How to Tell If My Real Estate PPC Campaign Is Working – Setting Up Conversion Tracking

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A client of ours reached out and had dropped $5,000 in Google Adwords costs over a few months on a campaign he was managing himself, but it wasn’t performing like he hoped and he had no clue what parts of his PPC marketing were working and what parts were costing him money.

In this post we’ll walk through the simple action we had him take that turned things around from $5k in losses to over $30k in profits… and the #1 mistake most newbie PPC marketers make that prevents you from knowing if your PPC marketing is working for your real estate investing business.

I get asked this question all of the time…

How do I know which keywords and ads are generating leads?

If you don’t have the proper recording sources and/or analytic tools in place, you won’t know.  AdWords campaigns will become a frustrating guessing game that may potentially drain your budget.

I also hear that AdWords is just an expensive waste of time and won’t generate leads.  Sure, that may be true…if campaigns are not created using an optimized campaign structure.  If your PPC campaign is optimized, chances are you’ll be in the right position to be successful.

PPC management can test the skills and patience of even the most experienced ad managers.  You may be thinking, “My campaign is doing OK right now,”

But if you take a deeper look…

  • Is it as effective as it can be?
  • Is it efficient and structured in a way that isn’t a confusing mess?
  • Are you continuously enhancing your return on ad spend?
  • Are you data tracking keywords and ads?

Without proper tracking of data, it will be difficult to know if your PPC campaign is working.

3 Tactics You Can Use In Order To Ensure That You KNOW Which PPC Marketing Ads / Keywords Are Making You Money And Which Ones Are Losing You Money

Is PPC Good For My Real Estate Investor Business?

How do you know?  Here are a few of the ways you can track your conversions so you know without a shadow of a doubt that your money is being invested wisely and not just thrown down into a black hole.

PPC Tracking Tactic #1: AdWords (Conversion Tag) 


Really a no-brainer is to set up your campaign using the AdWords conversion tag.  Without implementing this tag on your site, you’re basically measuring keyword and ad effectiveness with a gut feeling.

You or your account manager must know how a searcher landed on your site and what happened after they clicked on your ad. Did they fill in your lead form? Which keyword, ad and/or ad group triggered the conversion?  Those are questions that will help you build and maintain a quality AdWords campaign.

Here’s an example of an AdWords campaign that does not use the AdWords conversion tracking tag.  It’s not that the Investor chooses not to, it’s because they choose to use a different company to host their website.  This “other” web service doesn’t allow them to place a conversion tag on their site. InvestorCarrot websites are built with the high achieving investor in mind and make it crazy easy to add your conversion tracking tags.

You can see there has been $2599 spent on 372 clicks and 0 conversions.

But…that’s not true.   There’s actually been 48 conversions (this Investor keeps track of conversions using their own system)… $54 per motivated house seller lead! Not too shabby.  But as the account manager, I have no idea which keywords have lead to those 48 leads.  We’re blindly leading the ship.

A Google PPC Campaign Without Conversion Tracking = Throwing Darts Blindfolded

Carrot-Post-9-compressor (1)

This is what a campaigns keywords should looks like when the AdWords conversion tag is properly implemented.  An account manager know exactly what keywords need to be adjusted and tested.

A Google PPC Campaign Using Conversion Tracking = Strategic ROI Based Marketing



The benefits of recording data, you will know which ads, placements and keywords lead to conversions and are worth bidding on.  You’ll also know the reverse, which ad, placements and keywords to pause.

Pros and Cons Of This Tracking Method:

  • Pro: Helps you find exactly which ads, keywords, and ad groups are performing the best and worst so you can make smart decisions to drive up your return on investment
  • Con: It doesn’t show you exactly which leads converted with which ads / keywords

Be sure to create a conversion tracking tag for your PPC leads.

For Carrot members, you can place a conversion tracking tag on your “step-2” page to ensure tracking on all potential clients who have filled out one of your website forms.  Tags allow you to definitively know when traffic has come from your PPC campaign… vs from SEO, direct mail, etc… it also helps you drill down on exactly which keywords are producing you profitable leads and which ones aren’t.

You can use the Google Tag Assistant to double check the tag is reading your step-2 page.



PPC Tracking Tactic #2: Google Analytics

First…You’ll need to link your AdWords account to your Google Analytics.  While you will be able to track conversions in Analytics, you won’t be able to know for certain which keyword or ad generated the click.  This really isn’t the best way to monitor the performance of your PPC campaign, but can be used to track overall lead volume.


Pros and Cons Of This Tracking Method:

  • Pro: Gives you great aggregate data on the performance of your Adwords campaigns
  • Con: It doesn’t let you drill down too far into specific ads or in some cases specific keywords either, and doesn’t tell you exactly which leads came from where.

PPC Tracking Tactic #3: The InvestorCarrot Lead Source Feature

Similar to the information in Analytics, InvestorCarrot members can see which traffic source generated the lead, but again not a specific ad or keyword.

The Lead Source Tracking is automatically tracked for every single lead that comes into an InvestorCarrot site… so you don’t have to do a darn thing to turn it on. Just head to view your leads and it’s right there

To find this info, just login to your Carrot site, go to view your leads. We’re currently working on a massive upgrade that will give a lot more power and functionality to Campaign Tracking within your InvestorCarrot site. Keep an eye out for that release this spring!

InvestorCarrot Lead Source Tracking Built Right Into All Of Our Websites


Pros and Cons Of This Tracking Method:

  • Pro: Let’s you see exactly where each lead came from so you can track the true profitability of your marketing. This combined with the Adwords Conversion Tracking tag are the ideal setup that’ll give you the full picture.
  • Con: This tracking doesn’t give you any data about the specific ad that drove the lead.

How To Be Sure You’re Running a Quality PPC Campaign to Put Your Ads in the Right Position for Success: Here’s How

To measure the effectiveness of your advertising campaign, you should monitor your investor transactions whether buyer or seller, as well as keeping track of new customers, requests for information leads, phone inquiries and even organic web-site traffic.

Here are some ideas that will help you not only determine the effectiveness of your ads, but will also give you some new marketing ideas.

Some More PPC Marketing Optimization Tips

1. Compare your sales before, during and after your ad campaign.

Keep in mind that internet advertising often has a delayed effect and can then grow steadily.

Transactions that result from your ads may not take place immediately so be patient. 

2. Use a dedicated phone number to track inquires.  

Be sure to create a phone call conversion tag for AdWords or other internet marketing options.  Tags make it easy to positively identify and track phone leads.

3. Here’s several more that will help squeeze out that extra profit and return on investment… 

  • Set a PPC goal.  This could be the number of leads per week or month or even a cost per lead target amount.  Whatever it is, though, write it down and constantly measure it.
  • Keep your campaign organized.  A messy campaign can cause confusion, waste spend and ultimately leave you unmotivated.
  • Target the right keywords and limit the number of keywords.  Yes, you can have too many.  The sound of 4000 keywords might sound appealing.  However, having too many keywords can lead to confusion and actually harm your campaign.  Unless you are willing to create ad groups and ad text based around each keyword, AdWords potentially won’t give you a high enough quality score for ads to show in the highly regarded top three ad spots (41% of clicks come from the top 3 spots). You can also be wasting spend due to higher click costs and possible clicks from unrelated searchers.
  • Creating compelling ad copy.  Make a searcher want to click your ad. Read our blog post here where we write about that.
  • Testing…testing.  Create numerous ads and be sure to test them in order to figure out which ones are more attractive.  Even minor changes, such as removing or adding a word in the ad headline, can make all the difference.
  • Use quality landing pages. Landing page experience refers to relevant, useful and original content is. [How City Specific Landing Pages help you get more traffic]
    Landing pages must offer trustworthiness and be easy for customers to navigate.  It also requires a quick loading page time and encourages customers to spend time on your site.
  • Make sure your call to action is clear.  Tell the searcher what to do.  Don’t make them guess.
  • Put the focus on your potential motivated seller or buyer lead.  Let them know why you’re better than the competition.
  • Always implement a conversion tracking tag.  Yes, you might be able to track lead sources, but if you’re looking at your AdWords account, you won’t be able to tell which keywords and ads are generating ROI.  It will become a guessing game as to which keywords to potentially pause and which to be more aggressive with.

Reasons Why You Should Start Conversion Tracking Today

You must start to gain insight into what’s working within your campaign.  Without that knowledge, your AdWords campaign won’t be completely optimized.  This will limit you from being able to make the necessary changes to attract more leads.

You’ll also be able to improve your ROI.

Clicks are not valuable unless they are converting into leads that turn into profitable deals over time.

Tracking will allow you to reduce wasted ad spend, gain quality clicks, and therefore improve ROI.

With the data gathered from tracking, you’ll be able to perform better test on your campaigns and grow them to get even more conversions.

Don’t Spend Another Dime On PPC If You Don’t Have Layers Of Conversion Tracking In Place (I urge you)

Once we had our client turn on conversion tracking he was quickly able to see which ads and keywords were a complete waste of money and which ones were bringing him solid leads. He trimmed off the stuff that wasn’t effective and ramped up the stuff that was. Within 4 months he closed several deals that have so far brought in over $30,000.

Without the tracking in place he possibly would have still closed those deals… but his profit on those deals would be far less because of the wasted marketing dollars he was spending before he had tracking in place.

Tracking is essential… not just a “luxury”.

So implement the Google Conversion Tag + make sure you’re using a website system that helps you track your leads and tell you where each lead came from. That information alone could save you tens of thousands of dollars per year.

There are a lot of factors including time of the year, state of the economy and the geographic location, which can make it difficult to accurately measure the success of your ads if you don’t use the proper tracking techniques.

Compare the before and after advertising traffic from your InvestorCarrot website. Also, your PPC manager should be able to provide you with daily, weekly and/or monthly PPC reports.

You can also be proactive.  When talking with your leads, don’t forget to ask them the obvious question.

How did they find your website?

PPC might not be a cost effective alternative in very competitive markets unless you can ensure a large enough marketing budget, or be willing to limit your amount of traffic if you’re using Bing… but either way… putting in place what you learned in this blog post is essential in competitive markets. Let your PPC be a great compliment to your SEO campaign.

PPC data tracking is one of the most important parts of your PPC campaign. If this sound like too much work or is terribly confusing…outsource your PPC to us in our Carrot Marketplace

Interested in switching to InvestorCarrot so you can take a hold of your online marketing once and for all and ramp up your ROI? Awesome! Take a demo and reach out if you have any questions!

The Top PPC Keywords Download

What PPC Keywords For Motivated House Sellers Net The Highest ROI? Our Analysis…

We analyzed over 3 million PPC search terms and nearly 5,500 house seller leads to find the 800 highest profit motivated seller keywords.

View The PPC Keywords Now

Question… if you’re doing any paid marketing… are you using conversion tracking? Let me know below in the comments section!

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2 Responses to “How to Tell If My Real Estate PPC Campaign Is Working – Setting Up Conversion Tracking”

  1. elpen

    Great stuff, nice to see some PPC articles. Adwords mostly I wouldnt do bing unless you got money to blow lol.

    • Trevor Mauch Trevor Mauch

      Elpen! Man, you’d be surprised about Bing… we generate leads and clients through Bing on a consistent basis. The lead volume is much lower… but if you spend a bit of time to get your bing campaign launched and refined… sometimes you can let it run and set your budget low. Don’t discount it… there are leads in there.


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