Google Adwords and Analytics for Real Estate

On the Help-U-Sell Power Hour today, Ron McCoy talked with the group about the importance of monitoring website performance using Google Analytics.  It’s a fairly simple process to set up, especially for Help-U-Sell brokers who have an easy to use field in their website back-end for the Google code and a tech support team to help.

What Google Analytics will tell you is:  how many visitors find your website over a given time, how many pages they visit, how long they stay, where they came from (location and referrer), and so on.  It’s great information that can help you evaluate and upgrade your website.

Once it’s set up and running, once the website is localized and optimized,  Analytics is great for monitoring the effectiveness of your marketing.  In today’s online universe, much of your marketing should drive consumers to your website.  If that’s the intent of a marketing piece, you should see a spike in visitors when it runs.

I look at Analytics for The Set Fee Blog every day.  Day in – day out, the numbers are fairly consistent.  My traffic goes down a bit when I go through a dry spell and don’t post for days.  It goes up a bit when I post something that strikes a chord with readers and they share it with others.  But I can also see increases when I market the blog.

I ran a campaign a couple of weeks ago using Facebook Ads.  For $100 (I’m on a budget!), a little side panel ad questioning why real estate commissions are so high appeared on the Facebook pages of consumers who have expressed an interest in real estate.  The ad made about 300,000 impressions and garnered about 100 ‘clicks.’

Analytics for the period showed a nice jump in visitors, page views and time on site.  Of course those 100 people were in the mix, but so were all the people with whom they shared the specific post I linked the ad to:  Real Estate Commissions Revisited.  My Analytics traffic was up enough to convince me (once again) that a few hundred dollars tossed at Facebook Ads once in awhile is well worth the expense!

Here’s an idea for you.  You probably have a card or coupon for $100 worth of free Google AdWords in your desk drawer or in your email.  I say probably because I have several just because I have a real estate license and a corporation.  If you don’t have one, just call Google or send them a request for one (they give them away like candy).  Tell them you want to evaluate the effectiveness of AdWords in driving traffic to your website and they’ll give you the credit.

Then decide what kind of traffic you want, buyers or sellers.  Me?  I want sellers because listings are what’s in demand in my marketplace.  But that’s a problem, too, because I really don’t have a good seller capture page on my website.  So I need to work with Robbie and Peter in Sarasota to build that page.  It ought to look like an ETM . . . OR, hey, maybe it should look like THIS , but including a contact form, too.  The page ought to tell what I do for sellers and include testimonials from happy customers.  Once that’s done I will have a page to drive sellers to.

Now I can go to Google AdWords and create an ad.  But what should I advertise?  Hmmm.  How about:  ‘How to sell your San Diego home and save thousands’ or something similar.  Since you have $100 to spend, set the budget at something like $12 a day – that will get you about a week’s worth of placement.  And then start watching Analytics.  Do you see an increase in traffic to that landing page?  Now, check your own office analytics (your incoming call/inquiry logs):  of the traffic that gets to your landing page, how many actually contact your office.

This little exercise will not only get you familiar with Google Analytics, it will also help you evaluate the value of Google Adwords.

As an aside, given my limited experience, I like Facebook Ads a little better than Google AdWords because their targeting mechanism seems more detailed and precise.  But, to my knowledge, Facebook isn’t routinely giving away $100 of Ad credit and Google is.  Since this is a test and a learning experience, why not do it as cheaply as possible?  If it works for you, then invest a couple hundred bucks in a Facebook campaign targeting people around your office and see how that performs on Analytics.