Paid Digital Advertising: A Beginner's Guide for Real Estate Marketers

Paid digital advertising can help accelerate your content marketing efforts so that your content gets in front of prospective buyers and renters faster than would happen organically.

We are strong believers in content marketing. Build it, and they will come — or, in content-marketing speak, publish quality content, and buyers will come to you. But, content marketing takes time to bear fruit. There’s not much you can do about that.

Except paid digital advertising.

By investing in paid digital advertising, you can boost the reach of your posts, display ads, and videos. Pair quality content with a comprehensive digital advertising strategy, and you will be in a position to drive more traffic, create more brand visibility, and sell or lease more properties.

Your peers understand this. Within the first quarter of 2017, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest saw a 61.5% increase in paid media spend. And that’s only going to increase through 2018.

So where do you start? Here are three places to get started in using paid digital advertising to help market your property.

3 paid digital advertising platforms

1) Display ads

Display ads are the paid advertisements that appear in front of users on website pages in the form of graphics. Unlike text-based ads, display advertising relies on elements such as images, audio, and video to communicate an advertising message. Display ads are commonly referred to as banner ads, but they don’t always take banner form. They can come in all shapes and sizes, and can appear anywhere on a webpage.

Benefits: Because digital ads are visual, they can be customized with your logo, message, images of properties, or an offer to help increase brand awareness. You have the ability to use graphics, video, and audio to really stand out and highlight your properties. Display ads also allow users the ability to target a specific audience. You control which sites they appear on, which geographic area they appear in, and which demographic or niche market they appear to — all valuable tools for the real estate marketer.

2) Sponsored social media posts

There are sponsored posts plus other ad opportunities like Facebook like campaigns, website click ads, and lead ads.

Social media is a natural place to begin if you’re looking to get into paid digital advertising, particularly for the real estate industry. A good starting point is Facebook. The social media giant’s social ad revenue was more than $9.16 billion in Q2 2017 alone. And it doesn’t stop there. Twitter brought in $548 million in social media advertising revenue in the same period, and Snapchat is expected to reach over $895.5 million in ad revenue in 2017.

More specifically, three of the most useful types of sponsored social media posts for real estate marketing are:

  • Facebook Like Campaigns: These campaigns are aimed directly at increasing the number of likes for a Facebook page, targeting people who might be interested in your brand and the posts you share on Facebook.
  • Facebook Website Click Ads: These are ads that point people on Facebook to your website, or even the listings for specific properties.
  • Facebook Lead Ads: These ads allow users to request information, estimates, or newsletters without leaving Facebook. Requiring fewer steps of prospective leads increases conversion rates.

Benefits: Running paid social ads allows you to reach a large audience at a low cost. You pay based on the type of ad you’re running. For example, if you’re looking to drive brand awareness, you’ll incur a CPM (Cost Per 1,000 Impressions). And not only are the ads relatively inexpensive to run, they’re not expensive to create. You get all of this plus the ability to target your specific audience, reaching people that are interested in learning about the properties you have to offer.

3) Google AdWords

Google AdWords places your website as one of the top results on a search engine results page (SERP) when a user searches for certain keywords of your choice. When a user clicks the AdWords link or calls your business using that link, you incur a charge (pay-per-click). Otherwise, impressions are free.

Google’s most recent update involves changes to the so-called “3-pack,” or the listing of three related local businesses on a search results page. Many users rely on the 3-pack to discover businesses in their area that offer the products and services they are seeking. This is particularly helpful for users searching for local real estate. And real estate copanies get the benefit of many additional leads and investors when they appear in the 3-pack.

Benefits: The biggest benefit of Google AdWords is its speed. You appear in a top spot in a user’s search results, meaning you are one of the first things a user sees when searching for a specific location or property keyword. That’s another good point: Google AdWords allows you to focus on people who are searching for what you have to offer, so you don’t pay for a bunch of wasted impressions — particularly valuable in real estate marketing, where geography is key. AdWords also gives you real-time reports to track your ad’s success. A dashboard shows information related to each campaign, such as the ads clicked, keywords entered by website visitors, cost of clicks and much more.

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