Ads vs. Pay-Per-Click: Which is Better?

An advertising results dashboard.

If you are looking to market your real estate business online, you’ve likely heard all about niche marketing. Niche marketing is based on the premise that if you concentrate on a small segment of the market and become an expert in that one area, you can “own” that slice. In this article, we are defining niche marketing as strategies that you implement solely in your industry; for example, if you advertise on Zillow and/or, we consider that niche as compared to pursuing social media advertising or pay-per-click advertising.

We’re not about to mince words here. Just like direct mail, the real estate ads like you find on are waste of your money and your time. We feel strongly that the best use of your real estate marketing budget is using pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and we’re about to prove it to you.

A Little About Niche Real Estate Advertising

Focusing your advertising budget only in real estate specific arenas like and means missing out on potential buyers and sellers who are not using the specific websites you have chosen. Further, if you choose to focus your efforts on one or two segments of the market, such as foreclosures, vacation homes or first-time home buyers, you are further narrowing your audience by anticipating that these individuals may be utilizing the specific online tools you advertise on.

Proponents of this type of marketing say that you are reducing the competition for leads when you segment your advertising targets and your market. They say that those looking for your type of property will be more likely to turn to you since you are the presumed expert in this niche market. Companies like can make this type of advertising seem very attractive. They claim that they will match you with home buyers who are “mid search” and presumably closer to buying a house.

Niche advertising involves first choosing a location, and potentially a specialty. This can be a type of property such as green homes, a geographic location such as a specific neighborhood or suburb or a demographic such as millennial buyers or boomers looking for a multi-generational home. In larger metropolitan markets, you might even use more than one of these qualifiers, such as millennial buyers looking for a foreclosed property.

We have a little trouble with the theory behind this type of marketing. This strategy forces you to leave so many leads on the table. Ads like those on are expensive, and the people they attract may only be interested in seeing what’s for sale in their area, rather than actually looking to purchase a property. In addition, by only focusing on one part of the market on one platform, you’re missing out on reaching all of the other people in your area who are looking to buy or sell a home.

We also don’t think that “mid search” (or mid funnel, in sales terms) is a great place to spend your money. Paid search ads for real estate drive quality leads and are a much better investment if you want to buy and sell more houses. Here’s why:

Why Paid Search for Real Estate Makes Sense

Pay-per-click advertising involves first researching the keywords associated with your business, such as “Atlanta homes for sale” or “first time Athens GA homebuyers.” These can be as general or as specific as you choose. This process gives you an idea how of many people are searching these terms, helps you find what other terms might help you expand your potential audience, highlights the number of people on Google searching for your services (NOT on niche websites!).

Having your ads appear for people who are so far along in the buying or selling process that they are researching how to start in Google is invaluable.

Additionally, you have the opportunity to “follow” users who have been doing real estate searches on other sites they frequent. For instance, if someone has been trolling real estate listings and mortgage sites and then visits other sites, such as news sites or shopping sites, your real estate ads will appear to them on those “unrelated” sites also.

Call Lead Horse Marketing

Getting started with pay-per-click advertising for real estate is easy and affordable, especially when you work with a marketing partner like Lead Horse Advertising. We’ll help you choose your keywords, determine the best bids for them, set up your Adwords account and monitor your progress and success rate. Then, we’ll modify your campaign in small ways to get the most out of it, based on your reports and data.

One of the critical aspects of paid search is having a dynamic website. After all, paid search is designed to get potential clients to your website. However, if they arrive at your site and immediately want to leave, you’ve just wasted your marketing investment. Reasons for a high “bounce” rate (a high number of people leaving your site immediately) include a dated, boring-looking home page; a home page that is slow to load; a misleading blurb on the Google ad; or a page with too many bells and whistles that bombards a visitor with music, flashing banners and the like. Obviously, you can’t please everyone, so we think a bounce rate of around 25-40 percent is a good goal.

To learn more about setting up and getting the most out of Google ads for real estate agents and how these types of ads can boost your bottom line, contact Lead Horse Marketing to learn how we were able to drive a $15 cost per lead for a real estate client in just 2 weeks.


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