Search advertising is growing in South Africa. The move you make now can help you meet your agency goals and get ahead of your competition. Last week, you successfully set up your Google ads account. Now comes the exciting part. You’re ready to launch your first advert.


Recap: What are search ads?

These are text-based adverts that appear when someone searches for a related product or service on Google. For example, when you google “Homes for sale Westville”, here’s a search advert that is displayed:

Search Ads

As you can see, search adverts look a lot like organic search results. They also appear right at the top of a search. When a prospective buyer or renter is looking for a property, they may click on an effective advert instead of exploring the rest of the search results. At the moment, Google only distinguishes adverts with a small green “Ad” label on them.

Why use search adverts?

Search adverts seem simple. However, they’re a potent way to get your real estate listings and services in front of the people that may need them. Here are some benefits of search adverts you’ll love:

Visibility: Optimising your website takes a lot of effort. Even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll appear at the top of a relevant search. Search adverts can get you where you need to be.

Easy to write: Search adverts require a limited amount of copy. If you’re not comfortable writing or lack the time, this helps you get exposure without much of a hassle.

Quick results: Forget about newspaper classifieds. You can create an advert in minutes and have it approved within one business day.

Options: Your real estate agency has objectives. Search adverts can help drive traffic to your website, get you leads and ultimately increase concluded deals.

Control: Search adverts give you so much flexibility. You can change your advert at any time, anywhere. You can create different versions of the same advert to find the winning version. You can set your budget so you don’t overspend. You can even choose the location of your advert and its intended audience.

Reporting: You can track how well your advert is performing. In real time, you can make adjustments to help them do better.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Google is always enhancing its product features to make the advertising process easier and more effective for your business.


How do search ads work?

Once your advert is up, you only pay each time your advert is clicked. This is known as “pay per click” or PPC. Clicking your advert could take them to your website or have them call your real estate agency.

When you create your advert, you will choose keywords that a searcher might use on Google. When they search using these keywords, your advert will appear in their results.

Remember, you’re not the only real estate agency around. Because your competition often has similar offerings, they’ll be selecting the same keywords. To have your advert appear at all, you’ll have to bid against them for the amount you’re willing to pay Google Ads when someone clicks your advert. This has an upside: The more you pay per click, the likely it is that your advert will appear in those search results.

When your advert appears in search results, it will be placed alongside your competitors. The rank is determined by the quality of your adverts, keywords, and landing pages. A higher quality advert can lead to lower prices and better advert positions. That’s why you need to take care when creating them.


PRO MOVE - You might not have the time or the expertise to run an effective search advert campaign. That’s okay. You can enlist the help of a professional. The right team can set up your campaigns, write killer copy that brings in the leads and track your adverts. They can also provide you with reports to show you how your adverts are performing.


Post your search advert

You know the use of search adverts and how they work. Be confident and create your first advert with these basic steps.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click “Campaigns” on the page menu.
  3. Click the plus button and select “New campaign”.
  4. Select “Search” as your campaign type.
  5. Select the ways you'd like to reach your goal.
  6. Pick your campaign settings. This includes your advert location, audience preferences, your budget and bidding.
  7. Save and continue.

It might seem a bit intimidating. Rest assured, you can edit or delete your advert when you like.


Best Practices

You don’t just want to create search adverts. You want to conquer with them. Here are some tips to help you make the most of them.

Scheduling your advert

  • Pick the time your audience is likely to be searching. For example, picking a time after 4 pm or 5 pm can help you target those searching after work.

Writing your advert

  • Showcase the best features of your agency, listings or services
  • Use persuasive language
  • Include the keywords your audience is looking for. You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner for help
  • Use negative keywords to prevent your advert from being shown to the wrong person
  • Proofread your advert to prevent embarrassing mistakes
  • Don’t forget a strong call to action

Monitoring your advert

  • Update it when listings are sold or prices change
  • Keep testing your advert to get better results
  • Create a similar advert so you can compare performances


Although it will take experience to master, Google search ads are easy to get started with. You can be up and driving targeted traffic to your website very quickly. Start experimenting and analysing performance before moving onto image ads.

Next up: Image Ads