Lead Generation

PPL vs. PPC: Pros, Cons, and When to Use Each

Discover the nuanced debate between Pay-Per-Lead (PPL) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) strategies in real estate investing. Uncover when to leverage PPL for quick, low-commitment leads ideal for new investors or urgent needs, and when PPC shines for building brand authority and optimizing long-term conversion rates. Master the art of balancing these approaches to maximize growth and stability in your real estate business.

PPL vs. PPC: Pros, Cons, and When to Use Each

The debate around PPL vs PPC has been going on for years in the real estate investor space. Those who swear by PPL and those who claim PPC is far superior seem to be in endless disagreement.

The truth is, as with most things, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Both lead gen strategies have unique pros and cons, and when used strategically together, can yield great results. In this post, we’ll break down the key factors to consider and when it makes sense to use each source.

Should I Use PPL?

There are some solid advantages to using PPL as part of your marketing strategy:

  • Low Barrier to Entry - For newer investors with lower budgets, PPL allows you to get leads quickly and easily. No need to fund ad campaigns or build marketing assets.
  • No Long-Term Commitments - With PPL, you aren’t locked into any contracts. You can buy leads on-demand depending on your deal flow needs.
  • Turn On/Off Quickly - Following the last point, PPL provides flexibility. As your appointment calendar changes week to week, so can your lead buying.
  • Dispute Process - Many PPL sellers allow you to dispute truly low quality leads, as long as you follow their policies. Just don’t abuse this.

A Quick Caution…

PPL aren’t all sunshine and rainbows though. There are some distinct disadvantages to rely too heavily on this source:

  • No Brand Building - When you buy leads from a third-party, you get no brand association with the seller. Brand authority is key for conversion.
  • No Optimization - PPL sellers optimize for disputes, not for your conversions. So lead quality tends to get worse over time.
  • Misalignment of Incentives - Your goal is maximizing conversions. Their goal is minimizing disputes. See how those don’t perfectly align?

As you can see, PPL can provide a short-term influx of leads, especially when you’re constrained by budget or lack existing marketing assets. However, the lead quality is unreliable long-term.

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Advantages of PPC Campaigns

On the flip side, running your own pay-per-click ads through platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads has some standout benefits:

  • Build Your Brand - Your ads drive traffic directly to your site, building brand familiarity and authority with sellers.
  • Optimization Improves Quality - With closed-loop reporting, you can continuously improve targeting and landing pages.
  • More Control Over Targeting - You choose the perfect combination of keywords, locations, ad copy, etc. based on data.

There’s no question that owned paid search campaigns drive higher converting traffic when executed correctly. However, it does come with a few downsides.

Challenges that come with PPC

  • Higher Startup Costs - It takes more upfront funding to launch profitable campaigns versus buying PPL as-needed.
  • Management Fees - You’ll almost always need to work with a PPC agency to manage bidding, optimization, etc. Their monthly fees can add up.
  • Time to Optimize - It takes consistent work over months to gather data and properly optimize for conversions. No instant magic bullet.

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When to Use Each Source

Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of PPL versus PPC, when should you use each source in your real estate investing business?

Here are a few guidelines:

  • Newer Investors - When just starting out, PPL allows you to get your feet wet before investing in owned assets.
  • Established Investors - Maintaining your own PPC campaigns while supplementing with some PPL is an efficient combination.
  • Investors Who Need Leads ASAP - If you suddenly need to generate a lot of leads quickly, PPL can fill that gap.
  • Investors with Small Budgets - For those without the funding to launch large paid search campaigns, PPL are the obvious choice.
  • Investors Who Want Branding - If branding and long-term stability are top priorities, built owned PPC and SEO assets.


The takeaway is that PPL and PPC campaigns can work hand-in-hand for savvy real estate investors. As your business grows, aim to wean off dependency on any one external source. Mixing lead generation strategies allows you to withstand changes in any one channel.

In summary, both PPL and PPC have pros and cons, and smart investors use a combination strategically to drive growth. Test what performs best for your business model and optimize accordingly.

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