Unfortunately, according to statistics, many marketers fail miserably in generating leads with Google search ads.
And this situation is no different in the highly competitive real estate industry, where high-quality leads are not that easy to generate.
Google Ads is one of the largest pay-per-click platforms, if not the largest one.
And if done right, you can tap into a massive traffic opportunity to generate high-quality real estate leads.
Therefore, I created for you this article guide that will provide you with all the information and tips you need to know about this topic.
I will discuss:
- What Google Ads is, its statistics, and how it works
- Different ad types
- The main reasons why many fail in generating (real estate) leads with Google ads
- Doing the proper keyword research
- The landing page for your search campaign
- Conversion tracking (very important)
- Preparing your ad copy
- Setting up and organizing your search campaign
- Constant split testing and campaign optimization
What Google Ads Is, Some Stats, and How It Works
About 5.8 billion people do searches on Google daily (source),
and Google and Facebook cover almost the whole public internet.
But when it comes to the whole internet (not only the public but also the private one), Google covers only 4% of it.
This is because a lot more content is not publicly available via a link.
This is called the deep web. It includes unpublished blog posts, website content that only can be accessed via a search field, password-protected content (e.g., government databases, Facebook posts, etc.), online databases, content on websites that are not linked to subscription-based websites, and more
Google Ads is by far still the largest online ad platform on the public internet.
This can be confirmed by several different statistics:
- 90% of people using their desktop to search for something do it with Google (source)
- The search engine market is dominated by Google at 76% (source)
- The major share of the paid search market belongs to Google (73%) (source)
- Small to midsize businesses have a PPC campaign running in 65% of the cases (source)
- After searching on Google for 5 days, 35% of users purchased what they were looking for (source)
There are the so-called organic search results when you search for something via Google. For the same search term, ads are displayed looking similar to the organic search results but are not the same.
They are usually labeled as “Ad,” but the rest of the Ad blends in quite well into the common organic search results.
If your “Ad” is displayed in the top results of Google, this means that you won a bid on a certain keyword you want your ad to be displayed for.
Winning a bid is a vital requirement to appear in the results.
Google makes money by users clicking on the respective ad.
If you start a campaign with Google, it’s a good idea to start with search ads.
Why? To not lose your focus and protect your ad budget or ad spend.
This is because Google has many more ad types available, which I will also discuss later.
Search ads are the best starting point because you can better test your campaigns at first with better controllable metrics.
And once you have a winning campaign, you can branch out to other ad types of Google.
This is also why this article focuses on Google search ads and discusses the other campaign types not as deeply but very likely in future articles.
So what are the different Google Ad types available?
During the past years, Google has added more and more campaign types from which you can benefit in your real estate campaigns.
The following campaign types are available at the moment:
- Discovery (New)
Google Search Ads
The search ads I already discussed above.
Let’s say you bid right and have a good quality score for your ad.
In that case, this campaign type enables your ad to appear in the top results of a certain Google search for the respective keyword.
Google Display Ads
Once you maxed out your Google search ad campaign, you can branch out to other campaign types.
Google Display Ads is one of them. When you choose a display campaign, your ads are displayed on web pages within Google’s Display Network (GDN).
This network consists of websites that allow space on their web pages for Google Ads.
You can create image-based or text-based ads.
In this article, I compared Google Display ads with native ads, which work similarly.
A subcategory of Google Display Ads worth mentioning is Gmail Ads. It is also called Gmail Sponsored Ads, Gmail Sponsored Promotion Ads, and Gmail Sponsored Promotions.
These ads are displayed in the inboxes of the selected target audience, usually at the top of a user’s Gmail inbox, where you find the social or promotions tab.
An ad of this type looks like a typical email with a subject line, contains engaging media, and can be forwarded. When you click on it, it opens the full email ad.
Google Shopping Ads
Google Shopping Ads won’t be relevant to you if you are a real estate professional, as they are targeted toward e-commerce businesses.
They include rich product information, such as price, the merchant’s name, and a product image.
Google creates these ads automatically by accessing the information from your e-commerce website, where you usually have your data feed.
Once you run such a campaign, your ads are displayed to people who are already looking for the type of products you are offering.
Google Video Ads
Similar to Google Display Ads, Video Ads also belong to interruption marketing (or outbound marketing).
But they are actually a bit more annoying, in my opinion, which doesn’t mean they don’t work.
For example, these days, I watched a video where the publisher overdid it a bit by allowing too many ad interruptions during his video.
I almost had to skip these ads every 2 minutes.
So video ads can be displayed before, in the middle, and after YouTube videos.
By the way, YouTube can also be considered a search engine. According to statistics, it’s even considered the second largest search engine behind Google. (source)
So, keywords are still important when advertising on this platform, and the right ones will place you in front of a video.
Google Smart Ads
Google Smart Ads is a variation of Display Ads, which can also be selected when you choose “Display Campaign” in the campaign editor.
While setting up a usual Google Display campaign can be a bit overwhelming, especially the targeting part, it gives the marketer or advertiser the most control.
On the other hand, Smart Ads can automate this process with the power of Google’s machine learning.
This makes it possible to target audiences and placements in an automated way and where the ad has the highest chances of meeting people interested in your products and services.
The algorithm uses insights from millions of apps and sites to do that.
Google would also set the correct bids for you, so no manual handling of that would be necessary.
Google Discovery Ads
With the new Google Discovery Ads, it appears that Google wants to also take on the native ads market (I covered native ads already in this article).
These ads allow you to showcase a single image of your service or product or several images in a carousel format.
The placement of these ads is the Google discover feed, and they are designed to blend in similarly to how you might be used to native ads.
If you don’t know the Google Discover feed yet, it’s part of the Google App you can install on your Smartphone.
Its main feature is to show relevant content according to your interests and needs, so you can uncover fresh, engaging, and overall relevant content.
Apart from the 800 million users of the discover feed, the discovery ads can also be delivered and displayed on YouTube’s mobile home feed and in Gmail’s social and promotions tabs.
You can link to one landing page URL, add at least one image, a logo, and up to five headlines and descriptions.
The targeting is automated for the most part.
Why? Because Google uses machine learning to deliver the best combinations of your headlines, image, and descriptions to the audience that is most likely to take action on the ad.
The Main Reasons Why Many Fail in Using Google Ads for Real Estate
Now, before we dig deeper into how you can generate real estate leads with the different campaign types of Google Ads, let me first show you why many fail.
By knowing that, you can avoid these mistakes from the beginning and increase your chances of success.
The internet is a world of “The Winner Takes All.”
Even a slight edge (like it had Google in the beginning stages) can decide in favor of you becoming a leader in your niche.
This means that digital marketing and using pay-per-click advertising is a tough sport.
It’s not just something you delegate to a part-time employee, which won’t cut it.
So, if that’s what you think about it, you better not start it in the first place.
Perry Marshall mentioned in his book “The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords”, that it’s a 90/10 game.
Either you are part of the 90% that can’t make it work, or you are part of the 10% that make it work.
According to him, 2% of the advertisers get 50% of the traffic.
Your ability to buy Google clicks is the litmus test of your ability to be number one in your market because it’s the gold standard.
Most of the common mistakes are based on the above discussed.
But let’s find the common mistakes based on statistics:
- 42.3% of Google Ad Account managers don’t do conversion tracking, so they are flying blind and can’t optimize ads on an ongoing basis
- Of the roughly 58% of Google Ad Account managers that do track, only 50.1% track meaningful metrics, so the other half isn’t tracking.
- Most have bad or unreliable data about conversion rates based on faulty conversion tracking, which leads to lousy ad optimization, which leads again to low conversion rates.
- The ad spend is not efficiently done and is often wasted (61% of ad spend is wasted): again, this is because of the already mentioned points above (the conversion tracking thing is basically the main mistake that leads to most negative outcomes)
- Not using the right keywords and using too few long tail keywords (source)
- Not using a good enough sales funnel (read my article on real estate marketing sales funnels here (source)
- Using low or no converting landing pages or not having a landing page at all. With Google Ads, you can’t just send the traffic over to your general property listing page or homepage. The landing page copy needs to be specifically tailored to the keyword you are using in your campaign. Heck, you will likely need a separate landing page for each different keyword group you are using in your campaigns (this will be further discussed below).
- No ongoing ad optimization and A/B testing
- Not doing retargeting campaigns that can reduce your ad spend (source)
How to Get Real Estate Leads from Google Search Ads
As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to start with Google Search Ads before branching out to other Campaign types from Google. With search ads, you have more control and can better test your campaign ads than display ads.
Unlike Facebook ads, where you advertise based on interests and demographic information, with Google Search ads, you target based on intent.
Someone searching on Google is at least already problem/need aware compared to someone on Facebook, where you often find people unaware of their problem or need.
So, depending on the keyword or the search intent, people searching on Google are already at least problem- or need-aware and, ideally, already solution-aware.
I covered the different levels of product/service awareness in this article, which are:
- Unaware (e.g., someone on Facebook that has not yet thought about needing to buy or sell property)
- Problem/Need Aware (someone who has some basic interest in selling or buying)
- Solution Aware (someone with a stronger interest in selling or buying who is already knowledgeable about different providers)
- Product Aware (someone knows you already but hasn’t chosen your services yet)
- Most Aware (knows already your services and ideally recommends them)
This also explains why you might get cheaper leads on Facebook, but they will take more time to convert into customers than the leads from Google Ads.
So, the keywords your target audience uses for their searches determine the intent and, thus, their product and service awareness.
That’sThat’s why the right keyword selection for your search ad campaign is so important.
You could start by asking yourself what someone is searching for when they are just curious about a specific city or location. Or, what would they search for when they really need to buy or sell a house?
What is, for example, the difference between the keywords “sell my house fast today” and “closing costs in state XYZ”?
Which of the two keywords will you likely get leads closer to being sold?
From what I already discussed, the difference between both is product/service awareness.
The first searcher is likely to be already “solution-aware,” while the second is “problem/need-aware.”
The latter could be someone considering selling or buying a home, or it could be someone just curious about closing costs.
With this kind of keyword, you can’t be 100% sure.
Doing the Right Keyword Research
So, by now, it should be clear that you should keep the different existing categories of keywords in mind for the right keyword research.
There are keywords for browsers, which are people looking for general information who could sometimes be problem/need-aware. Still, most of them won’t be ready to buy.
Then, you have the shoppers that are problem/need-aware but still in the research phase.
Some can be ready to decide in a few days and sometimes hours, and others might take weeks or longer.
The buyers who are at least problem/need and solution aware know what they want and browse the internet with their open checkbooks on their desks.
The only thing left is finding the right deal.
In the context of real estate, a browser would search for “schools in XYZ,” a shopper for “realtors in XYZ,” and buyers for “houses for sale under 500k in XYZ.”
To do your keyword research and brainstorming, you can use several tools, and one of them is actually part of the Google Ads platform:
To do your keyword research and brainstorming, you can use several tools and one of them is actually part of the Google Ads platform:
- Of course, the Google Ads Keywords Planner. You can put a whole list of keywords in the keyword planner to get more ideas. You can then also multiply keyword lists to get further keyword ideas.
- KeywordShitter (sorry, the name was not my idea) is suitable for keyword ideas but doesn’t give information about monthly search volumes. Nevertheless, it can be used to analyze the Google Ads Keywords Planner to estimate the volume.
- Searchvolume: Only for search volume, it doesn’t give you ideas
- Merge Words by Toptal(only for brainstorming)
Please remember that most search volume data are raw estimations, so you might want to take this information with a grain or two of salt.
Once you run the first campaigns, you will get better hard data. But these tools can first point you in the right direction.
The only company that knows the search volume best is Google. Still, only they know their search algorithm better than everyone else.
I recommend creating an excel file where you store the keywords you have found for your campaign. You can make different columns for “keyword,” “search type,” “estimated monthly search volume,” and “cost per click.”
Later, you can add metrics such as “click-through rate” and “conversion rate.”
This will help you to monitor your campaign in the future.
4 Tips to Find Even More Keywords and Select the Right Ones
1) Your Own Website
If you already have a website of your own and several real estate offers on it, you can browse through your whole website and take note of everything you have for sale.
By making a list of these things, you can find other keywords.
2) Your Existing Customers
You can ask your existing customers how they found you and if they remember which keywords they typed in during their search.
3) Spy on Your Competitors
You can use the above keyword tools to spy on competitors’ keywords and enter their website URLs.
There is another tip, not necessarily related to your competitors. You can also enter the URL of the Wikipedia page relevant to one of your found keywords in one of those tools to get even further keyword ideas.
For your first Google AdWords campaign, try to collect at least 50 keywords and not more than 250.
From this collection of keywords, try to narrow down the one keyword that best represents your real estate offers. Then, put the others in a second category close to the main one but not quite as optimal.
4) Select the Right Keywords
A way to filter the found keywords is to focus on keywords with medium or high competition.
By doing that, you also ensure that you don’t use keywords with a low cost of entry, which other marketers have usually failed to profit from.
Keywords with a low cost of entry are usually more difficult to make profitable.
But just that you know, with the right strategy, it is not impossible to make them profitable.
It can mean a great opportunity because other marketers discard them following the same rule I just mentioned.
These lower cost-of-entry keywords are usually more “browser” keywords, where a lower percentage of searchers could be converted into leads.
A strategy for these keywords is not using focused landing pages, as I will discuss below, but well-converting editorials.
So, filtering only keywords with a higher entry level is an excellent first step.
The Landing Page for Your Search Campaign
Before we start the campaign, there is still some significant preparation work to do, including preparing your Landing Page.
One of the most important things here is that you include the main keyword you are targeting in the landing page’s title.
However, you will likely use a list of several but only slightly varying keywords for each ad group.
Doing this can substantially affect the click-through rate and conversion rate of your search ads.
I won’t go deeper into creating a landing page, including copywriting, at this time.
But what should be clear is that the landing page should be specifically dedicated to the ad group you are later setting up in the Google Ads dashboard.
Why can’t you send people to your main homepage or property listing page?
The main reason is relevance.
When you just send the traffic over to your main page, you will confuse your visitors.
And overwhelmed and confused leads translate into no or low conversions.
Visitors will convert much better when you have a dedicated and focused landing page.
This is provided you have just one offer and a good call to action relevant to the keyword group you are bidding on.
It should be a continuation of your search ad.
The elements with the most impact are the headline, images at the top, and the design and placement of your opt-in form.
Other important elements include the wording of bullet points, the color scheme, and call-to-action buttons.
But the most important in the beginning will always be the headline.
And when you do A/B tests with your landing page, never test several elements simultaneously.
Afterward, you won’t be able to conclude which one made the difference.
Here is a good example of a landing page from Shopify.
And to show you a not-so-good example I just googled “Real Estate New York” and found this one, where the ad just leads to the main home page.
A competitor who knows what he is doing could crush this company quickly.
So, the landing page could be of a specific property you promote, or it could be quiz based. But there are many more options.
You can head to my article about this topic to get inspiration for different landing pages that are actually the starting point in your real estate marketing funnel.
For example, a survey-based landing page or marketing funnel can be pretty effective for cold Google Ads traffic.
The first page is just a survey and makes the visitor engaged.
Different offers can be suggested depending on the visitor’s answers and results.
An example for real estate could be that retail buyers are asked about which property type, price range, and location they are looking for.
After they enter their contact information, they will be led to a results page where they can download a PDF with current and relevant listings.
Of course, a considerable element of your landing page is your copy and how well your words persuade the visitors to take action.
In future articles, I will go more in-depth about real estate landing page copy.
Meanwhile, you can download my free copywriting checklist for real estate marketing below.
Conversion Tracking (Very Important)
After you have your landing page ready, setting up conversion tracking is another step to preparing your Google Search Ads campaign.
As you remember, this is a critical step since many fail with Google Adwords by not tracking their results.
There are two different options for tracking conversions from Google Ads:
- Dedicated Google Ads Conversion Tracking (100% focused on the performance of Google Ads campaigns)
- Import Conversions from Google Analytics
To set up conversion tracking for Google Ads, you go to the dashboard and click on “Tools and Settings.”
You then click on the plus sign and will be able to choose between four different options:
- Phone Calls
- Import (Data from Google Analytics)
When you select website conversion, you can then choose the category of the conversion, such as “Purchase,” “Lead,” “Page View,” “Sign-Up,” and “Other.”
This selection will help you to choose a particular category when you look at your campaign data.
Since this article is about generating Leads, we select “”Lead”” as the category and then name the conversion.
Here, you can use, for example, the name “Property Showing Form.”
The name you choose depends on what you are doing on your landing page.
Now, you can assign a dollar value to the respective conversion.
Select if the value is assigned every time the action is performed, a different value for each action performed, or no dollar value.
Next, you can choose if conversions are counted each time or only once.
It is better to count it just once.
Doing that prevents multiple conversions from being counted if one person fills out a form several times.
Multiple counts would skew your data.
After this configuration, you can select how long conversions can be tracked after a person interacts with your Ad.
The default configuration of 30 days is just fine.
When running Google display ads, you can also select the next conversion option: the view-through conversion window.
A view-through conversion is when someone views a display ad but doesn’t click it.
Next, you can select if conversions are included within the columns of your Ad Campaign data.
I would recommend leaving that enabled so you have a better overview of your campaign performance.
The last selection option is the attribution model you want to use.
The conversion attribution model lets you choose how much credit each ad interaction gets for your conversions.
You can choose between the last click, first click, linear, time decay, position-based, and data-driven.
The “Last click” option is default selected, which is fine and gives all credit for the conversion to the last clicked ad and corresponding keyword.
Now, you can click on “”Create and Continue”” and create a conversion action.
After this step, you have the option to install the code that was created for the conversion in three different ways.
You can install it, email the tag to your website admin, or use Google Tag Manager.
The code from Google Analytics is placed on all the pages of your website.
However, the conversion tag or code is placed only on the particular page where conversions will happen.
In your case, this would be the page after a user took action on your landing page.
This is usually a thank you page.
This video shows you how to place the conversion code with the Google Tag Manager:
This one shows you how to place it directly on your website without the Google Tag Manager (provided you use WordPress for your website):
Preparing Your Ad Copy
Regarding the copy of your Google Ads, you will have to work with quite a limited space for the words you use.
You can use 30 characters for headlines, of which you can use three. For the description lines, you can use 90 characters (there are 2 available) and 15 characters for the AD Path (there are also 2 available).
So you can use a total of 300 characters.
You want to keep this limitation in mind when preparing your different ad copy variations before you set up your campaign.
Therefore, you need to be able to express your message briefly, clearly, and convincingly.
You also need to do it in the rather simple language of the street and not the language of an English major.
The first important thing to do is to use in the headline the keyword your potential customer used to search on Google.
To avoid mixing up things, this also means that when you have different keywords, you will need to create a separate ad group for each keyword or keyword group.
This is to have separate ads for each keyword group or keyword.
You then want to mainly focus on the benefits in the ad.
Should you want to include features and benefits, use benefits first and then the features.
What may work better in interruption marketing isn’t the best idea in the world of Google search ads.
The advertising messages, therefore, shouldn’t be too hyped up.
They should be relevant and intriguing, not hyped or pushy, but also not too boring or plain.
As a tip to test your ad copy and your sales copy of your landing page, you can print it out and test it with friends or out on the street by reading them to someone.
If you get someone to ask you where they can get what you are offering, you are on to something good.
I will also give you some statistical data about the 612 best-performing Google search ads.
This may give you further information.
1) Most popular words in the best-performing ads (source):
2) Calls to action in the best apps (source):
- Sign Up
3) Common punctuation marks in well-performing ads (source):
- Exclamation Point
- Question Mark
- Dollar Sign
4) Only 40% of top-performing branded ads and 37% of non-branded ads include numbers
5) Speaking of street language (mentioned above), the best-performing ad copy is geared at 14-year-olds.
Setting Up and Organizing Your Search Campaign (Types of Keywords and Geo-Targeting for Real Estate)
Provided you already have a Google Ads account, to create a new search campaign, you just need to click on “+ NEW CAMPAIGN” in the dashboard.
Then, you click on “Leads” (but this selection is not really important), and then on campaign type “Search.”
For the following selection, choose “Website visits” and enter your website name.
The next thing you enter is your campaign name, and then you can check the boxes for Search Network and Display Network.
Because of easier testing reasons right now, we are only interested in the search network without including the Google search partners.
So, just untick the “Display Network” and “Google search partners” boxes.
The Targeting and Audiences Section
You can skip the next two sections in the beginning and go straight to the targeting and audiences section.
Here, you can select the location where your ads will be displayed in the search results.
In this section, it is beneficial to know your target audience.
Suppose you are, for example, a real estate investor who knows in which target areas you are looking for, let’s say, motivated sellers or a realtor looking for buyers.
In that case, you can even enter the different postal codes.
Other location types you can enter besides the postal codes are country, city, and region.
The next thing you want to configure is the language your target audience is likely speaking.
In your case, this would be mainly English. If you also cater to a Hispanic audience, you would choose Spanish.
The following section, “Audiences,” you can skip for now. You can find different audiences that Google has already built based on other interests.
In the Budget section, you can add a daily budget of $5 to start with your testing. Later on, when you generate winning campaigns, you can scale this up.
The Bidding Section
Now we get to the bidding section.
I would change the bidding option to manual to have more control and learn Google Ads better.
Later, you can change that again to automatic bidding and compare the results to the ones of manual bidding.
The enhanced CPC checkbox you can leave checked since Google can determine which clicks have higher chances of converting.
I compared once a campaign with and without this checkbox checked and with enhanced bidding, and the enhanced bidding worked slightly better.
Now, you want to click on “Show more settings” and change the Ad Rotation’s default configuration to “Prefer best performing ads.”
At first glance, this seems to make sense, but it will skew the testing data.
Therefore, we change this option to “Do not optimize: Rotate Ads indefinitely.”
You should leave the ad schedule as it is because you don’t know yet when your ads will be converting best.
Once you find a reliable pattern and know when your ads convert best, you can display your ads during particular times to make your ads even more efficient.
The following configuration section is Ad extensions.
Many overlook this configuration setting and potentially leave money on the table.
This option can give you a considerable advantage over your competition and give you extra space for your Google Ad displayed underneath your main ad.
It usually increases your click-through rates (15% higher) and your Ad Rank and thus reduces your costs per click.
A quote from Google about Extensions goes like this:
“If two competing ads have the same bid and quality, the ad with greater expected impact from extensions will generally appear in a higher ad position than the other.”
These are the available extensions:
- Sitelink extensions
- Callout extensions
- Call extensions
- Structured Snippet extensions
- App extensions
- Lead form extensions
- Message extensions
- Promotion extensions
- Price extensions
- Location extensions
- Affiliate Location extensions
To give you some use case examples, I will provide an overview of the extensions depending on possible goals.
If you want customers to buy from your business location (not entirely relevant for real estate businesses):
1) Location Extensions: They show your location, a call button, and a link to your business details page.
2) Affiliate Location Extensions: Show information about retail chain stores that sell your product.
3) Callout Extensions: This is the additional text that you can add with callouts, such as “24/7 customer support” and “free delivery.”
In the context of real estate, this could be, for example, something like “Schedule a showing 24/7”.
If you want customers to contact you (quite relevant for a real estate business):
Call Extensions: They add a phone number or call button to your ad, so people can call you with just one click on the ad.
If you want website visitors to convert (also relevant for a real estate business):
1) Sitelink extensions: Here, you can add specific links to pages of your website, such as, for example, your property listing page or your About page, a scheduling page, etc.
2) Callout extensions: This overlaps with the goal of wanting to contact from above.
But a call is obviously a conversion, too.
3) Structured snippet extension: These help show information that potential customers might be most interested in.
You can select a predefined header, such as a product or service category and property listing items.
This can be helpful if you advertise a specific property.
In this case, you can bring attention to specific amenities of the property by selecting “Amenities” as the header type in the structured snippet extension.
4) Price extensions: Here, you can have the Google Ad also display your services or product categories with their prices.
This allows people to browse products right from your ad.
If you want people to download your app (likely least relevant for a real estate business):
App extensions: With this extension, people can directly download your app.
This is probably irrelevant for a real estate business, but you never know.
Maybe you (will) use an app as a marketing tool for your real estate marketing funnel, which would make this extension relevant again.
Once you have created a new Extension, you can choose this type of extension later when creating your ads.
Next, you click on “Save and Continue,” and we get closer to setting up the ads, but we are not entirely there yet.
Set Up Ad Groups
We first had to set up the ad groups with the different keywords we researched during our preparation work at the beginning. And you will first have to enter the name of the ad group.
To make things easier for you, I would use the primary keyword you want to use as the name.
For example, if the main keyword you researched would be “new york homes for sale,” you should name it like that.
Related keywords you would also put in this group could be:
- single-family homes for sale in new york
- new york multi-family homes for sale
- new york homes
Now you will be entering the different related keywords:
Here, you can use the broad, phrase, and/or exact match keywords.
If you want to use broad-match keywords, you just enter them without doing anything else.
Phrase match keywords need to be enclosed by quotation marks, such as “keyword,” and exact match keywords need to be enclosed by brackets, such as [keyword].
How are they different from each other?
The critical part of your search campaign performance is how they differ from each other.
If you use broad-match keywords, Google will show your ad for searches that use your keywords in any order or don’t even include your keywords at all.
For example, if you use vacation house Miami with no quotation marks or brackets, your ad could be shown in searches for:
- What are the prices of vacation houses in Miami
- Taxes on vacation houses in Miami
- Rent a vacation house online
- Cheap vacation houses
- Unique vacation houses in Miami
The problem with broad-match keywords is that you will have Google show your ad to all kinds of different searchers.
These are often not necessarily interested in your offer because they are just browsers looking for information.
The chances of wasting money with this are pretty high, and you will likely decrease your click-through rates with that, which in turn increases your costs per click.
On the extreme opposite spectrum are so-called exact match keywords.
This option will give you complete control and won’t waste clicks.
Your ads will only be shown when people type the keyword exactly as you specified beforehand.
The downside of this option is people using a keyword phrase with some words before or after. Then, your ad won’t be displayed by Google.
The same is true for misspellings of the keyword.
The phrase match option is the best middle ground between the exact match and broad match keywords.
Your ad will be displayed when people use the exact keyword in the right order. Still, it will also be shown by Google when additional words are typed in before or after.
For example, for the keyword “houses in san francisco,” your ad would also be displayed for the following search terms:
- buy houses in San Francisco
- rental houses in San Francisco
- cheap houses in San Francisco
- luxury houses in San Francisco
Google wouldn’t show your ad when someone would enter something in between the words of the “houses in san francisco” phrase, such as “houses for sale in san francisco.”
With phrase match keywords, you will have the best middle ground.
Because you will get more impressions than exact match keywords and still preserve a certain level of exactitude.
Taking the above into consideration, I would recommend that you start out with phrase-match keywords.
Suppose you already have several different keyword groups prepared.
In that case, you can create different ad groups at once in this area by clicking on the plus sign “New Ad Group.”
Should you still need additional keyword ideas, you can enter a keyword on the right side in the box “Get keyword ideas.”
The keyword you can enter in the field is labeled “Enter your product or service.”
Or you can enter a URL in the field “Enter a related website” and get additional keyword ideas by using someone’s website.
After creating your different ad groups with your lists of related keywords, you click on “Save and Continue.”
Creating the Actual Real Estate Google Ads
Now is the time to create the actual ads, and I would make two ads per ad group. Not more and not less.
Because you want to start with split testing right from the beginning.
By doing that, you can have them run against each other.
After observing the performance for some time (at least 30 clicks), you see which of the two is the winner.
You then pause the losing ad and write a new one to test against the winner.
I wouldn’t make the two ads too different from each other.
I would change only one element at a time, such as the headline or call to action.
Suppose you have too many elements different from the other ad. In that case, it gets pretty difficult to conclude which element caused one ad to win over the other afterward.
So, now you just enter the ad copy you have already prepared during your preparation work and then click again on “Done and Create Next Ad” to create the second ad.
How many ads you need to create in this step depends on the number of ad groups you create, which in turn depends again on the number of keyword groups you need.
After you are ready with all the ads, you can click on “Save and Continue.”
Your campaign is activated and goes right into Google’s approval process. You can now click on “Continue to Campaign” to overview your campaigns.
Constant Split Testing and Campaign Optimization
In theory, now we don’t have to do anything anymore, and we can just wait until the leads are coming in.
That would be nice, and everyone would be a Google Ads master, but that’s not the reality.
After some testing and optimization work, it will come close to this scenario once you have created a winning campaign.
Until then, you will need to keep an eye on your campaign and constantly optimize and test it regarding conversions.
Now you might see the reason why conversion tracking is so important.
You want to keep track on:
- People landing on your landing page
- People actually converting from your landing page (Emails, Contact Forms, Calls)
- People that convert offline
When it comes to split testing, you don’t want to only split test different AdWords ads as mentioned above, but also:
- Two different landing pages (including sales copies)
You can increase your click-through rates by moving high-performing keywords with high traffic into a new ad group with its own ad.
This ad ideally matches, and you bid about 10% to 20% more on it.
Once it’s working, you can reduce the bid again.
Perry Marshall (author of the book “Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords”) recommends not to delete or pause the keyword in the old ad group. You might break something already working.
Split Testing Landing Pages
As already mentioned above, don’t split test multiple elements at once to better be able to isolate the ones that bring results.
First, let me show you some interesting conversion-related stats about landing pages, so you get a little conversion shortcut:
1) Landing pages with long-form copy can generate 220% more leads (source).
2) The ideal number of form fields is not more than 4.
Having fewer form fields can increase the conversion rate by 120% (source).
3) More than half (52%) of businesses and marketing agencies test landing pages to improve conversions (source).
4) Visitors who read your headline will also read your call to action in 90% of the cases (source).
- Your headline
- You landing page copy
- Your call to action (CTA)
- Images vs. Video
- Form fields
- Your offer and product/service descriptions
If you are using WordPress for your website, there is a multitude of tools available to do split testing.
For example, the Divi theme already includes A/B testing features.
Here are 7 more tools (not limited to WordPress):
To end this article, here are 7 performance indicators of your Google search campaign to keep an eye on:
- Number of clicks of specific keywords
- CTR (click-through rate)
- Quality Score (measures the relevance of your ads)
- CPC (cost per click)
- Ad Position
- Conversion Rate
- Cost per conversion
- How to Track the Performance of Your Real Estate Adwords Campaign
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.