Apartment PPC Campaigns: How Much Do Digital Ads Cost?

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The most effective and dynamic marketing source for apartment communities is digital advertisements.

If one were to rank all the reasons why this is so, digital ad campaigns' affordable and flexible costs compared to other ordinary apartment marketing sources would be at the top.

That's because ad platforms, most notably Google Ads and Meta (Facebook), have no fixed price—meaning every apartment community can budget for and use digital ads! 

In this blog, we'll provide more context into: 

  • How Google and Facebook charge advertisers to use their platforms.
  • The factors that can cause the costs of a campaign to become very expensive.

How do Google and Facebook charge apartment marketers to use their advertising platforms?

Google and Facebook share three pricing models for advertisers:

  1. Cost-Per-Click (CPC)
  2. Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)
  3. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), a.k.a. Cost-Per-Action

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

As its name implies, cost-per-click is the most straightforward pricing model to understand (which is why CPC ads are the most popular). CPC campaigns intend to drive traffic to the advertiser's website. Google and Facebook charge advertisers each time someone clicks one of their ads. 

CPC is the best and most practical payment model for your apartment's ads, but discussing the other payment models while we're here is still important. 

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

An impression occurs anytime an ad appears. Advertisers who choose this payment model have little intent on pushing browsers to their website but solely want to increase brand awareness. 

As an apartment marketer, it's critical to understand that your apartments aren't for everybody and that using ads to grow your community's brand is not advisable (more on that in the next section).

Cost-Per-Acquisition, or Cost-Per-Action (CPA)

Advertisers who choose the cost-per-acquisition or cost-per-action models pay only when one of the results of their ads is a purchase (or other specified action).

Deciding which pricing model you prefer is only just the first step. Ultimately, how much you're willing to bid on any ad campaign influences the costs you owe either Google or Facebook. 

But when your community is experiencing an uptick in vacancies, and you need to drive more prospective renters to your website, your best outcome will be using PPC ad campaigns. 

That said, even though every community can afford PPC ads, various factors affect how much those PPC campaigns actually cost your apartments. 

Next, let's dive into what influences the costs of PPC campaigns.

What factors influence the costs of an ad campaign? 

Advertising is both Google and Facebook's top source of revenue, and both companies care tremendously about maintaining the popularity and usage of their platforms. 

That's why both Google and Facebook structure their advertising services to prioritize ad campaigns to ensure that only the most relevant ads to an individual user's needs appear on their platforms. If they don't, people will stop using their platforms, ad engagement will diminish, and advertisers will opt for more effective platforms—all of which have massive implications for both Google and Facebook's profitability.

While they allow advertisers to bid for the placement of their ads in an auction format, they purposefully avoid running ads for only the highest bidders (even if that sounds counterintuitive to revenue generation).

Neither Google nor Facebook wants to make money by letting a minority of big brands outbid the competition; they want to make money by displaying ads with the highest probability of resulting in a click, impression, or conversion—all of which produce a profit for those platforms. And they also want to encourage more digital marketers to advertise on their platform and benefit from their unrivaled reach and visibility. 

Google makes it clear how they ensure relevant PPC campaign ads appear. They apply a Quality Score to each by measuring an ad's relevance to its target keywords, website user experience, expected Click-Through Rate, and other signals. It then determines which ad is best for an individual user through a metric called AdRank, which calculates an advertiser's maximum bid multiplied by its Quality Score. 

The graphic below portrays how Google's AdRank and Quality Score measurements influence how many times an ad campaign's effectiveness and, most notably, the effect on cost-per-click. 

CPC graphic

How does this all tie back to how much digital ads cost for your communities?

  • Targeting keywords most relevant to someone searching for your apartment community online will help you earn more qualified traffic to your website for the lowest possible price. 
  • Running defensive campaigns that target your community's name and location is best for directing your best leads to your apartments, and those ads are affordable for nearly every marketer's budget! (Here's how you can target renters with PPC campaigns.)
  • Knowing that your ad campaigns target your desired audience means you can safely adjust your maximum spending budget anytime. 
  • Ads that target broader or less specific keywords will be more expensive.
  • Spending more on an ad campaign is not a guarantee for its success.

Remember, Google has a business incentive to show the most relevant ads. So if you're trying to get an ad for your apartment community in Chicago by targeting the keywords 'apartments for rent in Chicago,' Google cannot specify that an advertisement for your community is the best fit for that search query. You'll ultimately pay Google more if the broadly-targeted ad does appear.

Other factors which drive up ad costs that are also worth mentioning include:

To be clear: Paying for digital ad campaigns for your apartments only to say you're using digital ads, especially if they're not relevant or specific to you, can lead to spending more money on marketing than necessary. Understanding this before implementing or adjusting your community's ads strategy is essential.


There are no fixed costs to digital ads! You control spending and can adjust those amounts anytime you see fit, which is hugely beneficial for marketing your apartments, knowing demand changes frequently. 

There are times throughout the year when it is best to ramp up spending to get more traffic to your website and times when reducing (or stopping) spending to save marketing dollars is a safe and proper choice.

And when you have the right strategy, like RentVision's predictive digital ads strategy, maximizing your spending on PPC campaigns that consistently generate great leads for your leasing staff is not just a fantasy; it's the reality.

Watch the video below to learn more about our multifamily-specific PPC ads strategy. Then, download a free copy of the RentVision Guide To Digital Advertising For Apartment Communities for more insights on the same effective approach to ads we use while managing millions of dollars worth of our client's apartment ads annually.



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RentVision enables you to generate more qualified traffic when you have a sudden increase in vacancy, and saves you marketing dollars when it’s under control.

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