Why Your Google “Pay Per Click Campaign” Failed (And How to Fix It)

by | BiggerPockets.com

So you tried Pay Per Click (PPC) and it was a disaster, huh?

You were paying like $10 per click and then most of those clicks left you high and dry, without even an email address to follow up with. First off: that’s not an uncommon experience.

For the most part, it’s not you – it’s Google. Second off: with a little of the right knowledge, you CAN make PPC work for you, and you don’t have to be an online marketing guru to get a good return on investment (ROI).

Now, when I say “it’s Google,” I’m not saying they make it difficult on purpose. It’s just a complicated system. No way around it. I’ve heard from a number of real estate investors that they would love to understand how to navigate AdWords and turn PPC into a valuable marketing option, so this is the first in a three-part series where I’ll break it down for you and show you how to do that.

How to Use PPC Advertisement in Real Estate

  • Today: A quick overview of what AdWords is and how it works
  • Next week: 5 ad creation tips on how to maximize your cost per click (CPC)
  • The following week: How to navigate the many targeting options Google provides to make sure the RIGHT people are the ONLY people seeing your ads

Let’s get started!

What is Pay Per Click?

 Pay per click is an online ad marketing tool that lets you run web ads on Google and only PAY when someone CLICKS.

Easy enough, right? You pay per click. You know what these ads are, even if you don’t know it; they are in the red boxes and marked with the little yellow “Ad” icon…

postcardmania ppc 1

Related: How to Create a Google Plus Page for your Real Estate Business

Google’s PPC platform is called AdWords, and you will need an account to set up your PPC campaigns. It’s easy to sign up and it’s free, but you should wait until you are ready to actually launch a campaign to do so, because Google will want you to start a campaign right away. (You can always pause it later if you want to get started right now.)

Where Do These Ads Show Up?

When you purchase PPC ads through Google (which is highly advisable, as a huge majority of people use Google versus other search engines), this means that your PPC ads will show up in Google searches and across Google’s entire display network.

This is an EXPANSIVE network of millions of websites, many of them high-traffic. For example, CNN.com, HGTV.com, Discover.com, NYTimes.com are all part of Google’s network, along with many smaller, local websites as well.

(You can, of course, also narrow this huge network down to your correct target market, but we’ll get to that later on.)

How You Pay

PPC pricing is based off of a bidding model.

Basically, you enter a bid you are willing to pay for a particular keyword, like “we buy houses” or “I need to sell my house.” Google suggests a good place to start, but you can bid whatever you want. (Those numbers next to the keywords are just suggestions, I swear!)

Obviously, the higher you bid, the more often (and higher up on the page) your ad will appear. You search for these keywords in the Keyword Planner tool.

postcardmania ppc 2

The Types of PPC Ads

 There are 3 kinds of PPC ads.

1. Text Ads

These ads mostly show up along with Google’s search results. They can also show up on other websites if you want (but more on that in later articles).

Related: How to Systematize Your Business for FREE with Google

2. Display Ads

Display ads are visual banner ads. You see them all over the place. They can be on any site in Google’s Display Network, which is HUGE, like I said up above. These ads look like this…

postcardmania ppc 3

3. YouTube Ads

Youtube ads are the little text ads that show up on the bottom of the video when you are watching Charlie bite his brother’s finger.

postcardmania ppc 4

So that’s a brief introduction to AdWords. Hopefully you picked up a few tidbits that clarified how the system works. If you are still unclear about how AdWords functions, shoot me a question in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out!

And don’t forget to look for the next post in this series next week, wherein I’ll give you 5 tips on creating ads that maximize cost per click!

Be sure to leave your comments below!

About Author

Joy Gendusa (G+) is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a firm that specializes in direct mail marketing, and the author of the 95-Step Total Marketing Checklist. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from almost nothing—just a computer—to a $20 million enterprise in less than a decade.


  1. I look forward to reading your series Joy. I’ve had great success with going outside of Google by using other PPC networks. For example, the Microsoft ad network (Bing and Yahoo) has less competition and as a result, low costs. They don’t receive as much traffic as Google’s network but still offers the volume I desire. Thanks again!

        • Jeff Brown

          Just beginning, Joy. Not using the DIY approach, as I worked to hard for the money. 😉 I’m not doing it for my side of the business. I’m testing it on the side my son runs, the housing side of my brokerage, limited to one market. I’ll have a handle on results by Labor Day or so.

    • Matt, are you speaking from experience? If so, it’s a shame you had that experience with PPC! We have a PPC budget of about $20,000 weekly and get more than enough ROI from that to justify the cost. It definitely works, it just takes, well, work!

  2. Darren Sager
    Darren Sager on

    Thanks for the article Joy! I believe PPC is very effective for marketing provided that you’re running your campaign like a direct response marketer. You need to track every click through to see which ones become leads and get rid of the ones that are duds. When you get really good at it, you’ll track your performance by time and day, as well as message, to see when and where you should be advertising to create your overall lowest CPL (cost per lead). Those who do not track their clicks will never learn, overspend, and get beat out by all those who do.

    • Darren, VERY good points! PPC takes work but the pay off is definitely worth the upkeep. Sounds like you might be an aficionado. Hope you’ll read the next parts in the series and contribute any advice you might have as well.

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