Best Advertising Methods
for Real Estate Professionals in Canada

WOWA Trusted and Transparent

Whether you’re a real estate agent, lawyer, mortgage broker, custom home builder, or home appraiser, having a successful and effective advertising strategy is crucial in helping to bring in new clients and to keep them engaged. From digital advertising, social media campaigns, online platforms, to traditional media, here are the best real estate ads and platforms for your next advertising campaign.

Advertisement Methods for Real Estate Agents

Digital Marketing

Google Ads and Facebook Ads are both online advertising platforms that are often used by real estate agents. The main difference between advertising on Google and on Facebook is that Google allows you to advertise to a custom audience that likely wants to have an action (e.g. purchase) whatever the keyword that you are targeting is. For example, you may decide to target the keyword "real estate agents”, which Google Ads would then display your ad to people who have searched for real estate agents or have been on websites about real estate agents.

Facebook Ads also allows you to have a targeted audience, but the main difference is that it is based more towards the demographics and behaviour of the users, and any interests that they have. For example, Facebook tracks the content of posts that you comment or like. Keywords are extracted from these posts, which can then be used by advertisers to target you.

Both Facebook and Google allow you to target based on life events. This may recognize the users’ main milestones such as marriage, graduation, or a new job or new place, which may help you to target a more related group. For example, someone that is behaving like they are moving soon might be looking for a mortgage or looking to purchase a new home.

One benefit that Facebook Ads has is users can engage with your ad. Likes and comments on your ad can help make your ad seem authentic and genuine by providing traction and social proof, while users sharing your ad can help with your ad’s organic reach.

However, both Google Ads and Facebook Ads have targeting restrictions for real estate agents and real estate broker ads. Certain targeting for mortgage broker and mortgage agent ads are also restricted. You won't be able to target users by age, parental status, gender, or by specific postal codes for any advertisements related to housing or real estate. Instead, you are encouraged to broaden your target audience. This can make your campaigns less effective. When using postal codes, you can only target using the first three characters (Forward Sortation Areas) of a postal code, such as K1A or M5V.

When advertising on Google or Facebook, you will be competing with other advertisers for ad spaces. You can bid by cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM). More competitive keywords will have a higher cost, but a more specific keyword might result in better quality traffic compared to a general or broad keyword.

Retargeting, known as remarketing with Google Ads, is a powerful strategy that targets users that have visited your website or interacted with your brand. This might be from them signing up for a mailing list or liking your Facebook page. Since they are already interested in your services, displaying ads to these warm users can be more effective than to a cold audience.

Search Engine Marketing vs Display Ads

Google Ads offers search ads and display ads. Search ads are shown on search result pages, while display ads are shown on websites and Google services, such as Youtube video ads and Gmail text ads. For Facebook Ads, display ads are shown on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and mobile apps part of Facebook’s Audience Network.

Search engines are ideal for real estate leads, since users searching for real estate services are probably looking for real estate services, but are just trying to find the right one to choose. Users seeing a display ad, such as a banner on a website, might not have been looking for your service in the first place, and they might not suddenly be interested in getting a mortgage or buying a home just from seeing your ad. Search ads are generally more expensive than display ads, but they usually have a higher click through rate (CTR).

Average Google Ads Costs - Real Estate Agents
Keyword Average Cost per Click (CPC)Average Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM)Click Through Rate (CTR)
Real Estate$0.47$5.601.2%
Real Estate Agents$2.20$30.701.4%
Best Real Estate Agents$10.15$184.201.8%
Source: Google Ads Keyword Planner ($30 daily budget for a 30-day campaign)

Downsides of Google and Facebook Ads

While Google and Facebook can be a way for real estate agents to get a lot of traffic and visibility, the problem that many agents face is that they can’t easily convert this traffic into customers and clients since in the end they need a very efficient landing page where users can contact the agents or provide their information. Visitors might decide not to provide their information, such as if they’re not interested with what they see on the landing page, or if the page has a lengthy lead generation form or bad design.

You’ll be paying per click or per ad view, but this won’t necessarily translate to leads. This means that your cost per acquisition (CPA) or cost per lead could in fact be unlimited, such as if you are getting plenty of ad clicks but no leads in return.

In order to advertise effectively, you will need to create a landing page that is optimized to convert traffic into leads. Facebook has integrated lead ads that pre-populates contact forms for the user to send to you, which makes a landing page not necessary, but you’re still paying for ad impressions whether they convert or not. Having a poorly written or designed ad can also hurt your conversion rate, which will drive up advertising costs, or if you are inexperienced, you will need to hire an advertising company to set up your campaign for you. This all adds costs, causes you to pay for traffic rather than leads, and takes up valuable time.

Real Estate Platforms

Rather than deal with the hassle of setting up ads, targeting, and optimizing your own website, many online real estate platforms allow you to place advertisements on their websites or will generate leads for you. Compared to Google or Facebook, where there are two steps (visitors sent to a landing page and another step for entering their contact information), real estate platforms combine this all into one single step.

Fivewalls, RankMyAgent, and WOWA are platforms that allow users to browse and search for real estate agents in their local area. Buyers and sellers looking to find a local real estate agent can easily find an agent, read their reviews and profile, and contact them all on the same page. WOWA.ca only charges a referral fee, which means that it is a risk-free way for real estate agents to obtain real estate leads. Fivewalls and RankMyAgent either have an initial fee or a monthly fee, with Fivewalls having an additional referral fee. Their monthly fees mean that you will be paying whether you are getting leads or not. The monthly traffic of these real estate agent platforms are compared below:

Real Estate Agent Platforms (April 2021)
WebsiteCost for AgentsMonthly Traffic
(Semrush Estimate)
Monthly Traffic
(Similarweb Estimate)
WOWA.caReferral Fee240,000380,000
FivewallsReferral Fee31,000N/A
RankMyAgentMonthly Fee41,00045,000
Source: Similarweb and SEMRush

Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising, such as through newspapers, radio, and billboards, are a way for you to get your brand out to a mass audience. While you will be able to reach a large audience for a fixed price, you might not be able to do as much targeting as you might otherwise be able to do with digital marketing. You will also be paying based on how many times your ad is estimated to be viewed, rather than being charged based on the actual number of people that interact with your ad. Billboards in rural areas can cost a few hundred dollars up to $1,500, while a billboard in very busy locations such as downtown Toronto can cost thousands per month.

For example, having a newspaper real estate ad in The Globe and Mail means that you will be paying to have your ad seen even to readers who aren’t interested in real estate or don’t even go to the page with your ad. Traditional advertising might not be cheaper either. The Global and Mail real estate ads in their 2021 Fall Real Estate report will cost $6,500 for a half page ad or $10,500 for a full page ad, with an estimated 300,000 impressions. At a $35 CPM, you will be paying just as much as Google Ads, but with no way to track how successful your ad was or to see the number of leads generated.

Canada Post Neighbourhood Mail is a direct mail campaign that sends flyers to households. The rate for a small flyer is $0.17 per house, and requires you to send a flyer to every household along a mail route. At $0.17 per household, this is equivalent to a $170 CPM.

How does WOWA compare?

WOWA allows your real estate ad to be seen by a large number of visitors while being able to track your cost of acquisition. You will only pay a referral fee for completed real estate transactions, which means that you will be able to get warm or qualified real estate leads with no upfront cost.

To learn more, visit real estate leads or start registering here.

Advertisement Methods for Mortgage Professionals

If you have a website and a landing page set up (meaning extra costs for you), you might be looking at Google or Facebook to get mortgage leads. Just like for real estate leads, competitive keywords can result in very high advertising costs. You also won’t be able to target users based on their age, gender, or specific postal code for mortgage ads on Google or Facebook. This might make your ads less effective compared to other ad categories or platforms.

Average Google Ads Costs- Mortgage Brokers
Keyword Average Cost per Click (CPC)Average Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM)Click Through Rate (CTR)
Mortgage Rates$1.30$30.102.3%
Best Mortgage Rates$2.26$69.103.1%
Best Mortgage Rates Toronto$18.49$620.403.3%
Private Mortgages$5.63$103.701.8%
Private Mortgages Lenders$14.14$149.001.1%
Private Mortgages Rates$43.52$1,236.302.8%
Commercial Mortgage$5.40$125.302.3%
Commercial Mortgage Lenders$60.36$1,825.601.4%
Source: Google Ads Keyword Planner ($30 daily budget for a 30-day campaign)

If you’re a mortgage broker in Toronto, you might be trying to target “best mortgage rates Toronto” to focus on those looking to get a mortgage in Toronto. Based on Google Ads, this keyword is very competitive. Each click on your ad is estimated to cost $18.49, which isn’t guaranteed to convert if you don’t have a strong landing page. Even with a strong landing page and reaching an ideal conversion number of 10%, this means to get real lead info you could spend north of $180 per lead. If the conversion of the landing page is low (e.g. 3%) the cost could be up to $610 per mortgage lead based on a CPC of $18.49.

Mortgage Platforms

Instead, you might want to consider lead-generating platforms, which allows you to skip the hassle of setting up ads and landing pages to try to convert visitors. You directly pay for the leads info by registering on these platforms.

There are a few platforms that are attracting potential mortgage seekers. One of the main ones is ratehub.ca; however, they almost always use their best leads for their own mortgage brokers. This is because Ratehub owns a mortgage brokerage, CanWise Financial, which they feature above other broker rates. Ratehub ranks featured and sponsored rates above brokers that do not provide them any compensation.

This matter also applies to some other platforms such as nesto.ca, which is a licensed mortgage brokerage, where they can use their traffic to generate leads for themselves. Beside these two rate comparison websites that operate their own brokerages, there are other major platforms that use their traffic to provide leads for third parties. Some of the main platforms that provide mortgage leads in Canada besides Ratehub are LowestRates, Rates.ca, and WOWA. Their monthly traffic can be viewed in the table below.

With WOWA, you can get A-lender mortgage leads in the range of $20 to $80, with buydowns recommended. The cost is higher for private and B-lender mortgage leads. For Ontario and BC where mortgage values are higher, making leads more valuable, the mortgage leads can cost between $50 to $100. To learn more, visit our mortgage leads page or contact us.

Mortgage Broker Platforms (April 2021)
WebsiteMonthly Traffic
(Semrush Estimate)
Monthly Traffic
(Similarweb Estimate)
Are they mortgage brokers themselves?
Ratehub.ca2,600,0001,700,000Yes
WOWA.ca240,000380,000No
LowestRates.ca370,000360,000No
Rates.ca115,000290,000No
RateSpy145,000170,000No
Nesto80,000240,000Yes
Source: Similarweb and SEMRush

Contact us to know more about our rates for your province.

Advertisement Methods for Real Estate Lawyers

Many law societies in Canada provide referral services that connect those looking for a lawyer with one in their local area, such as through the Law Society of Ontario's Referral Service (LSRS), Law Society of Alberta’s Lawyer Referral Service, and BC's Access Pro Bono Lawyer Referral Service. These referral services are limited, as they may only connect clients with one local real estate lawyer in the case of Ontario, or up to three in Alberta. You can also advertise through traditional and digital ads.

Real estate agents work closely with real estate lawyers and will often refer their clients to lawyers. In some provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta, real estate lawyers can pay referral compensation to the referring real estate agent’s brokerage, with the consent of the client and a written disclosure of the compensation and conditions.

Besides word-of-mouth and referrals, advertising directly to those looking for real estate legal services can help bring in new clients. For example, those looking at the cost of selling a house or calculating closing costs on WOWA.ca might be in the beginning stages of a real estate transaction. Paying directly for lawyer leads and legal leads by advertising on WOWA might be more cost effective than paid search marketing.

The leads for real estate lawyers would cost between $25 and $50. Contact us to learn more about legal services and real estate lawyer leads that we offer.

Average Google Ads Costs- Real Estate Lawyers
Keyword Average Cost per Click (CPC)Average Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM)Click Through Rate (CTR)
Real Estate Lawyers$9.65$104.701.1%
Real Estate Lawyers Near Me$57.52$788.301.4%
Real Estate Lawyers Toronto$85.60$672.200.7%
Source: Google Ads Keyword Planner ($30 daily budget for a 30-day campaign)

Potential Ad Placements for Legal Leads

Home Closing Cost Calculator
Cost of Selling a House

Advertisement Methods for Custom Home Builders

Since home building services are a high-cost service, clients will need to not just be aware of your services, but will also need to be confident that you will be the best choice to build their home.

Creating social media profiles, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google My Business Listings, can help create a space for you to display your finished homes. Having a Google business listing will make it easier for clients to discover your services and to contact you.

After establishing an online presence, online advertising can help to bring in new customers. Home builders are not restricted by housing policies that limit your ad’s targeting on Google or Facebook, allowing you to more effectively reach those looking for a custom-built home.

The audience for custom-built homes is small, so advertising through Google or Facebook can become expensive. For example, targeting the keyword “best custom home builders” will have an average cost per click of $18.43. You will need an effective landing page to convert this paid traffic into leads.

Average Google Ads Costs- Custom Home Builders
Keyword Average Cost per Click (CPC)Average Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM)Click Through Rate (CTR)
Custom-Built Homes$5.35$77.001.4%
Custom Home Builders$6.16$73.001.2%
Best Custom Home Builders$18.43$312.001.7%
Custom Home Builders Canada$22.47$324.001.4%
Source: Google Ads Keyword Planner ($30 daily budget for a 30-day campaign)

If you’re not particularly savvy in marketing and don’t know how to set-up an effective ad campaign, there are online platforms that allow you to list your services. Some platforms may even sell leads to you directly.

Houzz.com and HomeStars.com allow custom home builders to list their services on their website. Visitors to the website searching for home builders can then connect with builders directly on the website, provide quotes, post reviews, and ask questions.

HomeStars allows builders to list on their website for free, but also has a “brand builder” program that is focused on building your online presence. Their brand builder program features paid leads, but the number of leads that you will receive is not guaranteed. You will also have to pay a monthly fee regardless of the number of leads that are sent to you.

Houzz also has a similar membership, through their Pro Leads Program, which targets clients based on project type, location, and budget. You will have to pay a monthly fee for each market that you want to be featured in, which can be up to $1,000 per month per market. As you are paying a monthly fee rather than paying per lead, you aren’t guaranteed a certain number of leads for the amount that you are paying.

If you’re looking for a risk-free way to get new clients, WOWA allows you to pay per lead. You won’t have to worry about paying per ad impression or per click. Existing and future homeowners use the various guides and resources on WOWA to help them plan out future projects. Whether you’re a general contractor or a home builder, WOWA can generate construction leads that are looking to build or renovate their homes. Contact us to learn more about construction leads that we offer.

Potential Ad Placements for Construction Leads

Cost to Build a HouseCost to Build a House
Construction Loans
Home Renovation Loans

The calculators and content on this page are provided for general information purposes only. WOWA does not guarantee the accuracy of information shown and is not responsible for any consequences of the use of the calculator.