Many marketers and marketing directors in the real estate industry are weary of diving head first into Google Adwords advertising for a couple of reasons:
1. It’s a spending risk that they are just not comfortable taking.
2. The platform can seem so overwhelming and too confusing to truly grasp.
These are completely valid concerns. BUT they shouldn’t be roadblocks in the journey to a marketer’s Adwords success. Sure, there may be some hiccups along the way — it takes time to get it right — but mastering advertising can pay off in a big way. Think driving more site traffic, generating more leads and closing more deals.
To make the Adwords giant seem a bit more manageable, we’re covering some need-to-know advertising terms for marketers:
The first step to getting your ads up and running is to create your campaign(s) and set your campaign type(s) and subtype(s). This is how you determine where your ads will be visible to potential customers, and what types of ads you’ll be able to create, respectively. Depending on the campaign type you select, each campaign you set up includes not only the ads themselves, but also the keywords you are targeting, your bids, your overall budget, your targeting specifications and more. Since you can create multiple campaigns within Adwords, you have freedom to experiment with different keyword and audience targeting strategies to see which campaigns yield the most results, and which need to be adjusted.
Search Network Ads
These are the ads that appear at the top of the search results when users search on Google or on other websites that partner with Google.
Display Network Ads
These are the placement and remarketing ads that appear on millions of popular websites, across the web, on videos and on mobile devices with content that is related to your targeting.
Pro Tip: For a campaign targeting keywords about Boston real estate agents, you might want to develop ads that allow someone to click to contact an agent when surfaced on Google. You can accomplish this by selecting a search network campaign type with the “All Features” subtype.
Ad groups are pretty much exactly what they sound like: groups of ads within a campaign. Although the ads in an adgroup may be different, they all target the same keyword(s) that represent those ads’ intent. This makes it easier to organize and keep track of your ads.
For example, you might have an adgroup with ads geared toward buyers looking for condos in Boston, that all use the same keywords.
Pro Tip: Some marketing pros live by the adage “less is more” and stress the value of single keyword ad groups, as this practice increases your likelihood of achieving a higher Quality Score. In turn, this can reduce your cost per conversion by 16-80%.
In a previous post, we talked about how context + content = <3 for your content marketing. The same goes for Adwords keywords. The keywords that you bid on and attach to your advertisements are what surface your ads in the search results. So, to keep your cost low and get the best ROI, your keywords need to be relevant to your ad.
Pro Tip: Each keyword requires a cost-per-click bid, denoting how much you are willing to pay every time someone clicks your ad. If you notice that you have some keywords that are performing better than others, you might want to increase your bids on them.
Long & Short Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are just that, longer keyword phrases. Often, they may have lower competition than short tail keywords, as they are more specific to your brokerage. For example a long tail keyword would be something like “[Your Brokerage] condos in Boston,” or “Boston waterfront real estate developments.”
Negative keywords are those search terms you want to exclude from surfacing your ads. You want to include negative keywords to reduce your costs and increase your conversions by narrowing your reach to a more specific audience.
There are a few keyword match types that you can set for your ads to control which search queries surface your ads. In general, broad matches extend your reach to a wider audience, while narrow/exact matches ensure that your ad is more relevant to a smaller audience.
Not every real estate ad makes it to the top of Google’s search results — the one’s that do have one thing in common: they meet Google’s Ad Rank Requirements. This means they have excellent, relevant copy, calls to action that entice, and include the appropriate keywords in their links, title and information.
Ad Rank is calculated based on components of your bid amount, an ad’s Quality Score (we’ll get to that briefly below) and the expected impact. How this is determined, though, is a bit of a Google secret.
Ad’s with a higher quality score are generally those with well aligned keywords and copy. For real estate, an example of an ad with a high quality score would be one that pairs copy about single family homes for sale in Cambridge with similar keywords, also about those single family homes.
The Average Position metric helps you gauge the success of your ads in terms of the keywords you are competing for. Here, low numbers mean high rankings. For example, an average position of 1-3 means that your ads are successful and are ranking at the top of Google’s search results. On the other hand, an average position of 8 or higher means your ads are not performing as well and need to be adjusted.
An impression is counted each time your ad is displayed. So, the cost-per-impression is then the cost you are willing to pay every 1000 times your ad is surfaced. Bidding by impressions is a great way to create brand awareness for some verticals. However, for real estate, this is likely not the best strategy, since your goal is to drive people to your site where they can view their listings and you can capture their information.
A high cost-per-click (the amount you pay every time someone clicks your ad) is often the factor that deters many real estate marketers from Adwords. However, if you set a maximum budget (manually or automatically) denoting the maximum amount you are willing to pay every time someone clicks your ad, this cost becomes a lot less harrowing, since you will never exceed your budget. On top of that, Google notes that the actual cost-per-click is often less than the daily budget set.
Like Average Position, CTR is another metric you can use to gauge the success of your ads and keywords. It is a ratio that shows how often the people who see your ad actually click on it (clicks/impressions). You want a high click-through-rate for your ads; this means that they are performing well and are driving people to take the action you want them to take on your site.
A conversion is measured each time someone clicks your ad and takes the action you want them to take. (In most cases, this might be to fill out a form, contact and agent, or click to schedule a showing.) Conversions help you clearly see the value your brokerage is getting from your ads.
Click Through Conversions
Click-through-conversions occur when someone clicks on your ad and then takes the action you want them to take. Your CTC rate is then the number of clicks that end in a conversion on an ad, divided by the total number of clicks on the ad.
View Through Conversions
View-through-conversions occur when someone sees your Display Network ad, and then at a later time completes a conversion on your site.
You might be thinking, “How can I be sure I’m not wasting thousands of dollars on keywords that aren’t effective at driving traffic to my site?” Believe me, that’s definitely a risk, but you can use the Adwords Keyword Planner to do a little research. All you need to do is enter a keyword into the planner search bar to see how frequently it is searched for each month, and how high or low the competition is.
The best keywords to incorporate into your ad strategy are those that have high monthly searches, but moderate to low competition. However, you still definitely want to search for the keywords specific to your audience, like “Boston condos for sale,” or “Boston South End real estate agents” for instance, to ensure that your target audience for a specific ad is being reached.
Pro Tip: Use Adwords’ Keyword Planner to discover keywords to add into your website content and blog to boost your site’s SEO.
Now that you have a little context to what Adwords is all about, it’s time to put yourself out there and start planning and executing a stellar advertising strategy to reach the many Googler’s out there who are just waiting to find your brokerage!