How not to waste money with Google Ads. Tips for housebuilders using Google Ads

Google ads have proven to be an excellent way to drive interested people to your New Homes website.

There are so many benefits, including the fact that they are pretty much instant and can start driving traffic straight away to you product or service. However there are as many pitfalls as there are benefits. Here we try and guide you through some of the common mistakes that we see many house builders make, and how you might avoid them.

Mistake number one we see is that many pages the user lands on from a Google Ad is just a generic page that is not really in tune with the advert or the original search intent or even worse is just completely irrelevant to the original search.

Another mistake we see is that not enough thought goes into what is trying to be accomplished. We would always advise thinking about the desired outcome before anything else. Once you know what you are trying to achieve, everything else should fall into place.

With New Homes developments the main things you would want to accomplish would be for the website visitor to:

  1. Arrange an Appointment (form or phone call*)
  2. Register Interest (useful if homes are in development stage)
  3. Request further Information
  4. Sign up for email updates
  5. Download a Brochure

(With 1 being most desirable. We would suggest using a phone number that is specifically trackable from the website if possible, as this allows you to track your Return on Investment ROI)

So it stands to reason that the page the user lands on from your Google advert should have a mixture of these actions that a user can take. Then based on what action the user chooses, you are then in a good position to judge the level of interest.

For example someone arranging an appointment for a viewing, is at this stage, higher value than someone who just wants to download a brochure.

The video below shows us doing a search for “New homes in Yateley” which is where I currently live.

In total there were seven adverts being shown. Four at the top of the page and three at the bottom. Although in the video I click on all seven adverts, in reality most people click on the top three, with the ad in position 1 taking the majority of the clicks.

Out of the seven adverts

  • Two were completely irrelevant to what I was searching for
  • One was rather generic and did not really give me what I was looking for, although might work for some people
  • One might have been OK if I was happy to look further than my intention
  • The other three were much better and were relevant

Conclusions

Put yourself in the shoes of the user and think about what they are searching for, and make sure the page they land on is clear and understandable. Also make sure it’s clear to the user at to what to do next, whatever their current position is. If they make an  appointment that’s great…but also cater for if they are not at that stage.

Above all, get your strategy right, keep an eye on results, and stop wasting your money on poor implementation.

Video transcript

So as you can see here, I’ve done a search for new homes for sale in Yateley, which is where I live, so you would think my intention is to look for, to move to a new home.

We’ve come up with a number of adverts. You’ve got four at the top here, and you’ll also see we have four, sorry, three at the bottom. So let’s just open up some of these adverts. We’ll open them up in new tabs, and then let’s just go through each ad and see how relevant they are to what we’re actually looking for.

Okay. So the first one is from Crest Nicholson, and it is a new development, which is coming soon. It’s called Fernhurst, in a place called Hawley. That is relevant. That is very close to where I live. I would potentially be interested in that, and you can see they’ve already, I’ve got a phone number here, or they’ve got a Register Interest button here. So we could click on the Register Interest, fill out all of our details, and I guess when that probably has some information, we would hear about it. Let’s move on to the next one.

So, Bloor Homes, this is Sandhurst Gardens, High Street. Again, this is very relevant to me. It’s literally a mile or two down the road from where I live, and they’ve given me all the options here, for what I want to do. So these are existing new homes that are ready to be moved into, so I can arrange an appointment to go there, request some information, download the brochure, and so on.

Again, that is very relevant, and they’ve just put down here a few other homes, which, I’m presuming, is in locations … I don’t know, these are the actual homes themselves on the development. You’ve got the site plan, and the actual location, and some facilities around where the places are. So this page is very good. It gives me everything I would need to know on one page.

You can see the arranging point has come back up here at the top. So, yeah, overall, that’s very good.

This one is What Homes. Not totally 100% relevant to me, because it’s not showing me anything to do with homes in the town that I live. It’s basically asking me to do another search, but this is a generic kind of website, which will be promoting homes from a number of house builders. Hence, all the logos here.

So it’s more, sort of like, confusethemarket.com for new homes, I guess, so you can search, basically, what’s happening in the UK. So, I’ve got a work to here. I’d have to put in my postcode or my town, and see if anything actually comes up. So, although not the worst case scenario, it’s not the best.

Next we got Barwood Homes. I don’t know where that is, so let’s have a look down. Oh, it’s in Oxfordshire, so this is miles from where I live. It’s completely not relevant, even at the top hit, and it didn’t really give me any indication as to where the homes were. I can’t see anything up here, it’s not giving me an address or a town or anything.

They do have booking appointments, so these are established new homes that are ready to move into, and make an inquiry. So, overall, not relevant at all, and that’s a wasted click, as far as I’m concerned, because I don’t, I’m not interested in looking there.

Next one, David Wilson Homes. Time to upgrade, with 100% client exchange? Well, this isn’t showing me any homes in my location at all. In fact, it’s asking me to put in my postcode, or location here, so I’m guessing, they don’t actually have any homes in my location. So, again, it’s after me to do a little bit of the work here.

We will actually type something in here. Here we go, Yateley. Okay, well, I don’t know why it didn’t show me this in the beginning. However, these aren’t really … even though they’re near, they’re not in my town. They’re not in the, what I would call the close vicinity. That’s a fair few miles down the road, as is Hook, and there, we’re going into Reading, which is even further away. So you can see the actual mileage away.

If you’re really not too bothered where you wanted to live, you might be interested, but it might be a bit of a waste of an ad, truth be told on that one.

Next one? Well, it’s asking me if I’ve found everything I needed, and I haven’t even looked yet. So I’m not quite sure why that pop-up’s coming up, so let’s just get rid of that. This is really poor, this cookie thing right at the top. It’s hiding the navigation straightaway. It’s quite intrusive on what I’m looking for. I don’t even know where these are. I don’t even know the company or anything.

Okay, so, Graven Hill. I don’t even know where Graven Hill is. Or Graven Hill is the name of the builder. Oh, okay, here we go, some properties here. And still, I do not know where these are. Graven Hill. Where is Graven Hill? Well, I’d be gone by now, if I wasn’t looking at this from a point of view of, where are these things?

Oh, Bicester, here we go. Finally, we’ve found it’s in Bicester. That is absolutely miles away, completely irrelevant to anything I’m looking for, complete waste of money on the advert there.

And the last one, Bellway Homes? Okay, this is good, so they’ve taken me directly to a page, or a development called Forest Chase, in Yateley, in Hampshire. So I can straightaway see what I need to know. Is it in my price range, yes or no? So, yeah, it’s taken me to the right place.

The only thing I would say is, probably make a little bit more of the actions here. Just the word “brochure” isn’t great. Under Request Information, we’ve got a small phone number here. You probably want to make that a little bit more obvious. I was drawn over here first, and into the picture, and then I found this, all this here. You probably wanted something else on the page, to get you to go there. So they’ve got all the other right stuff on there. We got the map on there.

So, overall, okay, and at least it’s giving me the properties in the right place. So that just gives you a bit of an idea on ads that are working. If we go back to the ads here, we see the … we got new homes in Yateley, and Crest Nicholson. Let’s go back to there.

And Crest Nicholson basically is, it had the place in Hawley. So, not 100% totally right, but near enough that I would be interested.

Bloor Homes, which was this one, yes, that is absolutely in the right place. So we would go and have a look at that. It’s a shame, they don’t actually put in the word “Yateley” in here, so it would make me want to click through on that one, as well. The other thing is, I’ve noticed that the phone number here, 750-701, is different than the phone number here.

So make sure that whatever you’re putting in the advert here is reflected in the page that you’re actually going to click onto. So it sends confusing messages, and I don’t know how these numbers are tracked either. So I would want to know, if the phone numbers rang, where that actual, where that actually came from. Now, it may be that that number is a tracking number, and that is the legal number, but it could be confusing for some people.

This one here was the generic one, the What House one, so we clicked on there, and then, actually, we had to a little bit of a search ourselves, which we didn’t do. This one here, okay, so it’s got Oxfordshire Village in there. Why it’s coming up there, I don’t know. I haven’t searched for Ock anywhere in Oxford, and it’s just a waste of time and money.

Let’s go back down here. We then had David Wilson Homes, okay? So that was this one, and we’ve had to actually to do a search, and what we ended up finding, actually, was there wasn’t any homes in Yateley. They just tried to get us to get into their website, do a search and hope we might be interested in moving somewhere else.

Now that might be relevant to some people. Maybe they’re not too fussy about a new home in their specific town. But I would have thought, if you put a specific town name, then you probably want to actually look at houses in that town.

We then had Graven Hill, “The most exciting new homes in the UK.” Well, only if you want to go and live somewhere completely different. This is, it just isn’t very good. It doesn’t tell me at all where it is. So this is probably the worst data out of the whole lot, because at least, even though this wasn’t relevant to us, it did say Oxfordshire in there. So I might have chosen not to click on that.

But this one here, I have no idea. So I’d click on it anyway, and that really would be the worst case scenario is that you’re getting loads of people coming through to your website, you’re spending lots of money on clicks, and many, many of them will not be interested.

Then we have this one here, New Homes in Yateley, that’s perfect. So we, I know it’s in Yateley. It’s a new development that’s just launched, so it’s available, two to five beds, and it was in Yateley, so it gives me everything that I need to know there. So that ad is absolutely fine. They just need to work out how they can get up here, in the top, so this is a prime position on the website, when you do a search.

The only thing they probably could do there, and it may be different in mobile, it could probably give their phone number there.

Anyway, that’s a little roundup of just doing one search in Google, and the kind of results you’re getting, and some of the things that you’ve, should really look out for to make sure you’re not wasting money.

At the end of the day, why have people coming to your, paying your ad, coming to your site, and just not being interested? Hope that makes sense.

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If for any reason you don’t have the time or resources to implement any of the ideas in the guide, then please feel free to reach out to us. We would love to schedule a 15 minute exploratory chat with you to find out if you would be a good fit for our services.