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 the ads that show up at the top of search engine results. These are 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. Sometimes 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 specifically referring to search ads.
Why should real estate agents do PPC?
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 most forms advertising, you have no idea what context your ad will appear in.
With Facebook advertising, your beautifully crafted banner ad could appear between two cat videos.
With TV advertising, your viewing audience may be taking a bathroom break during the commercials.
While every form of advertising has its unique benefits, there's no guarantee that the people you're advertising to are even interested in buying a home.
With PPC, you're targeting people in the exact moment they're searching for homes.
When someone searches "New York homes for sale" you know that you have someone who is attentive in that moment, and that their goal is to find real estate listings.
And luckily, you're there to give them exactly what they're searching for. That makes them pretty good candidates to turn into a real client within a few weeks or months.
As an added bonus, you're advertising to someone at the beginning of the buying cycle, when they need help most.
If you can provide a helping hand at their initial stages of searching for a home, you are the most likely agent to get their business—regardless of how many cat videos they may watch on Facebook.
2. Instant Lead Generation
Without a long-term investment in SEO, it's extremely challenging—if not impossible—to compete for organic traffic on search terms like "real estate" or "homes for sale."
Companies like Zillow and Trulia dominate the search engine rankings, and only those with six-figure marketing budgets have a chance at beating them out organically.
With PPC, you can fast track your lead generation by paying to show up in the search results.
And this applies to every tier of the real estate industry, no matter where you are in your career.
Single agents just 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.
Yes, they already may have had another agent in mind, but if they adopt your website as their main source for listing information, you have the chance to win them over as they come back to your website time and time again.
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 $21 (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.
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.
Now that you're totally convinced, let's chat more about specifics.
What do real estate PPC ads look like?
Here's what shows up for a search for "Manhattan real estate."
As you can see, ads can have a variety of extensions.
These are additional links or features of 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 Ads work?
Google's PPC platform is called Google Ads. It was renamed from Google AdWords in 2018.
Every time someone performs a Google search, your 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:
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?
By having landing pages are relevant to the ads you're targeting, and make sure your website provides a phenomenal user experience.
How does PPC work at Real Estate Webmasters?
Because Quality Score is such an important factor in both ad placement and ad cost, most top real estate agents will hire professionals to manage their PPC campaigns.
That's why we at REW have always offered PPC services to our clients—something we've seen huge success with for over a decade.
Why do REW clients succeed with PPC?
First, your website already provides an amazing experience. And that's half the recipe to PPC success.
Our PPC team will create high-converting landing pages on your website that are specifically designed to get people to register.
Second, our PPC team has seen almost everything when it comes to real estate ad campaigns. We've built and refined our proprietary keyword lists for over a decade. We know what works and we know what doesn't.
That saves you time and money.
In the end, PPC represents a huge opportunity for real estate agents to improve their businesses and grow their teams.