PPC Pros and Cons for Real Estate Marketing

For real estate investors and agents alike, marketing is one of the most important aspects of your business.

In one of our previous articles, we outlined the top strategies to use for real estate investors, although the methods can be used for many different industries within real estate as well as outside of it.

Realistically, the only way to find new sellers and buyers without having a super strong referral base already in place is by using marketing channels to get in front of them.

Traditionally, this might include things like billboards, bandit signs, ads, and cold outreach like calling or emailing.

Today, the strategies are slightly different because there are a lot of really easy methods at our disposal with the online market and platforms that people are all over, including Facebook, Google’s ad network, and other social platforms.

The challenge, however, is finding the right audience for the right platform and putting yourself in front of them in a way that gets you to stand out.

Here, we’re going to talk about PPC (pay-per-click), what it means and how you use it to get in front of your audience.

While the target audience and tactics may differ between the different types of professional in real estate, the methods are largely the same for each.

First, what is pay-per-click (PPC) and how does it differ from other ad methods?

When we talk about PPC, the standard is to think about Google’s advertising network, including AdWords (now called Google Ads), and the display network.

Google Ads, or AdWords, is most commonly seen as the ads on the top or bottom of the search results page when searching for something using Google:

San Diego PPC Google Ad Listing

The Google display network is ads that are on other people’s websites, like when you’re searching the web and you see banner ads on the top or the sides of the website, as if Google is tracking you.

The most effective form of advertising generally comes from the ads that are displaying on the search results, so we’re going to focus on that.

When a user searches for something, let’s say “houses for sale in San Diego”, the ads will be shown in multiple places, most commonly above and below the organic search results.

When a user clicks on the ad, you pay a dollar amount for that click.

The amount is determined based on an auction system, meaning whoever is willing to spend the most per click will have their ad placed in a higher position, thus letting them be seen first.

At that point, its up to you, or the person in charge of your marketing, to use the right attention grabbing words to attract users to click your ad.

Sometimes Google will report the cost per click at a certain dollar amount, but when multiple ads compete for the same ad space at peak hours, that cost per click can rise significantly.

For example, in the real estate investment world, many investors are looking to show up first for terms like “we buy houses San Diego”, “sell my house fast San Diego”, or “buy my house for cash San Diego”.

Because this particular niche is super competitive, that initial CPC (cost-per-click) might be around $80, but then in peak hours it rises above $150.

That means, for every 10 clicks, you might pay anywhere from $800 to $1500, and possibly get 1-2 leads (10-20% conversion rate would be pretty excellent, and it’s usually lower than that).

The difference between this and other advertising methods like, say, Facebook advertising, is that people who may click your ads on Google are clearly searching for a particular keyword when they see them.

That means that are higher qualified buyers/sellers, since they are searching for what you’re offering.

In other types of campaigns like on Facebook, you’re putting yourself in front of customers that aren’t necessarily looking for anything at all, which makes them cold traffic, whereas Google’s users are more warm traffic.

That all sounds good, but what is the downside to PPC

As with all things that sound awesome, there are some cons to them — it’s never too easy!

So, what are the issues with PPC campaigns?

1) It can be really costly.

Because real estate is a competitive niche, you’re competing against many many others for the same user clicks.

That means the CPC is going drive up as more and more are willing to budget more into their campaigns for peak hours.

In the investor market, the top performers tend to spend anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 per month in Google ads in order to capture as much of the market as they can.

2) You’re only going to capture a maximum of 30% of the total traffic with Google Ads.

Many people are naturally trained to skip the ads in Google search results.

Think about it, when you Google something, do you tend to skip right over the ads without even thinking about it so you can get to the most relevant listings?

We’re so used to seeing things show up in at the top of Google as ads that aren’t even related to what we’re looking for that we tend to not even look at it anymore.

If the total traffic that comes into a particular keyword sits around, say, 480/mo, the you’re likely going to be competing for about 144 of that.

3) There’s a lot of bot or dud traffic that hits Google ads.

One of the issues we find with PPC ads is that a significant portion of the traffic is actually just bots that click through them.

It’s unclear exactly what these bots are for and what their function is, and it could be several different things, but when a bot clicks the ad, lands on your page, and spends any amount of time on it, you’re getting charged for that click.

Additionally, there are some clicks that are going to be competitors looking at your landing page or people that click the ad accidentally.

In most cases, that’s going to cost you, and that’s part of the risk when using PPC ads.

Google tries to implement methods to reduce spend on BS traffic like that, but it’s inevitably going to happen, so just make sure you’re budgeting a buffer for it.

Getting started with PPC

Whether you’re a real estate investor, agent, lender, all of the above, none of the above, or something else entirely, PPC definitely have some value to you.

The next steps would be to do some keyword research and figure out what might be some viable terms as well as the potential costs that it’ll run you.

Google has a Keyword Planner tool that lets you enter in some values and get the search volume for each as well as the CPC.

It’ll also let you find some similar keywords that you might also be able to go with.

One important thing to keep in mind when you’re starting to target certain keywords is to think about what might be some queries or search questions users type in that don’t necessarily have a lot of search volume.

For instance, if you’re an investor and your highest converting keyword might be “we buy houses San Diego”, you might still look at queries like “What do I do if I can’t afford repairs on my house San Diego”.

The competition is likely to be extremely low while also bringing you maybe one or two visitors a month for pennies on the dollar.

Each one of those visitors can actually become a seller lead for you.

Now multiply that by, say, 100 different search queries that people might look up, and you’re potentially bringing in another 50-100 visits per month for pennies that might convert into deals.

In order to find some of these longer-tail keywords/queries, you can use Google’s autocomplete and related searches:

San diego best housse for

And you can even use the related searches at the bottom of the page to get some more ideas:

san diego related searches for housing

All of these autocomplete and related searches show that other people have looked for these same things.

In the end, remember, Google likes to promote what is popular because they believe that it is useful for people searching similar things.

The fact that these are listed means that there is search volume, and the longer the query, the higher the probably of it being a cheaper cost-per-click and easier to convert for your website.

That’s PPC in a nutshell

Now you can dive into Google Ads (previously AdWords) and start exploring options with your campaigns.

In a future article we’ll have an over-the-shoulder on how to set up an ad with the proper targeting and campaign, but you should start getting familiar with it on your own now.

At the very least you can understand where the value in PPC lies so that if you’re going to outsource it, you’ll know what to look for when you’re choosing an online marketing company for your business.

Be sure to check back on our homepage (http://www.sandiegoareahouses.com) to get more tips and tricks related to real estate marketing and other topics related to San Diego’s real estate industry.

Comments are closed.