less, you will want to select your top one or two highest producing states so that you are not spreading out your resources too much. With a larger budget you have room to expand the locations you decide on.

Another audience targeting option that can be adjusted is interests. Meta Ads Manager gives you the option to choose the interests that your desired audience is... well, interested in. There is an extensive list of interests to choose, ranging from Zillow to mortgage calculator to real estate to first-time buyer and many, many more. Mess around with adding different interests and see which ones maximize your goal in the daily estimated results box.

Once you have determined your audience location and interests, take a look at the Audience Definition box.

To ensure the best chance of success for your ads, your audience definition should be in the middle/green zone. Anything too specific (red) or too broad (yellow) will end up hurting your advertisement efforts.

3. Create engaging content

There are countless ads out on social media at this very moment, so how do you create one that is scroll-stopping good? With engaging content that gives value to the viewer.

As mentioned earlier, there are two media types to choose from for your ad: images and video. The one you end up going with ultimately depends on your skill set and resources available to you. Below, I will highlight how to optimize your content for both media types.

  • Images: The key to images, whether photographic or graphically designed, is to make it stand out because if it looks like every other ad, it will get passed over like every other ad. Images should be high-quality and well designed above all else. If you are choosing a photographic image, make sure it is professionally done so that aspects like the framing and lighting are correct. Should you choose the graphic design route, different shapes, fonts, and photos are your friend. Test out a few different design elements and see what looks best to you. This is also a critical opportunity for you to add in some of those keywords that you researched earlier.

  • Video: When it comes to videos, the first few seconds are the most important. Within those first few seconds, the viewer is either engaged and will keep watching or scrolls past, forgetting about your ad just as quick as it popped up on their feed. There are a few steps you can take to ensure that their attention is kept. For one, give them something of value. That could be a guarantee to communicate in a quick and professional way or a history of quick closings or a down payment assistance loan, whatever it is, make sure it gives them value as a potential homebuyer. In addition to giving them value, there are some minor (yet important) video aspects to keep in mind. Ensure the lighting is good, nobody wants to watch a dark video where they can't tell what is going on. You will also want to keep your video fairly short, roughly 15 - 30 seconds.

Meta Ads Manager allows for you to upload multiple image or video files, so to optimize your ads, include content with different sizes and specs so that your ad is looking its best no matter where it is placed.

4. Optimize your copy

Along with engaging image or video content, you will also need to optimize your copy. Without good copy, the viewer will not feel compelled to take action. Your copy in this instance, will be what you put as your primary text, or caption, your headline, or what your ad is about, and your description, or why people should click on your ad.

Writing good copy doesn't take years of experience or any courses, but rather an authenticity to oneself. As with any social media content and copy, being true to oneself and consistent with your tone, vernacular, and personality will bear amazing results. This stands true to your advertising as well.

In addition to being authentic, you will also want to add in some of the top performing keywords that you researched in your strategizing phase. Not to sound like a broken record, but adding in keywords to your ad copy will help those ads reach the audience that is most likely to engage with your ads. With this in mind, do not just stuff keywords into your copy, only put them where they are relevant.

Now that you have started to write your copy, you may want to make a few options, but struggle with which option to go with (I know I sure do). Thankfully, Meta takes the stress of this away by allowing you to upload up to five options for each of the primary text, headline, and description. They will then determine which combination of those three will be most likely for each specific user to engage with.

One last note on optimize ad copy is to ensure that it is error free. The quickest way to lose authority with your ad is by having grammatical mistakes in your text. So please, make sure that you proofread your copy and then proofread it a second time for good measure.

5. Keep an eye on the analytics

The final tip, and personally my favorite part of running Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns, is keeping track of how your ad is doing. Ads can always be optimized and analytics tells you the areas in which you can improve. Plus, checking your analytics and seeing your ads (and money) at work is fun!

There are a number of analytic metrics that you will want to keep an eye on:

Reach - The total number of individual user feeds where the ad has appeared.

Impressions - The total number of times that the ad has been on a user's feed. Impressions will usually be higher than reach since an ad can appear on a user's feed multiple times.

Cost Per Click - The average cost per time a user clicks on an ad. This is calculated by taking the total amount spent divided by the amount of clicks on an ad.

Clicks - The amount of times a user has clicked on the ad.

Click Through Rate - The ratio of times the ad is clicked on compared to the total amount of impressions.

Cost Per Result - The average cost per result that was chosen for a campaign. This could be conversions, clicks, etc.

Frequency - The average amount of times a specific user sees the ad on their feed. Frequency can be found by dividing the total number of impressions by the number of unique users who have seen the ad.

Each of these metrics help paint a picture of the overall success of your campaign. A good rule of thumb is to check back on these analytics once a week. I like to set a calendar alert for every Monday morning, but do whatever works best for your schedule.

Not only are analytics vital for keeping track of progress on your current campaign, but they are also a tool you can use to improve future campaigns. Testing, both during the current campaign you are setting up and in future campaigns, is the key to growth and improving your results.

With your current campaign, you have the option to experiment with A/B testing. An A/B test will allow you to create a copy of the ad you want to run and make some minor tweaks, then run both ads for a period of time (at least 7 days is recommended) to see which performs better.

You do want to be careful though not making too many changes to the "B" ad, as this may not help you see what exactly improves your campaign. Start with one minor tweak, such as a change to the audience interests or the primary text keywords, and you will start to see what content is optimal for your goals.

After your campaign is finished and you are ready to run a new one, take this knowledge that you learned and use it to improve and refine your content to turn those impressions into leads.

Now more than ever, loan officers need to use social media to their advantage and ads are a key way to do just that. Take these tips you just read and see how they can help you improve your campaigns!

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