Google advertising programs webpage

Google Ads for Real Estate – The Ultimate Guide (2021)

Today we are going to talk about how to set up Google ads for real estate. I will go through step-by-step the process I use to generate nearly 100 leads per month for my real estate business.

Google ads have been one of my main sources of closings ever since I began running them in 2016. I’ve generated nearly 10,000 leads over that time and earned over $1,000,000 in commissions from Google leads.

The platform has gotten easier to use over time. Today, once you learn how to set up your first campaign Google ads for real estate are fairly easy to manage over time and improve your conversions.

What is PPC Advertising?

PPC stands for “pay-per-click,” and it’s a type of digital marketing ad campaign. A PPC campaign is best suited for a real estate agent looking for high-quality internet leads. These ads are paid, meaning that it is not an organic way of finding leads. A PPC ad works best when it comes to advertising in search engines.

When a user enters a search term on any search engine, the search engine will have a list of sponsored links at the top.

When that user clicks a sponsored link, the advertiser pays a small fee to the search engine.

This is beneficial to the advertiser, in this case a real estate agent, because they only pay whenever a lead clicks on the ad. This is a cost effective way, especially for brand new agents, to get more leads from their real estate ads. You only pay for the most relevant web traffic, rather than paying for all of it.

And if you make a sale or gain a client from the user clicking on your ad, then the fee to the platform was worth it in exchange for the business.

PPC ads can be used for any type of real estate business, whether it’s commercial real estate, a real estate agency, or real estate investor.

Tiles that spell out "pay per click" against a white background

How Does Google Ads Work?

Google Ads is perhaps the most popular way for a real estate professional to start PPC advertising.

This is because as the most widely-used search engine, Google has a huge impact on the real estate industry. It’s a popular tool for buyers and sellers to look at listings, real estate agents in their area, will get you the best results for your ad campaign.

Google advertising with PPC works as a bidding system. Each user sets up a bid on a certain keyword.

Then, whenever a user searches for that term, the Google algorithm essentially decides which keywords to show that user. That decision is reached by various factors, including how well your landing page is setup and optimized for a clear user experience, how relevant the keyword is in your ad, the quality of the ad copy itself, and Google’s quality score for your ads.

This quality score is based on your click through rate, conversion rate, landing page design, and relevance to the keyword that was searched for.

But most importantly, keyword research will be essential to creating the perfect ad campaign. The keyword research process should also be ongoing, because the terms that your target audience is searching for changes over time.

Use a keyword research tool to create a list of possible keywords that your ad can rank for. Then, go back and update this list at least on a monthly basis to make sure you have the best chance of reaching your audience.

Google ads homepage

Set Up a New Campaign

Use your existing Google account or sign up for a new account. Be sure to utilize Google Adwords and not Adwords Express.

Search Network

I turn off the search and display network for my ads. I only want my Google ad to show up in the main feed when users search the exact terms I want them to. This gives me greater control of which audience I’m targeting and who responds to my ad.

Leads

Be sure to optimize your campaign for lead generation. This tells Google that the goal of the ad is to convert traffic into leads. This will help Google serve your ads to those potential buyers most likely to fill out a form on your website.

Website Visits

Add your website in so Google can track if the goal of leads is reached. If you have a specific goal success page, use that instead of your root domain.

Campaigns by Zip Code

I like to do my campaigns by zip code. If you live in a small market and don’t have many searches for a particular zip code you can use the entire city or county name. Whichever is most relevant.

Setting Your budget

Use what is most comfortable for you. I typically see Google leads cost agents between $10-70 per lead. Usually the smaller the market the less expensive the leads cost. This will be sort of a trial and error thing. It also depends how well your landing page converts. If the site isn’t compelling enough, the cost per lead will be higher.

The Google Ads smartphone app

Extensions

I run the following extensions. Google will only use one extension at a time. Google automatically determines which extension to run most often after experimenting with which ones improve the conversion of the ad.

Sitelink Extension

The best extension to use in my opinion. This is a must-use. Breakdown the zip code or market you’re using into smaller sub-markets. I typically receive more traffic and results from these Sitelink extensions than the actual ad itself.

Callout Extensions

Similar to a Sitelink extension in that it shows up below your actual advertisement, however, they are not clickable. These just give the user more information about your services or what the ad promotes. These help increase the results of your main advertisement.

Call Extensions

This Google ad extension allows users to one-click call you. This is most likely the least effective extension for a real estate agent. However, when used it can be a quick and easy way to get high quality leads calling you.

Setup Ad Group

Ad groups are groups of ads that you want categorized together. I typically setup an ad group for each zip code. Within that ad group you can create one or more ads, with different headlines and descriptions so you can split test which is most effective.

Someone holding up a magnifying glass to the word "keywords"

Keywords

My keywords typically take the form of “homes for sale +78247” (no quotes). The plus sign ensures that the zip code is used exactly as written. However, homes for sale can be reworded if Google feels that the user’s keyword is related.

I also like to go with a specific zip code because it means users searching for this word are more likely to be high-quality leads genuinely looking to hire my services.

Creating the Ad

To create the most effective ad you will need to determine what your headline and description will be to get users to click your ad and where you’ll want to send them once they’ve clicked on it.

Final URL

This should send users to a landing page. This landing page should be an IDX website of yours that has a built-in lead capture form on it. This lead capture form should pop-up automatically after a fixed amount of time or properties the user has looked at. There are many services that offer this type of website – kvCORE, Firepoint, BoomTown, Commissions INC. – to name a few.

Don’t just send clients to your root domain. Make sure they land on the page that gives them the most relevant results based on what they are searching for. This will help keep your bounce rate low, which means that the user will spend more time on your page before clicking away.

Headline

Be sure to use the keyword that you are targeting in your headline and make it clear to your target audience what they will get when they click on your ad. This way, you ensure that you are only getting leads who are genuinely interested in what you’re offering.

Display Path

Customize the display path so that it incorporates your keywords.

Description

Give additional information about what the user will receive when they click on that link. The more clear you can be, the better.

Google ads webpage on a smartphone

Results

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate is a commonly used metric in advertising campaigns to measure their effectiveness. It measures the ratio between the number of users who click a link on a page, versus those that just view the page.

Google Adwords will tell you exactly what your CTR is. Anything above 10% is doing great. 5% is average. If below 5% you may want to reconsider your headline and description.

Adjusting your ad copy based on the results from your campaign is important for boosting your quality score with Google Ads, and thus your ability to rank higher on the first page of the search engine results pages.

Traffic to Lead Ratio

Determine how much traffic it takes to generate one lead. In my example, I had 270 clicks and 12 leads generated. This equals 4.4% which is a decent conversion ratio from traffic to lead. If you are getting less than that you may want to consider changing up your landing page and lead capture form. If you are getting better than that, then kudos to you!

Lead to Client Ratio

Be sure you track your conversion ratio from lead all the way to closed deal. This is the most important key metric. If you don’t track this long-term you can not measure your return on investment. It takes around six months before you’ll know any meaningful data on this.

Take the time to create a structured real estate sales funnel that pushes your leads to conversion from the moment they land on your site.

Google advertising page

Should You Use Google Ads For Real Estate?

So, are real estate Google ads right for your business? Many new agents try out PPC advertising on Google, only to become discouraged by the results.

It’s important to remember that a Google ad campaign is a long-term strategy. Create a business plan, and then stick with it for at least a year before you think about giving up. You can always tweak your plan and make changes as you go in order to create a more optimized strategy.

And when you’re just starting out, it’s more effective to bid on more specific, smaller real estate keywords with less search volume.

This will help you reach a higher ad position in the search engine results and get more leads to your real estate website.

For example, if you make your keyword “[Your City] real estate,” you’ll have a much harder time getting leads than if you choose something more niche, like your city plus your broker’s name, team name, or even your own name.

Anything you can do to narrow it down will give your adwords campaign better results.

However, when you’re just starting out as a real estate agent it’s best to focus your real estate marketing on your sphere of influence and referrals. While the internet can be a great place to find leads, it shouldn’t be your main focus or a substitution for forming relationships out in your community.

Someone analyzing traffic sources for a website

Best Practices for Internet Leads

The process for dealing with internet leads is a bit different than leads from other sources. This is because a lead coming from the internet will require a bit more qualification to make sure they’re serious about buying or selling.

First, be sure to call every lead within at least five minutes of registration. If the lead comes in before or after work hours , be sure to call them first thing when you start working the next day.

Your voice needs to be the first one they hear, otherwise they will move on quickly to the next available agent.

The faster you reach them, the more likely you are to get them to commit to an appointment and become a client.

Second, be sure to touch every lead five times in the first day. A touch includes text messages, emails, and phone calls. While this may seem like a lot, it’s crucial to put in that amount of effort so that you stay top of mind.

While getting a new lead is an important part of your day, for them, you’re just a fraction of their day. Your lead probably won’t remember you unless you put in the effort to stay top of mind.

Getting a lead on the phone is a major step to showing that their serious about working with you. Once you get them on the phone, your chances of them making an appointment with you increases by a lot.

Want to learn exactly what to say to a real estate lead from the internet? Check out my post on scripts for internet leads.

Google Ads for Real Estate Conclusion

The biggest thing to note about lead generation online is that is takes a lot of time and experimentation. I always recommend just to start and get better over time. Don’t wait until you think you know everything.

Also, be sure to give enough time to each ad and funnel to truly determine the effectiveness. Too many agents shut ads off or give up before having enough data to see if it was the ad that wasn’t working or just too small of a target audience.

The ultimate goal is to get this completely dialed in so that you can start to build a scalable and consistent business. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a year or more before you see meaningful results. PPC advertising is a long-term strategy.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Google ads for real estate are a short-term solution. You can certainly have results right away but over time is where you’ll be most effective.

Kyle Handy

Would You Like To Partner With Me?

Check out my Partner Page for details on the benefits of working with me at eXp Realty. I’ve helped hundreds of real estate agents, team leaders, & brokers all over the country, increase their business & build additional revenue streams. Together, we can make this year your best yet!

Similar Posts

4 Comments

  1. Great article! You can no longer do Google Real Estate campaigns by zip code. It a violation of fair housing policy.

    1. Hey Paul! I’m assuming you mean no longer use zip code targeting features built-in to Google ad manager. However, the ability to create your headline based on “Homes For Sale in 78258” for example, is still possible. Also, does Google restrict this targeting ability in their manager or is it supposed to be enforced by the ad creator? Thanks again for your response.

  2. You just can’t restrict your targeting against any protected classes. You can put whatever you want in headlines and descriptions except trademarks. But there are a LOT of ways you can violate Fair Housing, so you should be sure to hire someone who is Fair Housing trained or be prepared to audit your account.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *