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There are a lot of companies offering Lead Generation solutions that leverage ad networks like Google and Facebook. I thought it would be helpful to provide some insight into how these systems work, and some important tips every real estate agent should know before investing in an online ad campaign.

First it's important to know the basics. How do Online Ad Campaigns work:

First you choose an Ad Platform (The big ones are Facebook and Google, but there are others) Second you develop your Ad and the Call to Action (what is going to get them to click?) Third, you need a Landing Page (something that speeks to the Call to Action). Most people send clicks to the home page of their website, but this can hurt your conversion rate. Ok. So now you have a good idea of the basic needs of an online campaign. AD PLATFORM + AD + LANDING PAGE.

Now it's important to understand the "User Behavior" of different ad platforms too. Not all ad platforms are created equal. The mind set and the user experience of every website is different. Here are the basic differences

1. Google - You have PPC Search and Display Ad options. With PPC (Pay Per Click) Search you are reaching people searching for what you have - so their in the "buy" mind set. This is a powerful ad placement. With display ads you are are "interupting" their browsing experience, but you can extend your brand because it's a banner ad (they will at least see your logo, brand, etc even if they don't click)

2. Facebook - The only option is Display Ads (either in the Feed, on the side). Again, this advertising can get you a lot of impressions (people see the ad) - but typically have a lower click thru rate (because they are busy surfing the website and not looking to click away).

3. Other Websites - Of course there are other websites you can advertise on as well (specific to real estate) which can catch consumers in the mode of shopping for homes. This can be a great place to be, but also remember there may be numerous other agents right next to you, so you end up paying more for the ads due to competitive bids. (this is how many ad websites make more money - they raise the price on ad impressions based on demand).

So now, let's talk about Real Estate specifically.

1. When targeting BUYERS - Because most buyers may not live in the area you sell real estate yet. So you can't really leverage GEO-targeting (in Facebook or Google Display). So you are forced to really rely on Search PPC. You can buy keywords like "Sarasota Real Estate", and so when someone searches that (no matter where they are) your ad will show.

2. When targeting SELLERS - this is a little trickier. The process a home owner goes thru when selling a home typically doesn't start with an "Internet Search" So keyword strategy doesn't typically return good results. They may search for a real estate agent, but only if they haven't already been presented with an option (via referral, someone they know, or someone already contacted them). Display ads is a good way to keep your brand in front of potential sellers, but how do you target Home Owners (and specifically home owners with high potential of selling). This is where predictive analytics comes in.

You can spend a lot of money on online ads, and get a ton of clicks, but not convert. This is probably the most frustrating part of online ads. So you need to make sure you have a system in place to measure success from click to lead.

My next blog will talk about conversion, and the importance of building a funnel that measures metrics, so you can optimize your ad spend.

Tags: Ad Campaign,Predictive Analytics