ILS vs PPC: Which Is Better For Multifamily & Commercial Real Estate?

ils vs ppc

When it comes to the fast-changing world of digital marketing, countless new platforms are promising to lease up your apartment community successfully. Although many of these platforms can help you achieve stabilization, deciding which one is the best for your asset can be confusing. Property management teams are often torn between the benefits of using ILS vs PPC. 

Internet Listing Service (ILS)

ILS stands for Internet Listing Service, which is an online real estate search database that displays properties and units that are available for rent. Some examples of apartment listing sites are,,, etc. These sites allow you to advertise your apartment community, similar to how restaurants advertise on Yelp. Although this type of platform can be beneficial for validating your property, the question becomes, is it more effective than PPC or SEM? 

Pay Per Click (PPC) 

PPC stands for Pay Per Click, which refers to an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites. Using search engines such as Google and Bing, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. For example, in its most simplistic form, if a prospective resident searches on Google, “apartments in Los Angeles,” ideally your ads will display when a keyword query matches an advertiser’s keyword list. 

Both internet listing sites and pay per click have their advantages. However, a PPC strategy is more effective for many reasons. 

ILS vs PPC Visibility

PPC enables your website to be placed on the first page of Google, depending on your bids. Internet listing sites advertise on Google, but they don’t always highlight your property at the top of their listing page. More importantly, potential tenants are taken to the ILS website rather than your property’s website.


One of the biggest downfalls when advertising on an ILS is that your property will be alongside your comps fighting for the users’ attention. Unfortunately, this means that the users are being exposed to other properties in the area. PPC ads keep the user engaged with only your property and direct them to your website rather than another stereotypical listing profile.


Today, brand equity carries tremendous value in the marketplace. The ability to differentiate your assets from competitors is crucial more than ever before. Among so many options that prospective residents have, it’s essential to showcase the uniqueness of your community.

With internet listing sites, all the landing page profiles are identical, which prevents your property from distinguishing itself from the rest of the competition. With competitors offering similar concessions, your brand can set you apart and establish consistency across all aspects of your property’s marketing efforts.

ILS vs PPC Budget

Although PPC may sound daunting, it’s ideal for property management companies looking to control the budget and spend. Pay per click allows full control of monthly and even daily spend, enabling you to turn off the campaign at any time. Also, you can increase or decrease spending on specific keywords allowing you to reach maximum results. On the other hand, ILS does not have the same freedom of budget control that PPC provides. Internet listing sites usually come with a premium price tag to list your property on the front page.

Additionally, Google Ads provides detailed analytics and insights, enabling you to view which keyword generated the most traffic and leads, which can improve your SEO strategy. 


While Internet listing Sites are beneficial to your apartment community, if you plan to allocate money to a marketing strategy, utilizing a PPC campaign will allow you to showcase your brand, gain visibility quickly, and maximize your budget. Partnering with an agency like Uncomn Projects can develop a marketing strategy that will help your asset reach stabilization in no time. To find out more check out our Digital Marketing Services or email us at [email protected]

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