How Do Apartment PPC Ads Stack Up Against Internet Listing Services?


Person typing on a laptop with the Google homepage showing on the screen

For the past decade, marketers in the apartment industry have relied on Internet Listing Services to advertise their communities. But as more and more studies reveal the power of PPC campaigns, many industry pros are rethinking their apartment marketing strategies and retooling their advertising arsenal. To give you a breakdown of how PPC differs from ILS, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions so you can decide which approach is best for you.


What is PPC?


PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, is an internet advertising model in which advertisers only pay for ads when they are clicked. The cost for each of these clicks is determined by an automated bidding system, where advertisers set the maximum price they’re willing to pay for each bid and only have to outbid the competition in order to place an ad. Oftentimes, what the advertiser pays is less than the maximum bid.


On search engines like Google, users see PPC ads based on their search phrase. For example, if the search phrase “Apartments in Philadelphia” is entered into Google, apartment companies with communities in Philadelphia will increase the price they’re willing to pay for a click in order to maximize their visibility to the user.


Where do PPC Ads Appear in Search?


Unlike coveted “organic” listings, which cannot be purchased because they’re naturally selected by Google’s proprietary algorithm, it’s relatively easy to buy top PPC ads in Google. And because the top-performing paid ads appear above the organic results, PPC ads are a great way to increase your community’s visibility in Google.


Although PPC ads guarantee a placement that’s distinguishable from organic results, it should be noted that other factors determine the ad’s overall placement. Ads that offer a higher bid price, for example, will likely appear above ads that offer a lower bid price.


What Advantages Do Apartment PPC Ads Have Over Internet Listing Services?


PPC ads are superior to your typical ILS in two ways. The first way concerns the overall user experience and effectiveness. The second way concerns performance.


User Experience & Effectiveness


Online marketing professionals unanimously agree that it’s best to get lead prospects to your landing pages as quickly as possible. Successful apartment PPC ads are guaranteed to deliver search engine users to your apartment websites quicker than Internet Listing Services.


To understand why this is the case, consider an instance when a Google search for “Pet-friendly apartments in Philadelphia” returns both a PPC ad result and an ILS result. If the user clicks on the ILS result, they are transported to a category page that displays all pet-friendly Philadelphia property listings that have a contract with the ILS. The user must then click again to see a single property’s page. This is vastly different from apartment PPC ads, which transport users directly to your property website.




Consider the overall design of a typical ILS. Not only do most ILS landing pages immediately confront each user with an array of property options, but most also display competing properties on your community’s designated page under the “Similar Listings” section. Therefore, Internet Listing Services can sometimes direct the user to a competitor’s listing instead of yours!


Are PPC Ads as Easy to Use as Internet Listing Services?


While the advantages of apartment PPC ads are quite clear, ease-of-use is sometimes a barrier to adoption. Specifically, navigating spend and bidding strategies may seem too complex and daunting to take on. Thankfully, for apartment marketers who want to maximize their ROI on marketing spend by using PPC over ILS, there are options out there – including agencies and apartment marketing vendors like Respage. 


With Respage apartment PPC services, you get a custom, consultative agency approach without the agency prices. We do all the legwork to establish high-performing campaigns that deliver results quickly. Our dashboard provides full transparency and visibility into ad impressions, average cost per click, click-through rate, conversions, and more. And perhaps most importantly, you can track signed leases back to specific leads and learn where your marketing dollars are having the biggest impact. 


Talk to us and learn how we can help you boost your apartment lead generation!



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