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Landlord’s Guide to Paid Rental Advertising

by Nathan Zachary

So you want to spread the word about your rentals. Where do you start?

There are many digital and traditional ways to market your properties. From old-school yard signs to sophisticated digital tools like rental property listing syndication, your advertising options can easily eat away your time and resources.

Paid ads are one way to ensure your properties receive enough attention and visibility. You can locate paid ads on most rental listing sites, where they receive higher priority or appear more prominently on the screen.

Before you invest in paid advertising, be sure to investigate free options. There are many ways to advertise your listings at no cost and still successfully fill your units. However, if you have the funds and think they will get you better exposure or reach, paid ads might be a lucrative choice.

This article will cover the basics of marketing your rentals with paid ads.

What is Paid Advertising?

Paid advertising is a marketing option used to attract higher internet traffic. You pay a social networking site or listing platform for certain privileges, such as more prominent placement of your ads or longer exposure.

Paid ads are typically more efficient than organic ones because they are integrated closely with the platform and therefore can reach a precise audience at specific times.

Pricing for these ads varies. Paid ads sometimes use pay-per-click (PPC) pricing, meaning you pay a certain rate each time a user clicks on your ad. Other platforms charge flat fees by the day or week.

Advertising Scenario

Imagine that you just started a business and decided to create a Facebook account to market your new product. It’s free to do so, and Facebook’s tools allow you to generate leads organically by posting regular content, showcasing your product, and engaging with customers. However, your account struggles to secure followers, and your products still have little exposure.

In this case, you might decide to purchase a paid ad so that Facebook can help you market more efficiently. You give Facebook a budget of how much you’re willing to spend per week or month. You then designate what the ad will look like and when it will appear. Over time, you track its performance and evaluate its efficiency based on how many new leads you acquire.

Marketing your rentals with paid ads works much the same way. It’s free to post at least one listing on most popular sites, but paid ads give your rentals higher priority in search results and ultimately a better chance of attracting clicks from renters.

Where Can You Advertise?

Many top real estate listing sites offer paid advertising. For example, on Zillow Rental Manager, listings after your first one cost $9.99 per week. The site also offers a lead guarantee—if your listings don’t generate a lead after one week, Zillow won’t charge you until you do (up to eight weeks).

On Apartments.com, paid ads appear first, before any other rental listings. You can also upgrade your Apartments.com listing to Premium. Premium listings have ten times more exposure, higher placement, and are physically bigger. They also include syndication with all the site’s affiliates, Realtor.com and Doorsteps.com. Prices vary by state and market.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Paid Advertising

If you want renters to see your properties before anyone else’s, paid advertising might be an excellent investment. Paid ads draw more attention to your properties and reach more people quicker. You can also use performance metrics such as cost-per-click, impressions, conversions, and cost-per-conversion, to precisely track the effectiveness of your ad. Then, learn from the data and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Other benefits include quick results and the ability to target specific types of renters.

However, paid ads are not for every landlord. They can be costly if you have several vacant units to advertise, especially if you’re trying to save money while you aren’t collecting rent. In many cases, free listings work just as well as paid ones without the additional fees.

The choice between paid and free advertising should depend on how much you’re willing to budget, your current priorities, and your success in marketing your properties organically.

Rental Advertising: Should You Pay?

Paid ads are one resource you can use to get ahead of your competitors in your search for highly qualified renters. However, you don’t need them to succeed as a landlord. Combined with real estate knowledge, experience, and research, your marketing strategy can succeed regardless of how much you paid for it.

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