Real Estate PPC Guide: Everything You Need to Know in 2019
This article is part of a series about real estate PPC. We highly encourage you to read the entire guide.
- Real Estate PPC 101: Everything you need to know
- The Cost of Real Estate PPC
- PPC Ad Metrics Explained
- How to Convert Real Estate PPC Leads
- Common PPC Problems and Solutions
- Real Estate PPC Case Study: Forced Registration
- Real Estate PPC Case Study: Challenge Realty
Let's talk PPC for real estate!
PPC is one of the most cost-effective forms of lead generation in real estate.
What is it? Why should you care? Let's dive in!
What is Real Estate PPC?
PPC is an acronym for Pay-Per-Click Advertising. Why is it called Pay-Per-Click? Because you pay every time someone clicks one of your ads.
The term PPC most commonly refers to ads that show up at the top of search engine results (also known as search ads).
To show up in search ads, you bid to show up for a variety of keyword phrases. For example, you could advertise to all users searching "New York Real Estate" or "New York Homes For Sale."
Every time someone clicks one of your ads, you'll pay a small fee—typically between $1-2.
PPC advertising exists on all search engines, including Google, Bing, Amazon, Yelp, and Yahoo, but Google is by far and away the leading PPC provider.
By the way, the word "PPC" is thrown around in many different contexts. Sometines PPC is used synonymously with "SEM" or "Search Engine Marketing," referring to the entire umbrella of paid online advertising, including Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads.
In this article, when we say PPC, we're referring to search ads.
Why should Real Estate Agents do PPC Advertising?
PPC is a great way to quickly boost traffic to your real estate website—with big returns.
Why does it work so well?
1. Active Searchers are Better Leads
With PPC, you're targeting site visitors in the exact moment they're searching for homes.
These searchers have a specific need (to find real estate listings). Your website is serving the need in the moment they're looking for help.
On top of that, they're already at the searching step of the buying cycle. That makes them pretty good candidates to turn into a real client within a few months.
With most other forms online advertising (e.g. Facebook ads), ad targeting is passively aimed at certain demographics. Your ad can show up in their social feed at any given time (e.g. between two cat videos). In that case, there's no guarantee that the people you're paying to show your ads to are even interested in buying a home.
2. Instant Lead Generation
Without a long-term investment in SEO, it's extremely challenging—if not impossible—to compete for search terms like "real estate" or "homes for sale."
But with PPC, you can speed up your lead generation by simply paying to show up in the search results.
Wherever you are in your real estate career, PPC can help. Single agents starting out can fill their pipelines, and massive brokerages can boost their recruitment efforts by supplying an inventory of leads to every agent.
3. You Don't Have to Share
Without naming names, many other real estate generation platforms force you to share your leads with other agents.
With PPC, you're paying for a search engine user to come to your site specifically. When they register for your site, they are your lead alone.
No sharing needed.
4. Superior Return on Investment
This is why you're here, isn't it?
At Real Estate Webmasters, our PPC specialists generate leads at an average cost per lead of $20 (between January 1 and December 31, 2018).
While cost per lead is highly variable by market, based on local competition, you're pretty safe to assume you're looking at $5-40 per lead.
Further reading: How much does real estate PPC cost?
If you're able to turn 2% of your PPC leads into closings, a cost per lead betwen $5-40 means you're only paying between $250-2,000 in PPC ads per closing.
You can do the math on what type of ROI that would mean for your business, but I bet you it's big.
That's why we love PPC for real estate agents, and will recommend it to all of our clients.
What Do Real Estate PPC Ads Look Like?
Here's what shows up for a search for "Manhattan real estate."
Ads can have a variety of extensions.
These are additional links or features in an ad. These can be links to additional pages, your phone number, featured listings, price ranges, and more.
Where Do Real Estate PPC Ads Appear?
As the advertiser, you can create PPC search ads that show up in several different places, including:
- The top of the search engine results
- The bottom of the search engine results
- Banner ads on participating third party websites
The most common place for PPC ads to show up is at the top of the search results. Other than being marked with a green "Ad" label, they typically look very similar to an organic, unpaid search result.
How Does Google PPC Work?
Every time someone performs a Google search, every ad enters into a formal auction process.
The ad system begins by weeding out any ads that don't meet the specific criteria, like those targeting users in other countries.
Next, Google looks at AdRank, which is a combination of two elements:
- Maximum Bid
- Quality Score
The Quality Score is on a per-ad basis, and is determined by the expected click through rate of your ad, the user's search, and your site's landing page experience.
To learn more about how keyword bidding works, check out this video from Google:
The most important takeaway from the bidding process is this: even if your competitor has a higher bid for an ad, you can still win the placement at a lower cost by having a higher Quality Score.
How do you get a higher Quality Score?
Make sure your landing pages are relevant to the ads you're targeting, and make sure your website provides a phenomenal user experience.
That's why it's critical that your PPC is of utmost quality and managed with care. Because Quality Score is such an important factor in both ad placement and ad cost, many real estate agents will choose to hire professionals to create and maintain their PPC campaigns.
On top of that, investing in a high-quality website can pay off in less expensive ads down the road.
PPC represents a huge opportunity for real estate agents to improve their businesses and grow their teams.