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 there is, if not the largest one.
And if done right, you can tap into a huge traffic opportunity to generate you 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, statistics and how it works
- Different ad types
- The main reasons why many fail in generating (real estate) leads with Google ads
- Doing the right 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 are doing searches on Google every day (source), and Google and Facebook basically 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 there is a lot more content that is not publicly available via a link.
This is called the deep web, and includes unpublished blog posts, website content that only can be accessed via a search field, password protected content (e.g. government databases, Facebook posts, etc.), online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 is not linked to, subscription based websites and more (source).
Google Ads is by far still the largest online ad online platform with regards to the public internet.
This can be confirmed with several different statistics:
- 90% of people using their desktop to search 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 purchase what they were looking for (source)
When you search for something via Google, there are the so-called organic search results and for the same search term, you also get search ads displayed that look a bit 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 an important requirement to be able 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 begin with search ads, to not lose your focus and protect your ad budget or ad spend, because Google has many more ad types available, which I will also discuss later.
The reason search ads are the best starting point is also that 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 the reason why this article has a focus 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.
Provided you bid right and have a good quality score for your ad, 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 webpages for Google Ads.
You can create image-based or text-based ads.
By the way, in this article, I compared Google Display ads with native ads, which have a similar working.
A subcategory of Google Display Ads worth mentioning are the Gmail Ads, which are also called Gmail Sponsored Ads, Gmail Sponsored Promotion Ads, and Gmail Sponsored Promotions.
These types of 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, can be forwarded, and when you click on it, it opens the full email ad.
Google Shopping Ads
Google Shopping Ads won’t have much relevance to you if you are a real estate professional, as they are targeted towards e-commerce businesses.
They include rich product information, such as price, the merchant’s name and a product image.
Google creates these types of ads automatically by accessing the information from your e-commerce website where you usually have your data feed.
Once you have such a campaign running, your ads are displayed to people who are already looking for the type of products you are offering.
Google Video Ads
Similar to the Google Display Ads, Video Ads belong also to what is called interruption 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 video publisher overdid it a bit by allowing video ad interruptions during his video.
I almost had to skip every 2 minutes a new video ad that was displayed.
So video ads can be displayed before, in the middle of 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 actually a variation of the Display Ads, which can be also selected when you choose “Display Campaign” in the campaign editor.
While the setting up of 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 offer the possibility to 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 that may be interested in your products and services.
The algorithm uses insights from millions of apps and sites to do that.
Google would also set the right bids for you, so no manual handling of that would be necessary.
Google Discovery Ads
With the still 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 types of 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 with native ads.
In case 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 you relevant content according to your interests and needs, so you can uncover fresh, interesting, 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 the social and promotions tabs of Gmail.
You can link to one landing page URL, add at least one image, a logo and up to five headlines and five descriptions.
The targeting is automated for the most part, because Google uses its machine learning to deliver the best combinations of your headlines, image creates, and descriptions to the audience that is most likely to take action on the respective ad.
The Main Reasons Why Many Fail in Generating (Real Estate) Leads with Google Ads
Now, before we dig deeper into how you can actually generate real estate leads with the different campaign types of Google Ads, let me show you first why many fail in doing so.
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 online marketing and using pay per click advertising is a tough sport.
It’s not just something you just delegate to a part-time employee, which won’t cut it.
So, if that’s what you think about it, you better don’t start it in the first place.
As Perry Marshall mentioned in his book “The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords”, 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 there get 50% of the traffic, and 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.
The following common mistakes are based on the above discussed for the most part.
But let’s get some 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
- From the roughly 58% of Google Ad Account managers that do track, only 50.1% track meaningful metrics, so the other half basically isn’t tracking at all
- Most have bad or unreliable data about conversion rates based on faulty conversion tracking, that leads to bad ad optimization, which leads again to low conversion rates
- The ad spend is not efficiently done and 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 Generate Real Estate Leads with Google Search Ads
As already mentioned above, it’s a good idea to start first with Google Search Ads, before branching out to other Campaign types from Google, because with search ads you have more control and can better test your campaign ads than for example display ads.
Different to 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 still unaware of their problem or need.
So, depending on the keyword or rather the search intent, people searching on Google are already at least problem- or need-aware and, ideally, already solution-aware.
I covered the different level 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 a 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 knowing 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, depending on the keywords your target audience is using for their searches, the intent and thus their product and service awareness can be determined.
That’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 certain city or location, or what they would search 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”?
From which of the two keywords will you likely get leads that are closer to being sold to?
From what I discussed already above, the difference between both is the product/service awareness.
The first searcher is likely to be already “solution-aware”, while the second one is kind of “problem/need aware”.
The latter could be someone considering selling or buying a home or it could be someone just curious about the information regarding 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 for the right keyword research you should keep the different existing categories of keywords in mind.
There are keywords for browsers, which are people looking for general information who could sometimes be problem/need aware, but 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 of them can be ready to make a decision in a matter of a few days and sometimes hours, others might take weeks or longer.
The buyers who are at least problem/need and solution aware know already what they want and browse the internet already with their open checkbook on their desk.
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 “houses for sale under 500k in XYZ”.
To do your keyword research, 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), which is good for keyword ideas, but doesn’t give information about monthly search volumes. Nevertheless, it can be used to analyze in the Google Ads Keywords Planner to estimate the volume
- Searchvolume: Only for search volume, it doesn’t give you ideas
Please keep in mind that most of the 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 itself, but only they know their search algorithm better than everyone else.
I would recommend that you create an excel file where you store the keywords you have found for your campaign and make different columns for “keyword”, “search type”, “estimated monthly search volume”, and “cost per click”.
Later on, you can also 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 have already 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 further keywords.
2) Your Existing Customers
You can ask your already existing customers how they found you and if they can remember which keywords they typed in during their search.
3) Spy on Your Competitors
You can use the above keyword tools to spy on your competitors’ keywords and enter their website URLs.
Another tip, not necessarily related to your competitors, is to 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 and put the others in a secondary category that still are close to the main one, but not quite as optimal.
4) Select the Right Keywords
A way to filter the found keywords is also to focus on keywords with medium or high competition.
By doing that, you additionally make sure that you don’t use keywords with a low cost of entry, that other marketers have usually failed to make profitable in the past.
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 and can mean a great opportunity, because other marketers discard them following the same rule I just mentioned.
These lower cost of entry keywords are most of the time more “browser” keywords, where a lower percentage of searchers could be converted into leads.
A strategy for these types of keywords is not using focused landing pages, as I will discuss below, but using well converting editorials.
So, filtering only keywords with a higher level of entry is a just good first step in the beginning.
The Landing Page for Your Search Campaign
Before we start setting up the campaign, there is still some significant preparation work to do, which includes preparing your Landing Page.
One of the most important things here is that you include the main keyword you are targeting in the title of the landing page, although you will likely use for each ad group a list of several but only slightly varying keywords later on.
Doing this can have an important effect on the click through rate and conversion rate of your search ads.
I won’t go deeper into how to create a landing page including the copywriting, but what should be clear is that the landing page should be specifically dedicated to the respective ad group you are later setting up in the Google Ads dashboard.
Why can’t you just send people over to your main homepage or property listing page?
The main reason is relevance.
When you just send the traffic over to your main page, chances are you will overwhelm and confuse your visitors.
And overwhelmed and confused leads translate into no or low conversions.
When you have a dedicated and focused landing page with just one offer and a good call to action with a high relevance to the keyword group you are bidding on, visitors will convert much better.
It should be a continuation of your search ad, and the elements with the most impact are the headline, images at the top and the design and placement of your opt-in form.
Further 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 at the same time, because afterwards, 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 for “Real Estate New York” and found this one, where the ad just leads to the main home page.
A competitor that knows what he is doing could crush this company quite fast.
So, the landing page could be of a specific property you promote or it could be one that is quiz based. But there are many more options.
To get inspiration for different types of landing pages that are actually the starting point in your real estate marketing funnel, you can head over to my article about this topic here.
A survey-based landing page or marketing funnel, for example, can be quite effective for cold Google Ads traffic.
The first page is just a survey, and makes the visitor engage.
Depending on the visitor’s answers and results, different offers can be suggested.
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 lead to a results page where they can download a PDF with current and relevant listings.
Of course, a huge element of your landing page is also the copy you use, and how good the words you use will persuade the visitors to take action.
I will go more in-depth about real estate landing page copy in future articles.
Meanwhile, you can download my free copywriting checklist for real estate marketing below.
Conversion Tracking (Very Important)
After you have your landing page ready, another step to prepare your Google Search Ads campaign is setting up conversion tracking.
As you remember from above, this is a very important 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 are you doing on your landing page.
Now, you can assign a dollar value to the respective conversion, and select if the value is assigned every time the action is performed, a different value for each action performed, or no dollar value at all.
Next, you can choose if conversions are counted each time or only once.
It is better to count it just once.
By doing that, you avoid 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 for 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, which is 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 attribution model of conversion 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.
By default, the “Last click” option is selected, which is just fine and means that it gives all credit for the conversion to the last clicked ad and corresponding keyword.
Now, you can click on “Create and Continue” and created 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 directly yourself, email the tag to your website admin, or use the Google Tag Manager.
While the code from Google Analytics is placed on all the pages of your website, the conversion tag or code is placed only on the particular page where your conversions will happen, which in your case 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
When it comes to 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 a total of three, 90 characters for the description lines (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.
This limitation is something you want to keep in mind when preparing your different ad copy variations before you setup your campaign.
Therefore, you need to be able to express your message briefly, clearly and convincingly, and do it in a 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, so you can have separate ads for each keyword group or keyword.
You then want to mainly focus on benefits in the ad.
Should you want to include features and benefits, use benefits first and then the features.
What may work better in the world of 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 overall relevant and intriguing but not hyped or pushy, but also not too boring or plain.
As a tip to test your ad copy and also 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 copy of the best performing ads is geared at 14-year-olds.
Setting Up and Organizing Your Search Campaign (Types of Keywords and Geo-Targeting for Real Estate)
Provided you have already 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 next selection, you chose “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 now select the location where your ads will be displayed in the search results.
In this section, it is quite beneficial to know your target audience.
If 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, you can even enter the different postal codes.
Other location types you can enter here 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. Should you also cater to a Hispanic audience, you would also choose Spanish.
The next section, “Audiences”, you can skip for now. Here, you can find different types of audiences that Google has already built based on different 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.
In order to have more control and be able to learn Google Ads better, I would change the bidding option to manual bidding.
Later, you can change that again to automatic bidding and compare the results to the ones of the 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 both 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 default configuration of the Ad Rotation that is set 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 during which times your ads will be converting best.
Later, once you find a reliable pattern during which times your ads convert best, you can display your ads during particular time windows to make your ads even more efficient.
The next configuration section is Ad extensions.
Many overlook this configuration setting and leave potentially a lot of money on the table.
Using this option can get you a huge advantage over your competition and will 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 next give you an overview of the different extensions depending on possible goals.
If you want customers to buy from your business location (not completely relevant to a real estate business):
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 additional text, that you can add with callouts such as “24/7 customer support”, “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 visitors to convert on your website (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 is an overlap to the goal of wanting to contact from above.
But a call is obviously is a conversion, too.
3) Structured snippet extension: These help you to show information that potential customers might be most interested in.
You can select a predefined header, such as a product or service category and listing items.
This can be helpful if you advertise a specific property.
In this case, you can bring the 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 not relevant 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 created a new Extension, you can then later choose this type of extension when creating your ads.
Next, you click on “Save and Continue” and we get closer to setting up the ads, but we are not completely there yet.
Set Up Ad Groups
Because we first have to set up the ad groups with the different keywords we researched during our preparation work at the beginning, you will first have to enter the name of the ad group.
To make things easier for you, I would use as the name the main keyword you will be using.
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 put also 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 have the option to use broad match, phrase match, 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 important part for the performance of your search campaign 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 of 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 that are often not necessarily interested in your offer because they are just browsers looking for information.
The chances of wasting money with this are quite 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.
By using this option, you will have complete control and won’t waste clicks.
Your ads will only be shown when people type in the keyword exactly as you specified beforehand.
The downside of this option is that when people use a keyword phrase with some words before or after, your ad won’t be displayed by Google.
The same is true for misspellings of the keyword.
The best middle ground between the exact match and broad match keywords is the phrase match option.
Your ad will be displayed when people use the exact keyword in the right order, but 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 compared to 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.
If you have already several different keyword groups prepared, 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 called “Enter your product or service”.
Or you can enter a website URL in the field “Enter a related website” and get additional keyword ideas by using someone’s website.
After you have created your different ad groups with your different lists of related keywords, you click on “Save and Continue”
Creating the Actual Ads
Now is the time to create the actual ads and I would create 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.
Actually, I would change only one element at a time, such as the headline or call to action.
If you have too many elements different from the other ad, it gets pretty difficult to draw conclusions afterward which element caused one ad to win over the other.
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 created, 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” and your campaign is activated and goes right into Google’s approval process. You can now click on “Continue to Campaign” to the overview of 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.
It will come close to this scenario once you have created a winning campaign after some hard testing and optimization work.
Until then, you will, unfortunately, need to keep an eye on your campaign and constantly optimize and test it with regards to 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 just moving well performing keywords with high traffic into a new ad group with its own ad that ideally matches it and bid about 10% to 20% more on it.
Once it’s working, you can reduce the bid again.
Perry Marshal (author of the book “Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords”) recommends to not delete or pause the keyword in the old ad group because you might break something that is 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 short cut:
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
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