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How to Tell If My Real Estate Google Ads Campaign Is Working – Setting Up Conversion Tracking

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A client of ours reached out and had dropped $5,000 in Google Ads costs over a few months on a campaign he was managing himself, but it wasn’t performing as he hoped and he had no clue what parts of his PPC marketing were working and what parts were costing him money.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the simple action we had him take that turned things around from $5k in losses to over $30k in profits… and the #1 mistake most newbie PPC marketers make that prevents you from knowing if your PPC marketing is working for your real estate investing business.

I get asked this question all of the time…

How do I know which keywords and ads are generating leads?

Here’s my answer: if you don’t have the proper recording sources and/or analytic tools in place, you won’t know.  Google Ads campaigns will become a frustrating guessing game that may drain your budget.

I also hear that Google Ads is just an expensive waste of time and won’t generate leads.  Sure, that may be true… if campaigns are not created using an optimized campaign structure. If your PPC campaign is optimized, chances are you’ll be in the right position to be successful.

PPC management can test the skills and patience of even the most experienced ad managers.  You may be thinking, “My campaign is doing OK right now,”

But if you take a deeper look…

  • Is it as effective as it can be?
  • Is it efficient and structured in a way that isn’t a confusing mess?
  • Are you continuously enhancing your return on ad spend?
  • Are you data tracking keywords and ads?

Without proper tracking of data, it will be difficult to know if your PPC campaign is working.

3 Tactics You Can Use In Order To Ensure That You KNOW Which PPC Marketing Ads / Keywords Are Making You Money And Which Ones Are Losing You Money

Is PPC Good For My Real Estate Investor Business?

How do you know? Here are a few of the ways you can track your conversions so you know without a shadow of a doubt that your money is being invested wisely and not just thrown down into a black hole.

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PPC Tracking Tactic #1: Google Ads (Conversion Tag) 


Really, a no-brainer is to set up your campaign using the Google Ads conversion tag.  Without implementing this tag on your site, you’re basically measuring keyword and ad effectiveness with a gut feeling.

You or your account manager must know how a searcher landed on your site and what happened after they clicked on your ad. Did they fill in your lead form? Which keyword, ad and/or ad group triggered the conversion?  Those are questions that will help you build and maintain a quality Google Ads campaign.

Here’s an example of a Google Ads campaign that does not use the Google Ads conversion tracking tag.  It’s not that the Investor chooses not to, it’s because they choose to use a different company to host their website.  This “other” web service doesn’t allow them to place a conversion tag on their site. Carrot real estate investor websites are built with the high achieving investor in mind and make it crazy easy to add your conversion tracking tags.

You can see there has been $2599 spent on 372 clicks and 0 conversions.

But… that’s not true. There are actually been 48 conversions (this Investor keeps track of conversions using their own system)… $54 per motivated house seller lead! Not too shabby.  But an account manager would have no idea which keywords have lead to those 48 leads.  We’re blindly leading the ship.

A Google PPC Campaign Without Conversion Tracking = Throwing Darts Blindfolded

Google AdWords conversion tracking

This is what a campaigns keywords should look like when the Google Ads conversion tag is properly implemented.  An account manager know exactly what keywords need to be adjusted and tested.

A Google PPC Campaign Using Conversion Tracking = Strategic ROI Based Marketing

google adwords real estate investor keywords

The benefits of recording data — you will know which ads, placements, and keywords lead to conversions and are worth bidding on.  You’ll also know the reverse, which ad, placements and keywords to pause.

Pros and Cons Of This Tracking Method:

  • Pro: Helps you find exactly which ads, keywords, and ad groups are performing the best and worst so you can make smart decisions to drive up your return on investment
  • Con: Nothing… really. As long as you’re tag is properly installed on your website and you’re recording unique leads, then this is method is highly recommended.

Be sure to create a conversion tracking tag for your PPC leads.

For Carrot members, you can place a conversion tracking tag on your “step-2” page to ensure tracking on all potential clients who have filled out one of your website forms.  Tags allow you to definitively know when traffic has come from your PPC campaign rather than from SEO, direct mail, etc… it also helps you drill down on exactly which keywords are producing you profitable leads and which ones aren’t.

You can use the Google Tag Assistant to double check the tag is reading your step-2 page.


How To Install The New AdWords Conversion Tracking Tag

Adwords conversion for real estate investing

PPC Tracking Tactic #2: Google Analytics

First… you’ll need to link your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics.  While you will be able to track conversions in Analytics, you won’t be able to know for certain which keyword or ad generated the click. This really isn’t the best way to monitor the performance of your PPC campaign, but can be used to track overall lead volume.

google analytics for real estate

Pros and Cons Of This Tracking Method:

  • Pro: Gives you great aggregate data on the performance of your Adwords campaigns
  • Con: It doesn’t let you drill down too far into specific ads or in some cases specific keywords either, and doesn’t tell you exactly which leads came from where.

PPC Tracking Tactic #3: The Carrot Lead Source Feature

Similar to the information in Analytics, Carrot members can see which traffic source generated the lead, but again not a specific ad or keyword.

The Lead Source Tracking is automatically tracked for every single lead that comes into an InvestorCarrot site… so you don’t have to do a darn thing to turn it on. Just head to view your leads and it’s right there

To find this info, just log in to your Carrot site, go to view your leads. We’re currently working on a massive upgrade that will give a lot more power and functionality to Campaign Tracking within your InvestorCarrot site. Keep an eye out for that release this spring!

Carrot Lead Source Tracking Built Right Into All Of Our Websites

Carrot Lead Form AdWords Lead Generation

Pros and Cons Of This Tracking Method:

  • Pro: Let’s you see exactly where each lead came from so you can track the true profitability of your marketing. This combined with the Google Ads Conversion Tracking tag are the ideal setup that’ll give you the full picture.
  • Con: This tracking doesn’t give you any data about the specific ad that drove the lead.

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How To Be Sure You’re Running a Quality PPC Campaign to Put Your Ads in the Right Position for Success

To measure the effectiveness of your advertising campaign, you should monitor your investor transactions whether buyer or seller, as well as keeping track of new customers, requests for information leads, phone inquiries, and even organic website traffic.

Here are some ideas that will help you not only determine the effectiveness of your ads but will also give you some new marketing ideas.

Additional PPC Marketing Optimization Tips

1. Compare your sales before, during, and after your ad campaign.

Keep in mind that internet advertising often has a delayed affect and can then grow steadily.

Transactions that result from your ads may not take place immediately. So be patient.

2. Use a dedicated phone number to track inquiries.  

Be sure to create a phone call conversion tag for AdWords or other internet marketing options.  Tags make it easy to positively identify and track phone leads.

3. Here are several more that will help squeeze out that extra profit and return on investment… 

  • Set a PPC goal.  This could be the number of leads per week or month or even a cost per lead target amount.  Whatever it is, though, write it down and constantly measure it.
  • Keep your campaign organized.  A messy campaign can cause confusion, waste spend, and ultimately leave you unmotivated.
  • Target the right keywords and limit the number of keywords. Yes, you can have too many.  The sound of 4,000 keywords might sound appealing. However, having too many keywords can lead to confusion and actually harm your campaign. Unless you are willing to create ad groups and ad text based around each keyword, AdWords potentially won’t give you a high enough quality score for ads to show in the highly regarded top three ad spots (41% of clicks come from the top 3 spots). You can also be wasting spend due to higher click costs and possible clicks from unrelated searchers.
  • Creating compelling ad copy.  Make a searcher want to click your ad. Read our blog post here where we write about that.
  • Testing…testing.  Create numerous ads and be sure to test them in order to figure out which ones are more attractive.  Even minor changes, such as removing or adding a word in the ad headline, can make all the difference.
  • Use quality landing pages. Landing page experience refers to relevant, useful and original content is. [How City Specific Landing Pages help you get more traffic]
    Landing pages must offer trustworthiness and be easy for customers to navigate.  It also requires a quick loading page time and encourages customers to spend time on your site.
  • Make sure your call to action is clear. Tell the searcher what to do.  Don’t make them guess.
  • Put the focus on your potential motivated seller or buyer lead. Let them know why you’re better than the competition.
  • Always implement a conversion tracking tag. Yes, you might be able to track lead sources, but if you’re looking at your Google Ads account, you won’t be able to tell which keywords and ads are generating ROI. It will become a guessing game as to which keywords to potentially pause and which to be more aggressive with.

Reasons Why You Should Start Conversion Tracking Today

You must start to gain insight into what’s working within your campaign. Without that knowledge, your Google Ads campaign won’t be completely optimized. This will limit you from being able to make the necessary changes to attract more leads.

You’ll also be able to improve your ROI.

Clicks are not valuable unless they are converting into leads that turn into profitable deals over time.

Tracking will allow you to reduce wasted ad spend, gain quality clicks, and therefore improve ROI.

With the data gathered from tracking, you’ll be able to perform a better test on your campaigns and grow them to get even more conversions.

8 Real Estate Marketing Ideas That’ll Give Your Campaigns New Life

Don’t Spend Another Dime On PPC If You Don’t Have Layers Of Conversion Tracking In Place

Once we had our client turn on conversion tracking he was quickly able to see which ads and keywords were a complete waste of money and which ones were bringing him solid leads. He trimmed off the stuff that wasn’t effective and ramped up the stuff that was. Within 4 months he closed several deals that have so far brought in over $30,000.

Without the tracking in place he possibly would have still closed those deals… but his profit on those deals would be far less because of the wasted marketing dollars he was spending before he had tracking in place.

Tracking is essential… not just a “luxury.”

Implement the Google Conversion Tag + make sure you’re using a website system that helps you track your leads and tell you where each lead came from. That information alone could save you tens of thousands of dollars per year.

There are a lot of factors including time of the year, state of the economy and the geographic location, which can make it difficult to accurately measure the success of your ads if you don’t use the proper tracking techniques.

Compare the before and after advertising traffic from your Carrot website. Also, your PPC manager should be able to provide you with weekly and/or monthly PPC reports.

You can also be proactive.  When talking with your leads, don’t forget to ask them the obvious question.

How did they find your website?

PPC might not be a cost-effective alternative in very competitive markets unless you can ensure a large enough marketing budget, or be willing to limit your amount of traffic if you’re using Bing… but either way… putting in place what you learned in this blog post is essential in competitive markets. Let your PPC be a great compliment to your SEO campaign.

PPC data tracking is one of the most important parts of your PPC campaign.

Interested in switching to Carrot so you can take a hold of your online marketing once and for all and ramp up your ROI? Awesome! Take a demo and reach out if you have any questions!

Question… if you’re doing any paid marketing… are you using conversion tracking? Let me know below in the comments section!

Brendan Holmes

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

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4 responses to “How to Tell If My Real Estate Google Ads Campaign Is Working – Setting Up Conversion Tracking

    1. Elpen! Man, you’d be surprised about Bing… we generate leads and clients through Bing on a consistent basis. The lead volume is much lower… but if you spend a bit of time to get your bing campaign launched and refined… sometimes you can let it run and set your budget low. Don’t discount it… there are leads in there.

  1. I just started a PPC campaign managed by a specialist. Having just started, what is my metric to determine the success of this marketing campaign? I know it takes time to get dialed in, but my only metric is leads and lead quality. They, however, are hesitant to talk about number of leads as a metric because they don’t want to be in a position to guarantee leads. So that creates a wierd dynamic.

    1. Hey Travis,

      This is a good question. Over the long run, the success of the marketing campaign will be solved by the volume of deals/profits and the costs. Right now, in the early stages, yes, you want to consider the number of leads and the quality, but also keeping an eye on the keywords/costs that are driving those leads. In this early “research” phase, there can be keywords that will take time to weed out. That weeding out period could take a month or two so there is a time for patience. I know that can be a tough time for sure.

      For that dynamic, yeah, I can see that is a difficult situation. There are so many variables that can factor into the lead volume and that makes it tough. What might be possible is to get a rough estimate of a like market with a similar campaign structure. If that would help you.

      If it helps crunching numbers, check out our ROI Calculator

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