Quick guide for agents: Get started with real estate digital advertising

September 26, 2023

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The internet has become the cornerstone of modern house hunting, fundamentally changing how potential buyers and sellers engage with the market. To effectively resonate with today’s audience, real estate professionals must position themselves where their potential clients are: online. This guide is to help you get started with real estate digital advertising.

The digital shift in real estate

The landscape of real estate marketing is continuously transformed by the internet. It’s the heart of modern house hunting. Consider these eye-opening statistics as motivation to get started with real estate digital advertising: 

This shift underscores a vital truth: to resonate with today’s audience, you must meet them where they are — online.

Success as an agent isn’t synonymous with mastering TikTok dances or bombarding Instagram with constant updates. However, if your ambition is to foster growth, you need to establish your brand and post your listings on the web. And here’s where the spotlight shines on digital advertising.

What is digital advertising?

Digital advertising for real estate agents means promoting your business through paid online ads. Just like billboards grab attention on highways, digital ads capture interest as people browse the internet.

You can advertise listings, connect with potential clients, and build brand awareness through platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram. The key is that digital ads are paid and sponsored, separate from unpaid posts or SEO.

To get started with real estate digital advertising, we’ll discuss these main digital advertising platforms:

  • Google Search
  • Google Display Network
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • TikTok
  • Real Estate Sites (Zillow, Realtor, etc.)

Why use digital advertising?

In case you’re not convinced yet, here are some compelling reasons why you should get started with real estate digital advertising:

  • Wider reach: Tap into 4.6 billion active internet users globally to expand your reach and connect with potential buyers and sellers on a larger scale
  • Targeted engagement: Increase the likelihood of reaching the right people by precisely targeting your ads to people based on demographics, interests, and online behavior
  • Cost-effective: In most cases, only pay when someone engages with your ad; online campaigns can be optimized in real time to make sure your budget is used efficiently
  • Measurable results: Easily monitor performance metrics like views, clicks, and leads

Types of digital real estate ads

Get started with real estate digital advertising: Google Search Ads

1. Google Search Ads

Paid search ads, often referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, are those prime spots you see at the top of a results page when you search for something. 

When a user types in keywords related to real estate — say, “family homes in [City]” — your paid search ad could pop up, instantly capturing their attention and guiding them to your property listings or website.

The most common search platform is Google, but Bing and Yahoo are other examples. Because Google is the dominant player, we’ll focus on just Google Paid Search.

Why use paid search?

  • High-intent targeting: These ads reach people actively searching for something you offer and you show up in the first search results
  • Cost-effective: You pay only when someone clicks on your ad
  • Local domination: Target specific locations, ensuring your ads appear to the right audience in the neighborhoods you serve

Examples of paid search ads

Imagine someone types “3-bedroom homes near [Landmark]” into Google. If you’re a real estate agent in that area, your paid search ad could appear right at the top, showcasing your listings and prompting the user to explore more.

Here are some ways could use paid search ads to get started with real estate digital advertising: 

  • Property showcase: Highlight specific properties
  • Market update: Offer information about price trends, inventory levels, and more for your area
  • Brand awareness: Promote your company and unique selling points
  • Events: Advertise local events, open houses, or real estate seminars
Get started with real estate digital advertising: Google Display Ads

2. Google Display Ads

Next up we have Google Display Network, which is different from Google Search. Google Display is a network of websites, apps, and platforms where your real estate ads can appear. Often, they show on the sides of a website or even in the middle of an article. 

These ads aren’t confined to search results; they extend across sites related to real estate, news, lifestyle, and more. 

Why use Google Display Network?

  • Affordable impressions: GDN offers a cost-effective model, often charging per thousand impressions (CPM). This enables you to expose your brand to a wider audience without a click-through commitment
  • Vast audience reach: GDN spans millions of websites, which allows you to position ads in front of a large audience interested in real estate or related content
  • Visual grandeur: Use striking images or animations to showcase your listings or brand
  • Brand building: Ads can appear on reputable sites, enhancing your brand’s credibility and leave a lasting impression

Examples of Google Display ads

Imagine a potential homebuyer reading an article about real estate trends on a reputable website. Your Google Display ad — a beautiful image of a property — appears seamlessly, igniting their interest and prompting them to explore more.

Here are some ways could use paid search ads to get started with real estate digital advertising: 

  • Property showcase: Highlight specific properties or neighborhoods
  • Market insights: Provide updates on the local real estate market 
  • Guides: Offer downloadable content about homebuying tips, home staging, mortgage loans, interior design, etc. 
  • Testimonials: Feature success stories from satisfied clients
  • Financing information: Display mortgage rates or other offers  


You might see the term “retargeting ads”. These ads allow you to display an ad to someone who has already been on your website or engaged with your content. It’s a smart way to guide prospects further along their real estate journey. For example, if you go to a website to look at shoes, retargeting ads would show you an ad for those same shoes on other websites.

Get started with real estate digital advertising: social media ads

3. Social Media Ads

Agents can post ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms to advertise your properties and brand. These ads blend seamlessly into users’ social feeds, catching their attention with visuals, videos, or catchy headlines. 

Why use social media ads? 

  • Highly targeted: Social media platforms provide unparalleled targeting options to refine your audience based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and even life events
  • Visual storytelling: With captivating images, videos, and interactive content, you can craft compelling narratives around your properties and brand
  • Engagement: Social media is where people engage, comment, and share. Your ads become conversation starters, sparking interactions that transcend traditional advertising
  • Budget flexibility: You have control over spending and can set daily or lifetime limits to ensure your ad spend aligns with your goals

Examples of social media ads

Imagine a potential homebuyer scrolling through their Instagram feed. Your social media ad — a captivating image of a stunning property — appears seamlessly. It prompts them to tap for more details, igniting their curiosity and interest.

Here are types of ads you can launch on social media to get started with real estate digital advertising:

  • Photo ad: Share high-quality images of a property with a concise, engaging caption.
  • Lead generation ad: Create an ad that allows users to submit their contact information directly within the ad itself. 
  • Facebook carousel ads: Showcase multiple property images in a single ad, each with its description
  • Instagram story ads: Capture attention with short, immersive videos that take viewers on a virtual tour of a property. Use interactive elements like polls or swipe-ups to engage users further.
  • TikTok ad: Create short, engaging videos showcasing properties or offering quick real estate tips.

4. Real Estate Site Ads

Platforms like Zillow and Realtor allow you to advertise alongside property listings and relevant content. However, with so many properties, it’s challenging and expensive to stand out from the crowd. As you get started with real estate digital advertising, we recommend starting with the ad types mentioned above before trying real estate site ads.

5. Other Options

There are many other digital ad platforms you could experiment with, such as YouTube Video Ads, LinkedIn Sponsored Ads, TikTok Ads and more. Carefully assess if the audience, costs, and competition align with your goals on newer platforms.

Evocalize is a game-changer for real estate professionals seeking a streamlined approach to digital advertising. For real estate agents and their marketing teams, managing multiple advertising channels can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Evocalize offers a centralized platform where all major advertising channels are seamlessly integrated into one intuitive interface. Learn more here.

Measuring digital ad performance

Let’s break down the common metrics of digital ads for real estate. By understanding these metrics, you’ll be equipped to measure the impact of your campaigns and fine-tune your strategies for optimal results. 

1. Impressions: How many times your ad is viewed.

2. Click-Through Rate (CTR): Percentage of people who clicked on your ad; you want this number to be high. Formula: (Clicks / Impressions) x 100.

3. Cost Per Click (CPC): Cost you pay for each click on your ad. Lower CPCs are generally more cost-effective.

4. Cost Per Lead (CPL): Cost for each lead generated through your ad. You want this number to be low. If your ad’s purpose is to drive traffic to a website, look at CPM instead.

5. Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM): Cost you pay for one thousand views. You want this number to be low.

6. Conversion Rate: Percentage of users who took the desired action after clicking your ad. You want this number to be high.

7. Return on Investment (ROI): Overall profitability of your ad campaigns. You want this number to be high. Formula: (Revenue – Cost) / Cost x 100

In real estate, it’s important to track the lifetime value of a lead, as the value of a real estate transaction can be high and may take longer to realize. Therefore, focusing on metrics that track the quality of the leads generated, such as the conversion rate or the percentage of leads that result in closed transactions, can be helpful in evaluating the success of the ad campaign.

Optimizing campaigns

Here are some basic tips to optimize your digital ad performance. We recommend checking out this article for a deeper dive into how to measure success.

  • Set duration – Run new ads for 2-4 weeks before making big changes
  • Review metrics – Analyze clicks, CTR, costs, and conversions to identify poor performers
  • Test iteratively – Try new targets, creatives, and platforms frequently
  • Watch competition – Monitor what rivals ads are doing
  • Refine constantly – Use performance data to steadily improve relevance and ROI

With consistent optimization, you can build truly effective digital advertising campaigns and connect with more potential real estate clients.

Get started with real estate digital advertising

To truly thrive and connect with a broader audience, it’s imperative to get started with real estate digital advertising. Embrace this powerful tool to propel your brand, showcase your listings, and engage effectively with potential clients in the vast online landscape.

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