To Kijiji or Not to Kijiji
Why many Canadian housing brands
are ditching Kijiji
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Kijiji Today
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Kijiji Today

With more than 1 in every 3 Canadians visiting Kijiji every month, it's no wonder that Kijiji has become a hub for Canadian apartment listings akin to, Craigslist, and Internet Listing Services (ILS). But relying on Kijiji alone to market your apartment community can contribute to low brand awareness, sparse website traffic, and ultimately poor occupancy rates.

That's why many Canadian housing brands are ditching the Kijiji-only method in favor of a hybrid approach that incorporates other digital marketing strategies that contribute to both short-term and long-term success. Find out how your apartment community can leverage these strategies to up your digital marketing game and stand out from your competition.

The Problem With Kijiji
Kijiji can be appealing to apartment marketers because it keeps things simple. Many real estate brands choose to list their apartments on Kijiji as an easy way to bring in leads, knowing they can benefit from the strong SEO and SEM of a website that prospects already recognize and use.

The problem is, what you gain in simplicity, you sacrifice in other areas, especially when it comes to brand awareness. Kijiji only works to bring in prospects when they're currently performing a housing search. It also places you on a level playing field with all the local competition, meaning you have little opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

As just another part of the crowd, your community becomes a commodity competing solely on price—and the cost of rent is far from the whole story when it comes to what your community has to offer.
Kijiji In A Nutshell
  • • Kijiji is a demand gen platform where your community is only visible when prospects seek it out.
  • • Kijiji presents your apartments alongside those of your competitors, making it hard to stand out.
  • • Kijiji provides less insight into Key Performance Indicators that help optimize performance.
  • • Kijiji gives you minimal control over your marketing message, making it harder to communicate what makes your community special.
  • • Kijiji does not offer ways to stay top-of-mind with prospects or reach users when they're not actively searching.

The Strengths Of Digital Advertising
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The Strengths Of Digital Advertising

While we don't recommend you stop using Kijiji entirely, there are many digital advertising strategies we recommend you add to your marketing mix for better results.

Consider allocating some of your marketing budget to Google Ads campaigns like Search Ads and Retargeting campaigns. We also recommend considering social media, YouTube, and geofencing ads. These tactics allow you to direct more traffic to your website, where you can control the marketing message and provide more information to prospects. They may also allow you to reach your audience at more stages of their housing search.

Ad Campaigns Defined
Google Search Ads - Search ads allow you to target relevant local keywords (e.g. student apartments near McGill) so that your website shows up at the top of search results when a user conducts a Google search using those keywords. These ads can also be served through Google Maps searches on desktop or mobile devices.

Google Retargeting Ads - Retargeting ads target users who have already visited your website but haven't taken a conversion action (like starting an application or submitting a contact form). This tactic displays your custom-designed ads (complete with visual imagery and tailored messaging) across a variety of websites to reach users even when they're not actively searching.

Social Media Ads - Platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer a variety of display ad campaign options that target users on those social media platforms. Options include lead generation campaigns, traffic campaigns, and retargeting campaigns. Geofencing Ads - Geofencing is a display ad tactic that allows you to target prospects within a specific geographic location and serve them an ad on their mobile, laptop, or desktop device. It also allows you to set up a physical conversion location (e.g. your leasing office) so that foot traffic can be clearly attributed to your ad campaign.

YouTube Ads - Video ads on YouTube allow you to build awareness on a popular platform users are already familiar with. These ads reach prospects when they are watching other YouTube videos.
Benefits of Diverse Digital Ad Mix
Build brand awareness - Unlike Kijiji, digital ads place your specific brand front and center and allow you to direct prospects to your website where they can learn more.

Entice prospects with stunning visuals and tailored messaging - Being in control of the message you deliver means you can direct users' focus to what makes your community great.

Reach prospects at key stages of their buyer journey - The average buyer journey doesn't proceed directly from a housing search to a lease application. Reaching your audience before, during, and after their housing search allows you to build awareness and trust and stay top-of-mind while prospects mull things over.

Stand out from the crowd - It's hard to win hearts when your community is presented alongside many other options. Reaching your prospects without the clamor of your competition in the very same browser window helps you cut through the noise and show that you’re offering something unique.

Case In Point
Parc Cité
Parc Cité is one of the student housing properties in Canada leveraging a diverse digital ad mix to help them stand out from the competition. This community in Montreal, Quebec gives McGill students the perfect place to live close to class and in the heart of the city.

The Challenge
Before Parc Cité partnered with Threshold to launch their digital ad campaigns, they were pre-leased at 35.71%. They wanted to be 100% leased by September 1st when the fall semester began.

The Solution
We worked with Parc Cité to launch an integrated ad campaign with search, retargeting, geofencing and social ads. This approach would allow the client to reach users at multiple stages of their prospects’ buyer journeys and showcase the community’s unique offerings. After just five months, this strategic ad mix brought in 27 conversions and excellent ROI. At a rental rate of approximately $1,200 per month, that put $388,800 in their potential rent pipeline, but cost them only $1,156 per month in ad spend.
Ad samples
Stats - Mobile version
Ad samples - Mobile version