Using Online Ads to Grow Your Real Estate Business

This post covers everything you need to know about advertising your real estate business online.
Online advertising for real estate - instagram boost

Whether you’ve heard a little about online ads and are curious to learn more, or you already know that you want to use them and aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place! 

As a real estate agent, you understand that one of the first places your potential clients go when looking for a new home is online. Looking for a home online has basically become the standard, with nearly 95 percent of home buyers using it to search for homes. With online ads, you’re putting your business in front of people at the exact moment they’re searching for real estate services. Work smarter, not harder!

Online advertising is one of the most established forms of digital marketing. If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of online advertising, you’re probably asking yourself if this form of advertising makes sense for you and your business’ goals. 

There’s no doubt that online ads are important!

But before going all in and investing in an ad campaign, it’s important to understand why advertising online is great for growing your real estate business.

What is online advertising?

Online advertising is a marketing strategy that uses the Internet to get your business in front of a targeted audience. As Internet users, we’re constantly being marketed to – and for good reason. A majority of our day is spent online, either doing a quick Google search or passively scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. So why not advertise where people are? 

Online advertising is a rapidly developing marketing strategy that any REALTOR® can benefit from. It helps you get seen on search engines for queries related to buying and selling homes in your area so you can drive visitors to your website, generate leads, close more homes, and stand out in a competitive market. 

This type of advertising allows real estate agents to display ads relevant to what buyers and sellers are searching for. For example, John is starting his home buyer’s journey and looking at what’s available on the market. He searches “homes for sale in Vancouver” and thousands of page results show up. Because you’re running online ads on Google, your ad is shown on the first page of google and above all the organic search results, making it easy for John to find your website.

Types of online ads for REALTORS®

Each online platform has a unique user persona, so catering your ads to them will ensure your message is as effective as possible. To get an idea of the type of online real estate ads you can run, let’s explore the different platforms.

Facebook real estate ads

Facebook is a great platform for sharing visuals and information, so listing ads would do great here. Stop users from scrolling by sharing the listing details (price, square footage, neighborhood, number of bedrooms, etc.), a well-lit photo of the home or video walkthrough, and a call-to-action that encourages people to check out the home.

Advertise effectively: Facebook is the perfect platform to advertise on because you can get extremely detailed with your targeting – we’re talking targeting people who are “likely to move” based on their behaviors and actions on Facebook. Take a look at the different targeting parameters to ensure your money is being spent where it counts.

Instagram real estate ads

Again, Instagram is inherently visual (just like real estate) which is why you’ll want to take advantage of their carousel or video ad format. Carousels give you the ability to display up to 10 images in a catalog format so viewers can scroll through. 

Bonus: it also gives you a lot more opportunities than a single-image ad, meaning you could target different personas all in one ad.

Video content has given static content a run for its money for being the most engaging form of content on both Instagram and Facebook. That’s because videos have the power to evoke strong emotions that encourage viewers to comment, like, and share. Since so much of buying or selling real estate comes down to the property’s presentation, video content can be quite useful in showing potential clients what you have to offer.

Advertise effectively: First impressions are everything! The biggest factor in stopping people from scrolling past your ad? Powerful imagery. Make sure you’re using high quality photos or videos that do the home justice.

LinkedIn real estate ads

Advertising on LinkedIn isn’t as common as other social media platforms. However, don’t discount it yet! 77% of LinkedIn users are 30 years or older, nearly half earn over $75,000/year, and half hold college degrees. Typically these stats are representative of those interested in purchasing or selling a home – therefore making LinkedIn a great lead generation source!

With that in mind, the advertising approach here is different than over on Facebook/Instagram. LinkedIn users are primarily working professionals who are scrolling their feed looking for helpful content, not the next home they’re going to buy.

This makes LinkedIn a great place to flex your real estate knowledge and promote parts of your business that deliver value: a new blog post, your e-newsletter, educational resources, etc.

Advertise effectively: LinkedIn’s matched audiences allow you to target people who have engaged with your business in some way. This is every marketer’s dream as it delivers your ad to people who already know of you and works to build their trust.

You can upload a list of contacts, people who have visited your site, or people who have engaged with your LinkedIn content!

Google real estate ads

When leads come through a Facebook or Instagram ad, they’re often “window shopping.” They have seen a house that they like the look of and have clicked through to your website and offered up their details to view the property.

With ads on Google, you’re targeting people at the exact moment they’re searching for homes. When someone searches “Vancouver homes for sale” you know that their goal is to find real estate listings and buy a home in Vancouver. Your ad will appear and direct them to your website which will give them exactly what they’re searching for. That makes them a pretty good candidate to become a real client!

Advertise effectively: If you’re looking to optimize your ads, take a look at your quality score for each of your ads. This number is determined by each ad’s click through rate, relevance of each keyword to your ad, and the landing page quality. When more people click your ad, that’s a strong indication that your ads are relevant and helpful to users, so Google rewards you with higher ad rankings and lower costs. 

Why use online advertising for your real estate business

Increase your visibility

If you work in a big city or you’re just beginning to establish your online presence, it’s going to take some time for your website to gain traffic organically. 

SEO will be your best friend in this scenario (rank higher with this basic SEO checklist). Even then, it can be extremely challenging for your website to show up organically on the front page of Google when competitors like and Zillow are using all the same popular search terms as you. Huge companies dominate the SEO landscape, outranking independent REALTOR® websites every time.

Fortunately, online advertising will help you rise to the top of the search results in a competitive market and give your website the opportunity to be seen by potential clients who you’ve never interacted with before. 

In fact, Google promotes ads above organic searches.

Data also shows that web visitors think the first few websites at the top of the search results page are among the more reputable businesses in their industry.

It’s important to note that online ads do not – and should not – replace your SEO efforts.

They both serve different purposes, but should both be done to help grow your business and attract leads. Think of online ads as a jolt of energy that can immediately boost your business, while SEO is a long term ongoing effort that can yield great results when done right. 

Ads = invest with your money
SEO = invest with your time

We recommend using online ads throughout your real estate career, but especially when you’re launching a new site. It will take a while for your SEO results to gain traction and compound, so online ads can help give you that initial traction. Of course, this is dependent on how competitive the search terms you’re using to rank are.

Ninja Tip: Focus on SEO for long-tail keywords, because simple terms such as “vancouver real estate” are too competitive. The more specific the target, the less competition and easier it is to rank with SEO (generally).

Attract qualified leads

Both buyers and sellers like to research prospective homes at their leisure and will devote as many hours to their search as required before going to see a property in person. By running lead generation ads online (listing ads, home evaluation ads, etc.), you can give them exactly what they’re searching for, when they’re searching for it.

What most agents don’t realize is that attracting qualified leads is simply the first step in the journey to get potential clients. You still need to gain their trust so they feel comfortable buying or selling a home with you. A great agent is a great agent; online advertising just shows your business to new people!

How online advertising fits into your existing marketing strategy

All of your marketing strategies should fit together and support each other. Online advertising is an important aspect that can achieve a range of goals (lead generation, brand awareness, etc.), but it won’t grow your real estate business all on its own. 

Just like with homes, there’s no point in painting the walls if it’s built on quicksand. Your website is the foundation of your marketing efforts. All of your strategies, especially online advertising, should point back to your website because that is where the traffic will actually convert.

When someone clicks your ad—whether it’s for a specific real estate listing or to learn more about your services—they’re telling you that the ad’s headline or image piqued their interest. (Why would they click if they weren’t interested?) All that’s left to do is show them more of the same with a dedicated landing page.

Keep your end goal in mind when creating ads. Are you running a listing ad so you can generate buyer leads? Are you promoting your email list so you can grow your network? Your ad should drive traffic to a landing page that has one clear objective and call to action that supports your end goal.

Ninja Tip: Your website’s homepage is often NOT the most effective landing page. The objective of a homepage is usually to highlight various actions a website visitor can take on your website, rather than to achieve one clear objective.  Your homepage usually contains a few call to actions as well as your main website navigation menu – which contains 5, 10, 15 or more links to pages.

Looking for tips on building an effective landing page and examples? Check out this article.

There you have it

We hope this article sheds some light on how online ads are the perfect option for generating qualified leads and building brand awareness. In conjunction with your other marketing efforts, you can target your ideal buyers and sellers with a specific message that meets their needs – which will have them converting into leads in no time! 

When in doubt hire an expert

If you’re dedicating a sizable budget to online ads then we recommend hiring a marketing agency that specializes in them. A qualified expert will be able to set things up properly from the get-go, and make sure you’re not wasting money targeting the wrong crowd with the wrong messaging.. or directing traffic to the wrong pages on your site.

They’ll have a deep understanding of your business objectives and can provide you with custom graphic design, video, ongoing support and maintenance for your ads. Whatever you do, make sure the company you hire has a great reputation and stellar online reviews!

Our recommendation: Salt Water Digital

At RealtyNinja we use Salt Water Digital for all of our online advertising and are really happy with the service and level of quality they provide. Plus, they’re just awesome people.

Bonus: We have secured 15% off all of their services for our RealtyNinja customers, so check out the marketplace to lock in that sweet deal!

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