What Is PPC? Everything You Need to Know About PPC for Real Estate


What is PPC?

Let's talk PPC for real estate!

At Real Estate Webmasters, we highly recommend PPC as the most effective form of online advertising for real estate agents, as it's a great way to bring instant traffic and business to your website.

Simply put, if you're in real estate, you should be running PPC.

So let's dive in.

What is PPC?

PPC, an acronym for Pay Per Click Advertising, is a model of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee every time their ad is clicked.

Traditionally, PPC refers to paid advertisements that show up at the top of search engine results. These are also known as "search ads." For search ads, an advertiser bids 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." If your ad shows up and someone clicks on it, 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.

We should note that the term "PPC" is thrown around in many different contexts. Recently, PPC has been 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 All Real Estate Agents Should Do PPC Advertising

Within the real estate context, PPC can be a highly beneficial form of advertising, as it allows you to quickly send more traffic to your site.

Why PPC search ads over other forms of advertising?

Active Searchers are Better Leads

With PPC, you're targeting site visitors in the exact moment they're searching for homes. You're also targeting people who are specificially searching for real estate listings.

With other forms of online advertising (e.g. Facebook), ad targeting is typically passively aimed at certain demographics or people who may have generally shown interest in real estate. Therefore, your Facebook ad could appear in someone's feed at any time. You know when your ad will show up.

Instant Lead Generation

Better still, PPC search ad traffic often comes from keywords that are too competitive to rank for organically, allowing you to benefit from the keyword without the long-term investment of SEO.

PPC is one of the fastest and easiest ways for Realtors to improve their business, regardless of where they are in their careers. Single agents starting out and massive brokerages alike can see phenomenal ROI when they use PPC as part of a larger real estate lead strategy.

Superior Return on Investment

At Real Estate Webmasters, our PPC specialists generate leads at an average cost per lead of $20 (between January 1 and July 31, 2018). Note that cost per lead is highly variable by market, based on local competition, with markets ranging between $5-40 cost per lead.

If you're able to turn 2% of your PPC leads into closings, a cost per lead betwen $5-40/lead 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.

That's why we love PPC for real estate agents, and will recommend it to all of our clients.

What Do PPC Ads Look Like?

Here are a couple examples of what Google's PPC search ads can look like. Here's what shows up for a search for "Manhattan real estate."

PPC search network ad
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 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 PPC Works on Google

When advertisers create a Google ad, it goes into a formal auction process. The ad system begins by weeding out any ads that don't meet the specific criteria, like those targetting users in other countries.

Next, it 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 users' 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.


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