The Ultimate Guide to Google PPC Ads for Real Estate Investors

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Google Ads for Real Estate

This “Google Ads For Real Estate Investors Guide” outlines the key actions you, as a Real Estate Professional, should take to create a Google Ads campaign that gives you the best chance of success.

If you’re looking for the Ultimate Guide to Google PPC Ads for Real Estate Agents, click the link.

What’s your biggest PPC advertising fear? Is it the cost? The potential of throwing money away? How about not having enough time to manage a Google Ads account effectively?

You’re not alone. At some point, you heard that Google Ads (formerly AdWords) doesn’t work. But did you also hear how the ineffective account was structured? Did they mention what type of strategy they had?

Google Ads can work so long as you have a solid strategy. Year after year, it’s one of the top lead generation methods for our Carrot members (behind organic leads). And that doesn’t count phone call leads and leads due to improperly placed conversion tracking tags.

Our real estate investor members consistently get feedback that their Google Ads leads are closing between 1 in 10 to 1 in 15 leads per deal.

This guide will get you on the right track — a track that can potentially change your life as it has for Carrot member Brian Rockwell…

adwords for real estate investors success story

As well as hundreds if not 1000s of others…

Real Estate Investor PPC Keywords

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Google Ads for Real Estate Investors: Steps for Successful Campaigns

  1. What is Google Ads?
  2. Google Ads Basic Terms
  3. How Does Google Ads Work
    – AdRank and Quality Score
    – Setting a Target Location
    – Keyword Match Types and Research
    – Ad Headline and Description
    – Ad Rules
    – Ad Extensions
  4. Types of Google Ads Campaigns
  5. Google Ads Bid Strategies
  6. Additional Resources to Optimize Your Google Ads
    – Setting Realistic Expectations and Create Your Plan
    – Drive Traffic to a High-converting Landing Page
    – Don’t Forget to Install Conversion and Lead Tracking
    – Carrot Resources for Members (Coaching Calls, 60 Days to a Deal Workshop, and more!)
    – Basic Campaign Settings for Beginners

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. It can place ads both in the results of search engines like Google Search and on non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos.

Google Ads for real estate investors can be a powerful way to reach your target audience, but it takes some knowledge and preparation. Check out this list for everything you need before getting started!

  • Keywords: These are the words or phrases that people type into Google Search, which trigger your ad to appear. When setting up an ad campaign, you’ll pick a list of keywords that you think people might search for when they want what you offer (and don’t worry: we can help).
  • Bid: This is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. (Since, with Google Ads, you don’t pay to show up — only when someone clicks on your ad to visit your site or call you.)
  • Quality Score: This metric tells you how relevant your keywords are to your ad and your landing page (i.e., the webpage where people will be taken when they click your ad). A good Quality Score can lower your bid costs and improve your ad rank in the search results.
  • Ad Rank: This metric helps determine where your ad will show up, relative to other ads, when it’s triggered to appear on Google. Your rank is determined using your bid, quality score, and other factors.
  • CPC (cost-per-click): The actual amount you pay when someone clicks on your ad. (You don’t necessarily pay your entire bid price for every click — that sets up a range of possible costs-per-click you might pay.)
  • Conversion: A conversion occurs when someone who has clicked your ad takes another action you’ve designated as important — like making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or calling you.

How Does Google Ads Work?

AdRank and Quality Score

AdRank is a value used to determine the placement of your ads or whether ads will be shown at all.

Google defines this process as… “Ad Rank is calculated using your bid amount, your auction-time ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), the Ad Rank thresholds, the competitiveness of an auction, the context of the person’s search (for example, the person’s location, device, time of search, the nature of the search terms, the other ads and search results that show on the page, and other user signals and attributes), and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.”

Quality Score is a diagnostic tool that shows how well your ad quality compares to other advertisers.

This score is measured on a scale from 1-10 and is available at the keyword level. High Quality Scores mean your ad and landing page are more relevant and useful to someone searching for your keyword compared to other advertisers plus is measured by how many people click on your ad when it’s displayed. That is called your click-through-rate (CTR).

Google Ads Quality Scores

You can use the Quality Score to identify where improving your ads, landing pages, or keyword selection might be beneficial.

Setting a Target Location

When you first set up your Google Ads for real estate investors campaign, you’ll need to select target areas where you want ads will be shown. If you buy houses in a specific town, this should be within a reasonable radius around your location. If you buy houses in multiple counties, your location should be set in those counties.

Your location settings will play a role in placement. For example, if you choose the location target option of “Presence: People in or regularly in your targeted locations,” and you only buy houses in Oakland, when someone in New York searches for “sell my house fast,” they will not see your ad. That’s because Google’s main objective is to display ads to searchers within the target location.

Keywords Match Types and Research

The different match types give you room when selecting your keywords. Match types they tell Google whether you want to match a search query exactly or if your ad should be shown to anyone with a search query that’s somewhat related. There are three match types to choose from:

Broad match “may show on searches related to your keyword, which can include searches that don’t contain the keyword terms. This helps you attract more visitors to your website, spend less time building keyword lists, and focus your spending on keywords that work. Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned so that you don’t have to specify another match type (exact match, phrase match, or a negative match type).”

The syntax for broad match is to simply input the keyword. Below is an example of how a broad match keyword would work:

Broad Match Keyword:

Quick Sell Home

Ads May Show on Searches For:

quick sale

private home sale

1 bedroom houses near me

Phrase match “may show on searches that include the meaning of your keyword. The meaning of the keyword can be implied, and user searches can be a more specific form of the meaning. With phrase match, you can reach more searches than with exact match and fewer searches than with broad match, only showing your ads on the searches that include your product or service.”

The syntax for phrase match is to put quotes around your keyword. Below is an example of how a phrase match keyword would work:

Phrase Match Keyword:

“We Buy Houses”

Ads May Show on Searches For:

best we buy houses company

we buy houses for cash companies

we buy houses in colorado

Exact match “may show on searches that have the same meaning or same intent as the keyword. Of the three keyword match options, exact match gives you the most control over who sees your ad, but reaches fewer searches than both phrase and broad match.”

The syntax for exact match is to use square brackets. Below is an example of how an exact match keyword would work:

Exact Match Keyword:

[Sell My House Fast]

Ads May Show on Searches For:

sell my house fast

quick fixes to sell your home

sell my houses fast

If you’re starting out and don’t know exactly how your market will be searching, move away from a broad match to a narrowed approach so you can see which searches yield the best results. You should always keep a close eye on your keywords and modify them as you can gain new data.

Keyword Research

Once you have your direction plan, it’s time to research your market, intent keywords, and competition.

  • Define your target customer  Most investors likely have an idea, but newer investors might need to take the time to create a customer avatar.
  • Define your target locations — You can target locations down to the zip code. You can even exclude zip codes.
  • Build your initial keyword list — Use resources such as Google Ads Keyword PlannerSEOBook, and Ubersuggest.
  • Identify keywords to block  Called negative keywords, adding these in will help block your ads from showing for the wrong searcher.
  • Sort keywords and identify customer intent keywords vs. research keywords — Research keywords might be on the edge, so be careful when choosing them. You must monitor those to make sure they’re not eating up your budget.
  • Organize your keywords into categories — For example:

Category: Sell My House Fast
Category: We Buy Houses
Category: Sell Your House Quick

This will help you build your ad groups around your keywords while staying organized.

  • Do some spying on your competitor’s keywords — SEMRush or SpyFu are two great tools that provide helpful information.

Ad Headlines and Descriptions

You want to write ad copy that stands out. It can be the difference between a click on your ad and a click on a competitor’s ad.

Ad copy matches should match the searcher’s intent, are aligned with your target keywords, and addresses the searcher’s pain point with a solution.

For example:

A search for “sell my house fast in Seattle” yielded this result above. The copy is concise and uses the ad space wisely to convey their message and connect with their target audience.

A keyword variation is in their headline, so we know that this ad matches what we’re looking for. The description tells us why this is the best option for a seller because it addresses the concerns of their persona — a seller looking to sell their house fast for cash in Seattle.

Have a Persuasive Offer

Three factors are involved in your campaign’s success: your audience, your offer, and your ad copy.

Analyze your competitor’s offers but don’t copy them. Use the information you already have on your website to create your offer. For example:

  • Offers in 24 Hours
  • Cash in 7 Days
  • No Extra Fees
  • No Agents
  • Close in 14 Days

Choose your persuasive offer structure:

  • Free Quotes
  • Special Cash Offers
  • Guarantees
  • No Commissions
  • Local Investor (Not National)

Additional Considerations:

  • Fast Closing
  • The reason why you’re making the offer. Foreclosures, distressed property, divorce, etc.
  • Target Locations (your target market locations)

Pretty simple formula. The more people click your ads, the more traffic you get, increasing the opportunity for leads.

Leverage Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Your unique selling proposition, or USP, is a unique advantage that you have that no one else can claim and gives your prospective clients a compelling reason to work with you. In other words, you control the conversation by answering:

Why should prospects do business with you instead of a different investor?

Your USP could be based on your high level of experience. It could be a process that you have in your real estate business that is unique. It could be your credibility based on how you close deals.

Whatever the case, ask yourself why no one else in your market can claim the same and add it to your ads.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) - What's Your Real Estate Niche?

Google Ads for Real Estate Investors: Ad Rules

Here’s the amount of space allotted in a Google Ads Ad:

Dimensions for Expanded Text Ads

Headline 1: 30 characters
Headline 2: 30 characters
Headline 3: 30 characters
Description 1: 90 characters
Description 2: 90 characters
Display URL Path (2) 15 characters each

Display URL Examples


Google Ad Example on Desktop

Google Ads Example on Mobile

Dimensions for Responsive Search Ads

  • Enter your headlines. You’ll need to enter a minimum of 3 headlines, but you can enter up to 15.
  • Enter your descriptions. You’ll need to enter a minimum of 2 descriptions, but you can enter up to 4.

You can also control where individual headlines and descriptions appear in your ad by pinning headlines and descriptions to specific positions.

Here is an example of a responsive ad converting at 32.52% with 40 leads:

Google Ads video explaining responsive search ads more:

Google Ads Tutorials: About responsive search ads

Learn more about writing high-converting ads.

Ad Extensions

If you’re running Google Ads, you should be using Ad Extensions for two reasons:

  1. They’re free
  2. They give users additional information and another reason to interact with your ad.

These extensions fall within one of these six categories for real estate investor campaigns.

  • Call (Phone number)
  • Location (Link to your Google+ profile)
  • Sitelinks (Clickable links that can drive traffic to different pages on your site, such as your “About” page, “Testimonials” page, and “How We Buy Houses” page)
  • Call-Outs (Non-Clickable points. Great for Calls-to-Action)
  • Structured Snippets (Real estate investors don’t get many options with this one, but can use the “Types” option and list out what types of houses you buy)
  • Image extensions allow advertisers to upload relevant visuals to complement their existing text ads. Image extensions can help drive performance, with compelling visuals of past deals or cash offers that enhance the message of their text ads.

Types of Google Ads Campaigns

Google offers a handful of different campaign types, but we’ll focus on the three most common campaigns for real estate investors.

Search Ad Campaigns

Search campaigns are text ads on Google search (and Partners) results that let you reach people while they’re searching for the services you offer.

It’s great for traffic and leads to your website, as you can show your ads to people actively searching for your specific keywords.

The benefit of search ads is that you’re displaying your ad where most searchers look for information first — on Google. And Google shows your ad in the same format as other results (except for denoting it as an “Ad”), so users are accustomed to seeing and clicking on results.

Display Ad Campaigns

Display campaigns let you reach a relevant audience with visual ads as they browse millions of websites, apps, and Google-owned properties, such as YouTube. Display campaigns can be a way to expand your reach and stay top of mind with an audience beyond just Google Search.

Display ads can retarget searchers who have interacted with you online but have not yet converted. Tracking cookies will follow those searchers around the web and target them with your ads.

Video Ad Campaigns

Video campaigns let you show video ads on YouTube and other websites. They can be displayed before or after YouTube videos.

Some Video campaigns can help you boost general awareness of your brand. Others are designed to drive conversions or get people back to your website via retargeting.

Here are some reasons you might choose video campaigns:

  • Increase brand awareness and consideration. You can use video ads to make people aware of your brand or consider working with you.
  • Leads. Use the campaign subtype call “Drive conversions” to set up action-focused video ads.
  • Expand your reach. Target people beyond search results while they’re on YouTube.

Once you’ve set up your ad campaigns and have tracking, it’s time to decide on your bid strategy. Your bid amount will depend on your budget and goals. Before launching your campaign, you must know a few strategies and bid settings.

Automated vs. Manual Bidding

You have two options for bidding on your keywords — automated and manual. Here’s how they work:

Google takes the reins with automated bidding. You allow Google to adjust your bid based on your competitors. You can still set a maximum budget.

Manual bidding allows you to adjust the bid amounts for your ad groups and keywords, allowing you to reduce spending on low-performing ads.

Here are the different types of automated bid strategies you can choose from:

  • Maximize clicks automatically sets your bids to help get as many clicks as possible within your budget. Maximize clicks is available as a standard strategy in a single campaign or portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns.
  • Target impression share automatically sets bids with the goal of showing your ad on the absolute top of the page, on the top of the page, or anywhere on the page of Google search results. Target impression share is available on the Search Network only as a standard strategy in a single campaign or a portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns.
  • Maximize conversions bidding will help you optimize towards conversions. You have the option to set a Target CPA on your Maximize conversions bidding strategy, which means Smart Bidding will try to get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-action (CPA) that you set. If the Target CPA option is not set, Maximize conversions will aim to spend your budget to get as many conversions as possible.
  • Target CPA automatically sets bids to help get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-action (CPA) you set. Some conversions may cost more or less than your target. Target CPA is available as a standard strategy in a single campaign or portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns.

Bidding on Branded Terms

Branded terms are those with your company or possibly a competitor’s brand term. There has been much debate on whether to bid on competitor branded terms.

On one side, some feel it’s unethical, whereas others see it as part of the game.

Either way, competitors may bid on your keywords. This also raises the question of whether you should bid on your keywords.

Additional Resources to Optimize Your Google Ads Campaign

Setting Realistic Expectations and Create Your Plan

One of the most important pieces of your Google Ads account isn’t within your account but rather within your head. 

You need the right mindset and set realistic expectations. 

You need to have a realistic number of leads penciled in before starting. Twenty leads per month might not be realistic in Tampa, Florida, but it might be in Las Vegas.

You need to know your market’s potential and work that into your maximum monthly budget. If your budget in Houston is $1000 per month, your lead expectation would need to be lower, whereas you can push higher lead volumes with a $10,000 per month budget.

Setting the right expectations will help you choose a market. If you have a low monthly budget, you could consider some outlying areas instead of targeting Dallas as a city.

Higher budgets present more opportunities for leads and scaling into other markets.

You’ll also need to give Google Ads several months to gather enough data to know its potential. You might find Google Ads can get you 15 leads per month, but out of those 15, 50% are hot. That’s a good reason to keep it and maybe even scale it.

Within your plan for your campaign, you MUST think about ROI too. Write this plan down and revisit it periodically. Successful investors plan their campaigns first to minimize unnecessary spending and maximize the odds of creating a profitable, high-lead generating campaign.

  • Select the type of campaign you want to build. Is it going to be targeted toward buyers or sellers?
  • Determine your acceptable customer acquisition cost.
  • Estimate your maximum cost per click (CPC).

Max CPC = (profit per customer) x (sales conversion rate) x (1 – profit margin)

  • Estimate your Google AdWords advertising budget.
  • Finalize test advertising budget.

Budget to test keyword = (100 clicks) x (Estimated CPC)

Learn more about calculating your max cost per lead.

Drive Your Traffic to a High-Converting Landing Page

You’ll often direct your Google Ads traffic to your homepage as the landing page. An optimized landing page can help increase conversion rates and decrease your cost-per-clicks. It’s also extremely important to have a Search Engine Optimized website (like Carrot) for the growth and success of your content and search marketing plans.

See what it takes to create high converting real estate homepage…

Some websites, such as Carrot sites, have multiple landing pages. Ensure you’re keeping good data notes if you choose to A/B test landing pages.

  • Make sure you have an attention-grabbing headline.
  • You don’t need to have an overkill of navigation options. Keep what is necessary. Eliminate any distractions.
  • Ensure your irresistible offer, call-to-action, lead capture form, and benefits stand out.

Build your real estate credibility and/or social proof

Mobile Device Optimized Landing Pages

So, you will probably already know that your website needs mobile-friendly. 61% of our motivated house sellers, cash buyers, and rent-to-own tenant leads were from mobile devices last year. If your website is not mobile optimized, you’re likely losing tens of thousands of dollars per year in leads and deals without knowing it.

Here’s what to do:

real estate investor mobile websites

Leverage mobile — Take a tour of Carrot’s mobile responsive websites

Don’t Forget to Install Conversion and Lead Tracking

You will almost certainly waste your money if you’re not properly tracking your conversions. You must track the sales funnel from keyword to deal to maximize your ROI from Google Ads.

[IMPORTANT] Install Google Ads conversion tracking:

Copy and paste the “global” conversion tag on each page. With a Carrot website, this is very easy. Paste the “global” tag in your “Additional Sitewide Tracking Scripts” under the “Settings” section.

After the initial form signup, the second “tracking” tag must be added to the page. That page could be a thank you page or another “more information” page. For Carrot websites, this will be the Step-2 page. Copy and paste the conversation tag into the “Tracking Codes” section.

Without inserting a conversion tag, you’ll be blindly managing your campaign. You can see value information using your Google Ads dashboard if properly placed.

Find out how to make sure your conversion tracking tag is working.

  • Set up call tracking. You can use the Google Ads call tracking feature (which will not track specific call information) or a complete recording tool such as CallRail.

Integrate with Your CRM to track your deals:

Track Your KPI’s:

  • How many leads per campaign
  • How many deals per campaign
  • Deal conversion rate
  • Gross revenue per Google Ads click
  • Net profit per Google Ads click

What to Learn More? Here Are Some Extra Resources for Our Members

Basic Campaign Settings for Beginners

The following recommended campaign settings are for a Google Ads search campaign.

  • Use Search and disable the “Display Network” when first creating your campaign.
  • Advertise one target per campaign. If you have a buyer and a seller website, split those up and create two campaigns (one buyer and one seller).
  • Limit keywords per Ad Group to no more than 10. Always have 2-3 active ads split testing per Ad Group.
  • Start with Phrase Match and Exact Match keywords. Broad match keywords can drain your budget without attracting any leads. So, beware of broad match keywords if you don’t have a large enough budget.
  • Negative keywords block irrelevant search terms.
  • Choose your Location settings (target zip codes, city, or county).
  • Choose your Language.

Starting Off: Use Google Ads bid estimation to set bids manually. Set your daily budget (Monthly Budget divided by 30.4 days).

Rotate ads evenly to split test (Settings)

  • Eventually, optimize for conversions

You now have the necessary tools and knowledge to get your real estate investor Google Ads campaigns up and running.

Here’s the next step:

Streamline Your Online Lead Generation With Carrot

Carrot members collectively pull over 40,000+ opt-in leads per month and hold more page 1 Google rankings for motivated sellers, cash buyers, rent to own, and note seller phrases that matter.

Our built-in SEO Tools, Carrot conversion methodology, and commitment to providing great training and support all combine to provide high-achieving investors the right mix of technology and strategy to get the results you need to grow your business.

Brendan Holmes

Get weekly inbound online marketing tips, test results, and resources to grow your real estate investment business

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2 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Google PPC Ads for Real Estate Investors

    1. Hey Tyler,

      Great question. If you wanted to download our PPC report we show a variety of keywords and their CPC

      Your campaign might see different numbers of course but this should give you an idea of the level of competition for the keyword. I usually create a small campaign and run $100 to see what I can expect. Let us know if we can provide more info or insight into a specific keyword if needed. Thanks for the comment

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