Written by Michael Smart, Digital Strategist
The world of digital apartment marketing is a constantly evolving, confusing, and sometimes even chaotic one. Staple advertising platforms like Google and Facebook are changing their UI or adding new features on an almost monthly basis. New extensions, targeting capabilities (or limitations, thanks to updates like those introduced by iOS 14) are constantly changing, making it difficult to know what’s resulting in leads and what isn’t.
But outside of diving into the individual platforms and looking at the performance from a siloed point-of-view, how do you know if all of these efforts are working? What does your combined Cost Per Acquisition look like across all platforms on a month-over-month basis? How does your performance compare to this month last year, when the scramble to find housing began to slow down? More importantly, how can you prove to stakeholders or property managers that their marketing dollars are being spent wisely?
This is where developing a digital marketing performance report comes into play. A digital marketing performance report can come in the form of a dashboard or recurring static report that marketing strategists, managers, and property owners alike can use to quickly analyze campaign performance, spot trends, and optimize where needed.
First, sit down with relevant stakeholders and discuss what information and metrics are most valuable to you and your team. While this should ultimately result in multiple dashboards updating in real time and automated reports that are relevant for different teams, we suggest starting small and defining what metrics have the biggest impact determining performance and ultimately, attracting new tenants to your property.
Here are a few basic cross-platform metrics that should be included in your performance report:
- Conversion Type (Applications, Calls, Contact Forms, etc)
- CTR (Click-Through-Rate)
- CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
The fun doesn’t end there though. It’s important to add as much context to these metrics as possible. For example, if your Search campaign has a 15% CTR, what does that actually mean? How does that compare to the same month last year? How does it compare to last month? How does it compare to benchmark in the same “subvertical” (i.e. Student Housing, Conventional, etc.)?
While all of these questions can be answered in the form of pretty looking graphs and charts, the most important thing is to identify any outliers that need immediate attention. Set up some conditional formatting that highlights your campaigns that are performing in the bottom 15th percentile. Identify campaigns that have 0 conversions over a certain period of time, or after spending a certain percentage of budget.
If you can add as much context as possible to a campaign’s performance and back it up with as many data points as you can that make sense, this will allow for your digital apartment marketing team to quickly decipher what’s going on and where optimizations can be made. The more context you add, the quicker and more accurate the analysis. The quicker and more accurate the analysis, the more optimized your ROMI (Return On Marketing Investment) is and the quicker your property becomes leased up by happy tenants (hopefully). Who knew data could be so much fun!