Google Ads for Real Estate Agents

Home Value Leads | April 8, 2020 | Best Practices, Content For Agents, Marketing

In this day and age, successful real estate agents use Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) to generate both buyer and seller leads.

Don’t get us wrong. Nothing beats face-to-face sales. This is especially true for real estate agents. Unlike some other salespeople, agents that market commercial property and residential homes must gain ultimate trust. Families that purchase homes do so knowing they may have to spend their entire life savings for the down payment.

Like every industry in 2020, real estate will find its winners and losers. The industry’s winners won’t just provide the personal handshake service. In fact, those who do business with a handshake are more likely to generate less leads than those who run virtual, one-on-one, at least 10-feet between agent and potential buyer open houses.

Handshakes and hugs are out. Real estate agents that survive must get with the program. The most important advertising for any business has now become Google Ads.

In this post, we tell you what you must know to generate real estate leads using google ads (formerly Google AdWords) for real estate. This will help you become one of the winners in the ever-evolving real estate industry.

Should you invest time and money in Google AdWords?

Some real estate agents prefer to do everything on their own. They don’t want to sign-up with a service to help them advertise on Facebook or create Google Ad Campaigns. 

Those real estate agents could discover that they’re spending much more time working on their Facebook and Google advertising campaigns than they had hoped.

As Jon Clark wrote in 2018 about real estate agent Google Ads, “It’s hard to land a spot on Google’s first page and above the fold with SEO alone.” Clark then wrote about the reasons why real estate agents find it difficult to create effective Google Ad Campaigns.

  • Real estate is a local product
  • Homeowners don’t rent
  • Not everyone is a candidate

Clark goes on to add some advice.

  • Geotargeting
  • Using negative keywords
  • Preventing other city keywords

Sounds easy enough, right? But that’s just it. Doing all those things isn’t easy at all! In fact, it takes a ridiculous amount of money, effort and time, to get it right.

How much time should a real estate agent expect to spend setting up a Google Ads Campaign? 

How much time can you expect to spend on creating the perfect Google Ad Campaign? Although there is not an official time frame agents will spend on a real estate adwords campaign, we can calculate it, based on a general Google Ads Campaign process.

When we create ad campaigns, we must first do a keyword research. That takes time. Then, we must group those keywords. More time. Oh, we can’t forget about negative keywords.

We need to create the ads, which takes a lot of time if we want to get them right, not to mention the landing page. We will need to tweak the landing page so it serves its purpose for whenever users land on it from an ad. That can certainly add a lot of extra time.

We must also choose a bid for the keywords we’re interested in targeting. However, we may not bid high enough for those keywords. In these cases the ads won’t show up. 

So, we must then choose different keywords if we have a limited budget and we don’t want to bid more. That takes us back to the beginning of the process. 

All of that takes time. Let’s stick to a conservative estimate and say the process takes 2 hours for each part. What are we up to? 6 hours? Oh, and we haven’t gotten to the analytics portion of the process.

What about keyword costs? 

How much should real estate agents expect to spend on a Google Ads Campaign?

Per click costs for the real estate industry aren’t as high as in other industries. If you sell consumer services, you can expect to spend an average of $6.40 per click. For real estate agents, the average is $2.37 per click. Check out the graph on Wordstream for an industry comparison. 

And remember, not every click will convert into a customer, so ultimately you need to measure your ROI on the campaign correctly you need to base the results on the number of leads obtained and not the number of clicks received. 

If you spent $237 on 100 clicks, but only 5 of those clicks turned into actual customers, then your real cost is $47.4 per customer plus all the time and money invested in creating the campaign. 

If all of this seems too overwhelming and time consuming, we’re going to stop you right there. If you don’t have the time to learn how to create google ads campaigns for your real estate business, but you want to give it a shot, we at Home Value Leads will set up the ads for you, sign up for a free trial and try it out for yourself. 

Keep reading if you would like to learn what you need to know to create a Google Ads Campaign for your real estate business. 

The first thing you need to learn is about terminology. 

Google Ads Terminology

We got these directly from Google Support. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these Google Ad terms first, before diving into the campaign creation.  

Below some of the ones we consider the most important. If you wish to run Google Ads campaigns yourself, make sure you understand all of the terminology in Google’s glossary, as they will have more information on each of these and other concepts. 

“A set of ad groups (ads, keywords, and bids) that share a budget, location targeting, and other settings.”

“An ad group contains one or more ads that share similar targets. You set a bid, or price, to be used when an ad group’s keywords trigger an ad to appear.”

“A text ad is a form of marketing communication that advertisers can use to promote their product or service on the Google Network.”

“The webpage where people end up after they click your ad. The URL of this page is usually the same as your ad’s final URL.”

“Words or phrases describing your product or service that you choose to help determine when and where your ad can appear.”

“A type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.”

“A list of search terms that people have used before seeing your ad and clicking it.”

“A keyword option that allows your ad to show when someone searches for that keyword, variations of it, as well as other related topics.”

“A keyword setting that allows your ad to show only when someone’s search includes the exact phrase of your keyword, or close variations of the exact phrase of your keyword, with additional words before or after.”

“Broad match modifier gives you more control than standard broad match. This option ensures that your ads only show in searches that include the words you’ve marked with a plus sign or close variants of these terms.”

“A keyword setting that allows your ad to show only when someone searches for your keyword or close variants of your keyword.”

“A feature that shows extra business information with your ad, like an address, phone number, store rating, or more webpage links.”

“How often your ad is shown. An impression is counted each time your ad is shown on a search result page or other site on the Google Network.”

“A way to bid where you pay per one thousand views (impressions) on the Google Display Network.”

“A ratio showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking it.

“Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding means that you pay for each click on your ads.”

“The average amount you’ve been charged for a conversion from your ad.”

“Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages.”

“A calculation of all the conversions that Google Ads drives for your business.”

Types of Google Ads Campaigns

It’s important to know about the various Google Ad Campaign types. Without understanding campaign types, how can you define which type of campaign to run? More importantly, the goal is to create effective Google real estate ads. If you don’t, you won’t generate enough seller leads. Check out the 4 top Google Ad Campaigns.

Search

With Google Search campaigns your ads will appear in the Google Search Engine Results pages. You might have seen them, they appear at the very beginning of the page and are marked with an “Ad” tag so you can identify them. 

Ad search result for the keyword "music lessons".

Display

Display campaigns place a banner on any of Google’s search partner network websites. Some of the sites include YouTube and websites that are part of the search partner network display. 

Video

You can create videos and place them on YouTube. Many real estate agents do this. It’s time-consuming and works for branding purposes, but if you don’t have enough time, you might want to stick with good old search campaigns. 

Shopping

Google Shopping won’t help much in your quest to advertise your real estate agent business. Real estate agents don’t create products for sale via the internet.

Google Apps

If you create an app, you could create a Google App Ad Campaigns. These types of campaigns are meant for promotion of an app. So unless you, as a real estate agent have an app, this type of ad campaign wouldn’t apply to you. 

Since search campaigns might be the most effective and cost-efficient campaigns for a real estate agent, we are going to cover Google Search Ads for real estate agents in this post. 

How do Google Ads Work? 

The way Google Ads work is like an auction. You’ll have a bunch of bidders (advertisers) bidding for a keyword. Depending on the amount of bidders and the quality of your ads and landing page, Google determines who gets the top spot. 

The bidder who bids the most doesn’t always get the top spot! There’s more to getting the top spot than just a high bid. 

So what does Google take into account? Who wins the bid? 

In short, Google takes into account the bid amount, along with the relevance of the keywords targeted, the ad text and the landing page. These last three elements make up the Quality Score, more on that later. 

The highest the quality score, the better position you’ll get. 

 Let’s think about your business to illustrate how Google Ads work. As a real estate agent, you wish to create a Google Ad Campaign. 

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads

Remember the phrase “intent of seller and buyer”? That’s the key phrase to understand the difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

The main difference is the audience. On Facebook, you target people that might be interested in what you offer. The way we target on Facebook is by choosing certain demographics, lifestyle, behavior, interests, etc. 

In a Google Search Campaign, there is an “intent” on the buyer’s part to find you. Let’s say a person inputs “local real estate agent”. The organic ads that come up are local real estate agents. 

In a Google Search Campaign, the person who Googles “local real estate agent” is already looking for a real estate agent, in a Facebook campaign, you are targeting people who, based on their demographic, lifestyle, behaviors, interests, etc, might be interested in a real estate agent. 

 Which means Google ads generate hotter leads than Facebook ads. 

Yes, Google ads can seem more expensive, but in the long run, you are targeting people that are further along in the conversion funnel, meaning they might not  just be interested in what you offer, they are actually searching for it.

The Elements of a Successful Google Ads Campaign

What do you need to have an effective real estate Google Ads campaign?

Let’s cover what things you need to consider to get results.

Some of these things include knowing what Quality Score is and how to get a high score.

We will cover how to choose the keywords to target and how to group them correctly.

We’ll talk what you should and should not include in your ad text.

Find out what you must definitely need to have on your campaign landing page.

Plus, we’ll talk about the most popular ad extensions. to To start with, we are going to talk about quality score, great keyword strategy, great ad copy and a great landing page.

The last three of this affect the Quality Score, and as you will learn, the better the Quality Score, the more effective your campaign.

Quality Score

A great Google Ads Quality Score can lead to you spending less. 

To get a better-quality score, you must communicate the same message with your targeted keywords, your ad copy and your landing page content. The expected click through rate (combination of keywords and ad text) and the landing page relevance are part of the quality score. 

When you create a Google search campaign, you target specific keywords or search terms. If you target a specific keyword or search term, you need to make sure the ad you show is relevant to that keyword or search term. You want to make sure your landing page is also relevant. 

You don’t want people clicking on your ad, landing on your page, and bouncing back to the search page because they weren’t able to find what they were looking for on your landing page. 

By matching what you say on your ads and your landing page to the keywords you’re targeting you will improve that quality score, and thus you will spend less and get better results. 

As a rule of thumb, if your quality score is below 5/10, make sure you tweak your ad copy and the content in your landing page.Try to make it more relevant for the keywords you are targeting. 

Review your targeted keywords in each ad group, do they make sense for each ad group or should you create more ad groups? 

Keywords

Real estate agents use keywords to craft ad copy and to adjust landing pages to make them relevant to what users search for. 

How do you determine which keywords to use? Google offers the Keyword Planning tool that helps you understand what users are searching for. 

To start your campaign we need to start with a list of keywords, but how do we know which keywords to target? 

With Google Keyword Planner you can either discover new keywords or get search volume and forecasts. 

Google Keyword Planner Tool first step, to decide whether to discover new keywords or to get search volume and forecasts.

If you have no idea which keywords to target, you should try the “discover new keywords”. 

On the discover new keywords tab, you can choose if you wish to discover new keywords based on a list of potential keywords or based on a website. 

Here you can try both. Think of keywords your potential clients would use to search what you offer, or just add in your website. 

Google's Keyword Planner Tool "Discover new keywords" screen.

You can also add in a location and you can be as general or as specific as you want to. 

Try different combinations when creating your list of keywords.

Don’t just stick with the keywords you get for your area, try including others. Remember, with Google Ads it’s a matter of test, test, test! 

Choosing a location in Google's Keyword Planner Tool.

Once you have generated a list of keywords to target, make sure you group the keywords based on their similarity. Each of these groups will then make up your ad groups. 

If you are on a low budget, make sure you pick the keywords marked as low-medium competition. 

Also, make sure you use the exact match, phrase match or broad match modifier keyword types. 

Never ever leave your keywords without a match type specified. 

Ad Groups

If you wish to maximize the effectiveness of your keywords for real estate ads, you must use ad groups. Ad groups help you structure ad campaigns. 

Each ad group must focus on distinct keywords and audience. If you sell both commercial and residential real estate, you must create two different ad groups: one for commercial property and one for residential property. 

Each ad group will target a specific set of keywords with specific ads. You can get as specific as making several copies of your landing page and tweaking their content to be as relevant as possible for each specific ad group. 

As we already know the more relevant the ad copy and landing page content to your keywords, the better.

Ad Copy

It can be a challenge to find the best words for your real estate ads. Real estate agents aren’t always natural writers. We’ve laid out a few tips for you. Think about these things as you write your ad copy.  

Build trust with your ads, add in your unique value proposition, the houses sold, years in business, etc. Avoid using all caps, exclamation points or superlatives like “better than” o “#1”. 

Another recommendation? Go ahead and do a search for one of the targeted keywords and see what your competition is doing. You can find inspiration in them to make something better. 

Always make sure to try to put yourself in the searcher’s shoes. They look at a lot of ad results. Why should they click on yours? 

Don’t just create one ad. Consider creating several ads and testing them out. See which ads searchers like the most.

If it sounds like a ton of work, it is. The whole creative part of advertising can be a huge burden. Check out an episode of Mad Men if you don’t believe us. Sometimes, it’s best to allow the experts in real estate marketing to handle your campaigns. 

Landing Page

Google defines a landing page as the “webpage where someone lands after they click on your link”. The landing page is pretty much where searchers end up after they click on your URL.  

Landing pages are designed for conversion, so your landing page, in general should have: 

A headline

That includes your keywords you are targeting.

Remember, you need to make your landing page relevant to what the user is searching for, which in turn are the keywords you are targeting. So you want to make sure you include the keywords you’re targeting in your landing page copy. 

Your Unique Value Proposition 

A unique value proposition sets you apart from your competition.

An offer 

Free works. Make sure to offer a report on home prices in the neighborhood, a home valuation, or something else of value. 

Make sure anything you decide to offer won’t cost anything. But that requires the person to leave their contact information.

A summary of your services

This is important. It should tie into your UVP in some way. Reread the HVL article on unique value propositions. Then, decide on your summary of services. 

Testimonials and reviews

If you’ve got anything that can help you stand out from your competition, add it here.

Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions are extra pieces of information of your business you can add to your ads to make them more useful for the users.

Ad extensions include phone number with the possibility of calling directly from the ad, links to specific parts of your websites, such as, short messages that describe your business or any offers you have such as “Free Home Value Reports” and even information about where your business is located.

We’ll cover the most popular ones here:

Callout Extensions

With callout extensions, you can promote unique offers. 

Google talks about retail stores offering 24hr customer service with their callout extensions. 

Learn how to create call out extensions here.

Call extensions

Call extensions are phone numbers on your ads. They’re a great addition to creative real estate ads. If a potential seller views your ad, they can click on your phone number and call you immediately.

Call extensions not only help with click-through-rate, they also help you provide great customer service and generate more leads.

Location extensions 

Location extensions show your, well, location. But they can do more than that. We took this directly from Google’s explanation of location extensions.

  • Google search sites, like Google Maps: Your location extensions can appear beside, above, or below search results on Google Maps, including the Maps app.
  • Google Display Network: Your location extensions may show on sites and apps on the Display Network when people are near, or have demonstrated an interest in, your local area.
  • YouTube Video Ads: Your location extensions may show on YouTube TrueView in-stream and bumper ads when people are near, or have demonstrated an interest in, your local area.

Sitelinks extensions

These extensions are what they sound like. They take seller leads to other places on your site. There are great benefits to adding sitelink extensions. Again, we’ll allow Google to tell you:

  • Update easily: Change link text and URLs whenever you want, keeping them up-to-date for sales and special offers. You don’t need to make new ads or edit them to include sitelinks.
  • See detailed data about your clicks: Find out how many clicks occurred on your ad when sitelinks appeared. Break down the statistics by campaign, ad group, or ad. Segment your statistics to see the number of clicks that occurred on the individual sitelink versus another part of the ad (for example, the headline, other sitelinks, or another extension).
  • Use conversion tracking for landing pages: Set up conversion tracking for the landing pages people visit when they click the sitelinks below the ad. You should optimize your landing pages for “light” conversion events (such as a website visit or an “add to cart”).
  • Edit your sitelink extensions without losing data: Edit your sitelink extensions without resetting their performance statistics.
  • Customized sitelinks for mobile: Create mobile-optimized sitelinks to show on mobile devices.
  • Schedule with start and end dates: Specify the dates, days of week, or times of day your sitelinks are eligible to show.

As you can see, there’s a lot more to it than Googling, using Google adwords for real estate, creating your ad, posting it, and then getting organic traffic. 

You can’t just watch a 5-minute video about Google Ad Campaigns and hope to create effective real estate agent ads.

Real Estate Google Ads Examples

If we Google “phoenix real estate agents”, the following 3 agencies show up under the organic section.

If you’re a Phoenix real estate agent, you might want to jump on the Google Ads wagon right now, as there is only 1 competitor bidding for “phoenix real estate agents”, which means there is a lot of potential for other bidders. 

Now let’s try “california real estate agents”. The following are the results for that keyword phrase. 

Example of ad search results for the keyword "california real estate agents"

You will notice the importance of sitelinks extensions versus callout extensions with this example. Homelight.com has sitelinks and Myagentfinder.com has callout extensions.

Examples of what Sitelinks and Callout extensions in an ad result look like

Now let’s try a different type of keyword, how about “home value report”. If you have the ability to provide home value reports to potential sellers, we encourage you to try out some ads targeting this keyword. 

As you can see from the example below, even though it seems like there is a lot of competition for this keyword term, the ads ranking are not at all optimized. You could definitely add some sitelink extensions, callouts and location extensions to make the ad appear larger and stand out more. 

You should definitely add more ad text describing your free home valuation service. 

Example of ad search result for the keyword "home value report"

How Much Should You Spend on Real Estate Ads? 

Real estate ads cost a lot…or not. It depends on your budget. The industry average is $30 to $50 per day during the campaign testing period and $70 to $100 per day after you’ve tweaked the campaign.

How long does the testing period last?

Most marketers like to have an initial 1000 impressions and 30 conversions before tweaking ads. Conversions in the real estate industry would be real estate seller or buyer leads not actual clients. 

Conversions are the single most important Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for you. With conversion data, you can determine if your campaign is providing the desired results.

For you to know if your ads lead to conversions, you must implement conversion tracking on your landing pages. You can refer to this great guide on how to track conversions.

Monitor your Ads and Tweak them

With Google Ads campaigns you can monitor:

Desktop vs mobile 

You can tweak your ads to show only on desktop or mobile if the difference in conversions for one or the other is significant. 

Time and day

Sometimes ads will perform and convert better on specific days or times, monitor these and if needed, tweak your ads to appear only on those converting times and days. 

Search terms 

Take a look at the search terms you are getting discovered for. Are there any search terms you don’t want to be discovered for? Add them to your negative keywords list. 

Are there prominent search terms that you are not targeting in your keywords? Update or create new ad groups based on what users are searching for and what you are getting discovered for. 

Generate Real Estate Seller Leads with Google Ad Campaigns

It’s important that all real estate agents like you utilize both Facebook Advertising Campaigns and create Google Ad Campaigns to generate seller leads. By not doing so, you run the risk of losing out to your competition.

But creating effective Google Ad Campaigns or Facebook Advertising Campaigns isn’t as easy as reading a Google Ads guide. Both take time and money, which is why Home Value Leads can create and run both for you.

Start your free Home Value Leads Trial and check out both our Facebook Advertising and Google Advertising programs.   

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