Out of all the digital real estate marketing strategies available today, it can be hard to determine which strategies will best help move the needle on your leasing and sales results. After all, you’re not just choosing from the wide variety of advertising platforms out there, you’re also sifting through many different types of ad campaigns those platforms offer—so how do you make the right choice for your real estate brand?
Answering that question comes down to your marketing priorities and the results that are most important to you right now. For those who are launching digital marketing for a new development or getting the word out while occupancy rates are already stable, brand awareness tactics should be at the top of your list. Brand awareness tactics help you reach potential residents during the Awareness phase of their digital renter journey, sometimes before they’ve even begun their housing search.
Brand awareness tactics aren’t focused on getting quick conversions so much as they’re focused on, well, making people aware of your brand. That means impressions and views are the name of the game more so than clicks and conversion actions. So when focusing on brand awareness, you’ll want to select digital real estate marketing tactics that optimize for impressions and views rather than skipping straight to the click-driving, conversion-oriented tactics like lead generation ads or retargeting ads.
Here are some of the top-performing digital tactics for real estate marketers looking to drive impressions and views that increase awareness among your target audience.
Video Ads on YouTube
Since views and impressions are the name of the game with brand awareness, YouTube ads are an excellent place to start. Video ads on YouTube can be targeted to a wide audience in your area based on a variety of targeting characteristics. With an average view rate of 31.9%, YouTube ads are a great way to get in front of your audience at any stage of their renter journey, including before they’ve even performed a housing search.
Video ads are also a great awareness tactic because they are engaging and informative—far more so than a static display or search ad tends to be. You can feature more photos, value propositions and qualifying details in a 30-second video ad.
If you’re early in your development process and have limited photography or renderings to include in your video ad, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Supplement your visual assets with lifestyle footage, which can be found on platforms like Adobe Stock and Shutterstock.
Social Ads on Facebook & Instagram
Social ads for apartments on Facebook and Instagram offer similar targeting capabilities compared to YouTube, giving you the opportunity to reach your audience on some of the digital spaces where they spend the most time.
There are a variety of ad types you can run on these platforms, but to reach prospects in the awareness phase, we recommend Traffic ads on Facebook and Instagram. Traffic ads are focused on driving traffic to your real estate website, so those who do click are given the opportunity to learn more about your property. When optimizing for brand awareness, we particularly recommend opting for carousel ads over single image ads because they provide a fuller glimpse of your community and provide a way for users to engage with your ad (by scrolling through the images) even if they’re not ready to click through to your website and really dive in. This provides a fuller opportunity to become intrigued and commit your brand to memory.
Addressable Marketing & Geofencing Ads
Targeting specific households, businesses, hotspots, or competitors in your area can help you raise awareness among a highly specific audience who is most likely to resonate with your brand. Addressable marketing and geofencing ads both rely on virtual “fences” drawn around specific locations within which users may be served your ad. Typically, a conversion zone is also drawn around a physical location such as your leasing office in order to measure offline conversions, but you can also measure online conversions from these ads when a targeted user visits your apartment website.
When a prospect enters the fenced location (e.g. their home address), they will be targeted with your ads on their mobile and desktop devices for 30 days. When the customer enters the conversion zone (e.g. your leasing office) with their mobile device after being served your ad, the conversion zone recognizes the prospect and attributes their visit as an offline conversion. Or, if a prospect converts online by filling out a contact form, that action is measured as an online conversion.
Addressable marketing campaigns allow you to target prospects based on household location, income level, home equity information, number of household members, and a variety of interests, contributing to highly qualified online and offline traffic down the road. By raising awareness among a highly qualified audience, you increase the chances that awareness eventually turns into action when your prospects are ready to start or continue their housing search.
One addressable marketing tactic we recommend is CTV (AKA Connected TV) ads, which allow video ads to be served to Smart TVs while your target audience is using a TV app like Hulu and other streaming services. Like YouTube video ads, these ads are more engaging than static display ads and reach prospects while they’re going about their day-to-day lives, so they’re aware of your real estate brand when it comes time for them to search for housing.
Here’s Why Addressable Marketing Campaigns Should Be Part of Your Real Estate Marketing Plan
Google Display Ads
Though video ads may on platforms like YouTube tend to be more engaging, Google display ads are also a great way to increase brand awareness among your target audience. Whether you create an animated ad or keep it simple with a static image, Google serves display ads over a vast network of partnered sites, targeting users across many of the same parameters you’ll find on YouTube ad campaigns (Google owns YouTube, after all).
Display ads are a strong choice for brand awareness because they reach users while they’re going about their normal online browsing activities, but also link directly to your website so that impressions can easily turn into traffic. And even if a user doesn’t click through when served your ad, just getting their eyes on your brand makes them more likely to convert later when they are ready to conduct their housing search and learn more about some of the options in their area.
With many different ad sizes available, you can choose a variety of placements, but the 300×250 size tends to get the most impressions and clicks.
Written by Abby Browning, Digital Marketing Manager
Are you finding it more and more challenging to keep up with the inevitable changes to your digital marketing platforms? Google and Facebook are constantly evolving, and so must your approach for digital real estate marketing. Recently, Google announced some changes that affect keyword behavior and ad types. We’ll review what these changes are, how they affect your digital apartment marketing, and how you can continue to drive results despite these changes.
What changes have been made to keyword match types and behavior?
In July of 2021, Google officially eliminated modified broad match keywords. Previously, ads would show for search queries that contained all of the keywords included in your modified broad match keyword, regardless of order. For example, a user could be researching moving companies Atlanta to Austin. By using a broad match modified keyword in your search strategy, “+moving +companies +atlanta +to +austin” would show ads for any query that contained all keywords, regardless of order, including moving companies from Austin to Atlanta.
As of September 2021, Google has loosened up restrictions to phrase match in order to operate more similarly to broad match modified, though they will not be an exact replacement. The main reason for Google making these changes is to boost the relevance of ads that are being served to users by focusing more on text and intent behind the query. According to Google, “The updated phrase match simplifies match types by combining the control of phrase match and the expanded reach of the discontinued broad match modifier.”
What happens moving forward?
Take this opportunity to reduce keywords in your thematically consistent ad groups by removing any match type duplicates or close variants. We recommend leveraging negative keywords to ensure that you’re filtering out unqualified traffic. The newly improved search terms report will also be a useful tool to reference to understand which keywords and match types are triggering your ads, providing insights into new keyword additions to build or exclude in your campaign.
What changes have been made to expanded text ads?
Earlier this year, Google announced that Expanded Text Ads (ETA) will no longer be available to create or edit as of June 2022. Expanded text ads have three headline fields and two description fields and are optimized for mobile. After June 2022, ETA will still be able to run, but the only changes that you will be able to make are to pause or remove them from your search campaigns.
What happens moving forward?
Google released Responsive Search Ads (RSA) in 2018, and over time, we have seen RSAs dramatically improve clicks, CTR, conversions, AND conversion rates. RSAs allow you to create ads that adapt to show more text and more relevant messages by entering multiple headlines and descriptions. Because of the responsive nature of this ad type, RSAs increase ad group performance because they help you compete in more auctions and reach more people. With the announcement of the changes occurring to ETA in June 2022, you will want to be sure that all of your ad groups contain at least one RSA as this will be the new default ad type when creating search campaigns. Now is the best time to perform A/B tests, if you are not doing this already, to see which of your ETA headlines and descriptions perform best. Save this information and be sure to use it come June! Dynamic search ads, which are ads created by Google, and call ads will still be available despite the elimination of expanded text ads.
In an ever changing digital landscape, your digital marketing strategy must adapt. The changes that were recently announced by Google to keyword match types, behavior, and ad types are improvements overall. As with any shift in strategy, continue to monitor campaign performance and traffic quality driven by the updated phrase match keywords, and continue testing multiple headlines and descriptions to encourage continued interaction and engagement through the use of Responsive Search Ads.
Written by David Belachew, Digital Marketing Strategist
Ever since Apple’s announcement of their all new App Tracking Transparency feature (ATT) last summer, anxiety has been rampant for digital real estate marketers in the multi-family housing industry. ATT will require app developers and partners such as Facebook and Google, to ask users permission “to track their actions across other third party apps, websites, or offline properties for targeted advertising or advertising measurement purposes.” Within the first week of the launch of ATT on April 28th, over 96% of iOS 14 users have chosen to opt out of app tracking.
Initially, digital real estate marketers were all fearful of the impact of losing valuable tracking data from these users. Without this information, digital real estate marketers will have a more difficult time assessing the performance of their digital campaigns and will likely have less data to rely on when making budget allocation decisions.
However, in response to the feedback shared by advertisers from some of Apple’s largest partners, Apple rolled out a tool called SKAdNetwork, which will allow advertisers to “measure the success of their ad campaigns while maintaining the privacy of their users.”
In conjunction with SKAdnetwork, both Facebook and Google have rolled out new features and policy updates that will also balance both the privacy concerns of users and ad attribution concerns of their digital advertising partners.
We recommend that digital real estate marketers who actively use Facebook and Google advertising platforms follow these platforms’ new guidelines to offset the negative impact of the ATT on their campaigns. With that in mind, this blog will provide you with some valuable tips on how you can improve the performance of your digital campaigns and confidently report on online behavior of iOS 14 users on your real estate website.
Use Diverse Sources Of Remarketing
As more users choose to opt out of tracking on their iOS 14 devices, both Google and Facebook expect to have a smaller pool of users from their website remarketing audiences. This means that getting the desired results from campaigns whose objective is to remarket users based on their online activity on your property’s website will become more difficult.
With that being said, we recommend that digital real estate marketers diversify their retargeting audience sources to improve the reach and performance of their remarketing campaigns. These sources may include, but are not limited to users that:
- Viewed a specific percentage of a real estate marketing video asset, including from YouTube and Facebook videos, or videos embedded on your property’s website
- Engaged or commented on an organic post from your property’s Facebook or Instagram page
- Clicked on the call to action button from your property’s Facebook or Instagram ad
By expanding your retargeting sources beyond just your website visitors, you will lessen the likelihood of losing the opportunity to promote your property to iOS14 users.
CRM Tool Integration
Even as Google and Facebook implement new attribution modeling techniques that will estimate the volume of conversion actions generated from iOS14 users, both companies have been vague about how large of a negative impact ATT will have on reported conversion attribution from campaigns on their advertising platforms.
With that being said, there are several tools from popular CRM platforms in the housing industry that have the ability to fire native events directly to leading tag management and analytics platforms such as Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics.
These leading CRMs and tools include, but are not limited to:
- Setmore – A popular scheduling tool used by property managers to schedule in-person and virtual tours with prospects
- RentCafe – A popular CRM used by property managers to help develop their property’s website, provide an applicant and resident portal for the property, and help improve resident retention
- Knock Doorway Bot – Similar to the G5 bot, this bot, developed by Knock, helps pre-qualify users by providing them pricing and floor plan availability and also encourages users to schedule virtual or in-person tours and complete a contact form submission.
Integrate Your Google Analytics and Google Ads Accounts
As mentioned above, integrating your CRM with a compatible analytics platform can go a long way to understanding user behavior on your property’s website. However, if you use Google Analytics (GA) to track and report on traffic activity on your property’s website, there are several actions you can take now to better understand the performance of your campaign across most platforms, which will allow you to make smarter optimization decisions.
From contact form submissions to completed applications, you can create Goals from your Google Analytics account to measure valuable actions taken by users on your property website. Once these goals are created, you can measure the volume of goal completions across multiple channels, such as organic, paid search, paid social, display, etc.
You can also transfer your GA goals as conversion actions into your Google Ads account. Once you complete your conversion configuration on Google Ads, these conversion actions can be reported and optimized from your paid search and display campaigns and may lead to a higher volume of qualified leads generated on your website.
Another added benefit of linking your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account is that you can better fine-tune your website remarketing audiences. You can configure your remarketing audience by focusing on users who visited a minimum threshold of pages on your website, spent a specific amount of time on-site, and so much more. These remarketing audiences will ensure that your display campaigns will only target users who are more likely to convert on your website while filtering out users who have shown little interest in your property.