Looking for leads? Google Ads for real estate agents can be an extremely effective marketing tool.
By targeting potential customers who are already interested in buying or selling a home, agents can save time and money while reaching more clients.
However, creating and managing a successful Google Ads campaign takes careful planning and execution.
The good news is that we’ve been in the real estate marketing space for a long time at Carrot, and we know what it takes to run great Google Ads, even if you’ve never used PPC advertising before in your life.
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about Google Ads that can potentially change your life as it has for 1000s of Carrot members…
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Google Ads for Real Estate Agents: Steps for Successful Campaigns
- What is Google Ads?
- Google Ads Terminology
- How Does Google Ads Work
– AdRank and Quality Score
– Setting a Target Location
– Keyword Match Types and Research
– How to Write a Winning Ad
– Ad Rules
– Ad Extensions
- Types of Google Ads Campaigns
- Google Ads Bid Strategies
- Additional Resources to Optimize Your Google Ads
– Setting Realistic Expectations and Create Your Plan
– Drive Traffic to a High-converting Landing Page
– Conversion Tracking
– Knowing Your KPIs for Real Estate Google Ads
– Conversion Rate Optimization
What is Google Ads for Real Estate?
PPC advertising is a form of online marketing in which businesses can pay to display their ads on search engines and other websites. Advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad, making it a very effective way to drive traffic to your website.
Google Ads is a popular form of PPC advertising, and it’s an excellent way for real estate agents to get their properties in front of potential buyers and attract home sellers to use their services.
Here’s an example of how Google Ads appear in search results…
Google Ads Terminology
- Keywords: These are the words or phrases people type into Google Search that 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, your Quality Score, and other factors.
- CPC (cost-per-click): The actual amount you pay when someone clicks on your ad. (You don’t necessarily spend your entire bid price for every click — that just 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?
Google Ads works on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis, which means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You bid on keywords related to your business, and your ad appears in Google search results when someone searches for those keywords.
You can also set up display ads. These ads appear on websites that are part of the Google Display Network. These can effectively build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.
As far as targeting goes, Google Ads gives you a lot of options. You can target people by location, demographics, interests, and even what type of device they are using.
Google Ads can effectively get your real estate business in front of potential buyers and sellers.
If you’re looking for a new lead generation strategy or just want to supplement your existing marketing efforts, Google Ads is worth considering.
AdRank and Quality Score
AdRank is a value used to determine the placement of your ads or whether ads will show 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 the 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 gives you 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 valuable to someone searching for your keyword than other advertisers. It is measured by how many people click on your ad when it’s displayed. That is called your click-through rate (CTR).
Use the Quality Score to identify where improving your ads, landing pages, or keyword selection might be beneficial.
Geo-Targeting Your Real Estate Google Ads
We talked about keyword targeting.
Now let’s talk about “geo-targeting” — this is just your location-based targeting, so you’re only showing ads to people who live in your target market.
On that note, there’s some good news and bad news.
The bad news is that real estate companies can no longer target their Google Ads by zip code (due to a privacy update). This functionality used to exist and made targeting a specific city area very easy.
The good news is that you can still target by a distance radius. You’ll just need to choose a specific point on the map (an address) and then decide on the radius from that point that you want to target — 1, 5, 10, or 20 miles. For example, this is a map targeting two one-mile radiuses.
Keywords Match Types and Research
Setting up a Google Ads campaign is one thing.
Being successful is quite another.
You don’t, after all, just want to generate any leads… you want to generate high-quality leads at a reasonable cost per click.
How do you do that? Knowing which keywords to target.
The different match types give you room when selecting your keywords. Match types 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, including 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 assigned to all your keywords so that you don’t have to specify another match type (exact match, phrase match, or a negative match type).”
The syntax for the 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:
private home sale
3 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:
“Real Estate Agents”
Ads May Show on Searches For:
best realtors in my area
top real estate agents
sell my house with an agent
Exact match “may appear on searches with the same meaning or 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 an 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]
Ads May Show on Searches For:
sell my house fast
quick fixes to sell your home
sell my house for most money
If you’re just starting and don’t know exactly how your market will be searching, move away from a broad match to a narrowed approach to 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.
Don’t forget about negative keywords.
Negative keywords are one of the most underutilized tools PPC advertisers have at their fingertips. They can help you save a budget for the best quality searches when used correctly.
Let’s say you’re an agent who’s creating your first Google Ads campaign. You’d like to appear on searches to sell your luxury properties targeting out-of-state buyers.
You may want to add terms such as “apartments” or “new house plans” as negative keywords.
As you’ll discover, from video games to furniture to spiritual statues, many search terms represent nothing to do with buying or selling a house.
Once you have your direction plan, it’s time to research your market, intent keywords, and competition.
- Define your target customer — Most agents likely have an idea, but newer agents might need to take the time to create a customer avatar.
- Define your target locations — You can target locations down to a mile radius for the real estate industry. Google removed zip code targeting for “housing” in 2020.
- Build your initial keyword list — Use resources such as Google Ads Keyword Planner, SEMRush, 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
Category: Realtors in My Area
Category: Sell Your House with an Agent
This will help you build your ad groups around your keywords while staying organized.
- Do some spying on your competitor’s keywords — SpyFu is a great tool that provides helpful information.
Example keywords for a “seller” campaign:
- best realtors in my area
- selling my home
- list my house
- home selling tips
- staging your home to sell
- how much is my house worth
- local real estate agents
- tips to sell my home
- finding a realtor
- find a real estate agent
Example keywords for a “buyer” campaign:
- house listings
- local homes for sale
- new homes for sale in
- find homes for sale in
- 2 story houses for sale in
- riverfront houses for sale in
- new listings in
- buy a house in
- homes for sale websites
- new real estate listings
How to Write a Winning Real Estate Google Ad
Not many words go into writing a Google Ad. You’ve got your headlines and a quick description.
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.
A search for “homes for sale in Seattle” yielded this result above. The copy is concise and uses the ad space wisely to convey its message and connect with its 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 buyer looking to buy a house in Seattle.
But that just means that the words you choose are even more critical.
1. Choose a Target Market
The first step is to choose your target market.
Are you trying to attract buyers? Home sellers? Both?
Your ad should be tailored to speak directly to your target market.
For example, if you’re targeting home sellers, your headline might be something like:
Sell Your Home Fast for Top Dollar
If you’re targeting buyers, your headline might be:
Find Your Dream Home Now
You can get even more specific. Are you targeting people who are in a hurry to sell their home? Or maybe you’re targeting people who are first-time homebuyers?
Whatever the case, knowing who you’re targeting with your ad — and writing your ad to be relevant to those specific people (see our next point) — will make your ad far more effective than it would be otherwise.
Here are some examples of target market ad copy…
2. Make it Relevant to The Search
The next step is to make your ad relevant to the search.
Remember, people only see your ad when actively searching for something related to your services.
That means you must ensure your ad speaks directly to their needs, wants, and desires.
For example, if someone is searching for “homes for sale in Dallas,” your ad should be relevant to that search.
Don’t try to be too clever with your headlines. Relevancy is key.
3. Use Social Proof
Remember, people are looking for an experienced real estate agent they can trust.
One way to show that you’re trustworthy is to use social proof in your ad.
Social proof is a testimonial showing that others have had a positive experience working with you.
For example, you might use social proof by saying something like:
5-star rated real estate agent in Dallas
Over 1,000 happy clients served
Using social proof in your ad can help you stand out from the competition and show that you’re a real estate agent people can trust.
5. Include a Call To Action
Your ad should also have a call-to-action (CTA).
A CTA is a statement that tells the reader what to do next.
For example, your CTA might be:
Visit our website to learn more
Contact us for a free consultation
Your CTA should be clear and concise. And it should tell the reader precisely what you want them to do next.
6. Spend 90% of Your Time on the Headline
You’ve probably heard that the headline is the most important part of your ad.
And it’s true.
Your headline catches people’s attention and makes them want to read more.
So, you should spend most of your time — at least 90% — on your headline.
- Your headline should be clear, concise, and to the point.
- It should also be relevant to the search and speak directly to your target market.
- Don’t try to be too clever with your headline. Just make it clear, concise, and relevant.
In the next section, we’ll show you a few examples of real estate agent Google Ads — grab inspiration for your own!
Google Ads Rules
Here’s the amount of space allotted in a Google Ads Ad:
Starting June 30, 2022, you’ll no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads.
Expanded text ads will continue to serve, and you’ll still see reports on their performance going forward.
You’ll still be able to pause and resume your expanded text ads or remove them if needed.
We strongly encourage you to transition to responsive search 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
Ad Examples on Desktop
Ad Examples 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.
Google Ads video explaining responsive search ads more:
If you’re running Google Ads, you should be using Ad Extensions for two reasons:
- They’re free
- They give users additional information and another reason to interact with your ad.
These extensions fall within one of these five categories for real estate investor campaigns.
- Call (Phone number)
- Location (Link to your Google Business Profile)
- Sitelinks (Clickable links that can drive traffic to different pages on your site, such as your “About” page, “Testimonials” page, and “Communities” page)
- Call-Outs (Non-Clickable points. Great for Calls-to-Action)
- Structured Snippets (Real estate agents don’t get many options with this one, but can use the “Types” option and list out what types of houses you list)
- 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.
Learn more about ad extensions.
Types of Google Ad Campaigns
Google offers a handful of different campaign types, but we’ll focus on the three most common campaigns for real estate agents.
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. For example, here’s a search for waterfront homes for sale in Portland.
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 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 be used to retarget searchers who have previously 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 campaign types can help you boost general awareness of your brand. Others are designed to drive conversions or get people to shop on your back to 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 called “Drive conversions” to set up action-focused video ads.
- Expand your reach. Target people beyond search results while they’re on YouTube.
Google Ads Bid Strategies
Once you’ve set up your ad campaigns and have tracking in place, it’s time to decide on your bid strategy. Your bid amount will depend on your budget and goals. You need to know a few strategies and bid settings before launching your campaign.
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 still have the ability to set a maximum budget.
Manual bidding allows you to adjust the bid amounts for your ad groups and keywords, giving you a chance 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 either a standard strategy in a single campaign or portfolio bid strategy across multiple campaigns.
- Maximize conversions bidding will help you optimize towards conversions. You can 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, then 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 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 own keywords.
Additional Resources to Optimize Your Google Ads for Real Estate Campaign
Setting Expectations and Creating Your Plan
One of the most important pieces of your Google Ads account isn’t within your account but within your head.
You need to have the right mindset and set realistic expectations.
You need to have a realistic number of leads penciled in before starting. Ten seller leads per month might not be realistic in Boston but might be in another market.
You need to know your market’s potential and work that into your maximum monthly budget.
Setting the right expectations will also help you choose a market. If you have a low monthly budget, you could consider targeting a neighborhood instead of a major metro area.
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 10 leads per month, and out of those 10, 50% are hot. That’s a good reason to keep it and maybe even scale it.
Within your plan, you’ll need to think about ROI too. Write this plan down and revisit it periodically. Successful agents 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 Ads 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
Most of the time, you’ll 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.
Learn more about websites for real estate agents:
Some websites, such as Carrot built sites, have multiple landing pages. Just be sure 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.
Types of Real Estate Landing Pages
Landing pages for buyers
- Neighborhood or location pages. Such as the best school districts
- Latest listings
- Listings in a specific budget. Such as homes under $250,000
- Home search
- Featured listings
- Pocket listings
- Guide to relocating
- Market trends and updates
- Mortgage guides
Landing page for sellers
- Home valuation reports
- Complimentary staging
- Home selling guides
- Market reports
- Downsizing and upsizing guides
Build your real estate credibility and/or social proof
- Testimonials from your clients.
- If you have any media mentions. Some agents are very active in their communities. Let searchers know who you are. Make that connection.
- List your phone number.
- “About” or “Our Company” page. Find out which page is… The Most Overlooked But Important Page On Your Website (Backed By Science).
- Credibility badges (BBB, real estate associations, Zillow 5-star rating, etc.).
- “Contact” page.
- Privacy Page (required for retargeting).
Mobile Device Optimized Landing Pages
So, you most likely already know that your website needs to be mobile-friendly. In fact, 61% of our member’s leads came from mobile devices last year. That means if your website is not mobile optimized, you’re likely losing tens of thousands of dollars per year in leads and deals without even knowing it.
Here’s what to do:
- [Test] your site with Carrot’s mobile responsive tool
- [Read] The Anatomy Of A High Converting Mobile Responsive Website For Real Estate
- [Watch] Anatomy of a High Converting Real Estate Homepage
Leverage mobile — Take a tour of Carrot’s mobile responsive websites
One of the most important parts of Google Ads — or any marketing efforts — is tracking.
If you don’t have proper tracking and attribution set up from the get-go, then you’re not going to be able to tell what’s working and what’s not.
Here’s a quick rundown on how to set up conversion tracking for your Google Ads!
Knowing Your KPIs for Real Estate Google Ads
We’ve shown you how to set up your Google ads, how to write great ads, and how to target the right market.
But it will be very hard to succeed if you don’t know how to track your KPIs (key performance indicators) for your Google Ads.
To understand how your ads are performing and improve their performance, you need to understand the following metrics.
Cost per deal: Your cost per deal is how much you spend on your Google Ads for each deal you close.
To calculate your cost per deal, simply divide your total ad spend by the number of deals you’ve closed.
For example, if you’ve spent $5,000 on your Google Ads and closed 10 deals from those leads, your cost per deal would be $500.
This metric is important because it lets you track your return on investment (ROI) for your Google Ads.
If your cost per deal is too high, you will not be profitable.
But if your cost per deal is low, you will be very profitable.
So it’s important to track your cost per deal and ensure it aligns with your goals.
Cost per lead: Your cost per lead is how much you spend on your Google Ads for each lead you generate.
To calculate your cost per lead, simply divide your total ad spend by the number of leads you’ve generated.
For example, if you’ve spent $5,000 on your Google Ads and generated 500 leads from those ads, your cost per lead would be $10.
This metric is important because it lets you track how much you spend to generate each lead. So long as the quality of the leads is good, a lower cost per lead is what you’re aiming for.
Cost Per Click: Your cost per click (CPC) is how much you spend on your Google Ads for each click on your ad.
To calculate your CPC, simply divide your total ad spend by the number of clicks you’ve received — although Google makes this calculation easy by just providing you with your cost per click in your dashboard.
For example, if you’ve spent $2,000 on your Google Ads and received 2,000 clicks on your ads, your CPC would be $1.
This metric is important because it allows you to track how much you’re spending for each click on your ad.
Click-Through Rate: Your CTR is the percentage of people who see your ad and click on it.
For example, if your ad is shown 1,000 times and clicked on 100 times, your CTR would be 10%.
Your CTR is important because it allows you to track your ad’s engagement.
Higher CTR is better.
Conversion Rate Optimization
You know everything you need to know to get started with Google Ads.
But there’s one thing we haven’t talked about yet… that we need to talk about.
It’s called conversion rate optimization.
Your conversion rate is the percentage of people who take the action that you want them to take. They might click on your Google Ad, but do they fill out the form on your website?
Do they call you?
Do they take action?
After all, driving traffic through Google Ads is pointless (and expensive) if you don’t have a website built to turn that traffic into leads for your business… which you can then turn into transactions through outreach and follow-up.
So how do you build yourself a website that converts traffic into leads like clockwork?
That’s what we specialize in at Carrot.
Our agent marketing hub will give you…
- 1 High Converting Website
- Carrot Lead Manager
- SMS Lead Notifications
- Outstanding Live Chat + Email Support
- 15 Campaign Tracking Links
- Visual Editor
- Landing Page Builder
- Track 3 SEO Rankings Per Site
- CRM and Marketing Integrations
- Group Coaching Calls
- Automated Content Library
In other words, we give you everything you need to drive traffic and generate leads online.
Here’s an example of one of our agent’s websites…
But… do our websites increase conversions?
We’ve generated millions of leads for our members. Our websites load 68.9% faster than custom WordPress sites (load speed is a big part of conversion rate optimization).
And according to our data, Carrot leads convert 7x better and are 2.5x more profitable than non-Carrot leads.
Want to see the difference for yourself?
Click here to get yourself a Carrot website risk-free for 30 days!
Google Ads can be a great way to generate leads for your real estate business.
But you could waste a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Fortunately, this guide has provided you with everything you need to know about setting up and running profitable Google Ads for your real estate business.
So what are you waiting for?
Get started today and see the results for yourself!