In this article, we require to provide a summary of why apartment marketing on Google Ads (AdWords) has its set of idiosyncrasies, as well as the top five performance adjustments to make your apartment campaigns extremely effective.
The unique challenges of apartment property marketing
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When your product is an apartment, you inherently have different challenges than you would if you were selling a different product, such as a television, a book, or software.
Rather than trying to reach a very wide audience, the trick to successful apartment marketing is to narrow your list down to a very small number of people who are trying to rent your apartment type in your city, right now. And it’s easier said than done.
To begin with, an apartment is a hyperlocal product. A physical product can be shipped to many cities, but an apartment buyer must (by definition) physically reside in their apartment.
Therefore, from the beginning, Google Ads marketing for apartments should target only people who plan to live in your city. (And, to make the problem a little more complicated, these people may not live in your city when they start searching.)
Second, not everyone in a city rents out their home. If someone owns their own home, then that person will never buy your product and therefore you will want to prevent homeowners from marketing.
But even among apartment dwellers, only a very small percentage are eligible to become a customer at any time, because people living in apartments sign long-term lease agreements of at least six months, but often for longer. . So if someone just signed a 12-month lease, advertising a different condo for that person would be a waste.
These challenges make Google Ads even more valuable for apartment marketing. No other source of traffic, including television, radio, or print media, can identify a genuinely qualified apartment buyer as Google Ads can, as long as you set up your campaigns correctly.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the performance adjustments!
Google Ads for Real Estate: the importance of bidding on branded keywords
First, bidding on brand keywords (“Community name in city, state”) is uniquely important for apartment marketing. Brand bidding is always a great idea, but the apartment industry’s unique sales cycle makes bidding in terms of brand essential.
On the one hand, apartment buyers hear about your community in a number of different ways, which leads them to Google to search for your community by name for more information.
Apartment buyers can hear about their community on an Internet listing service, physical signs, or an indication of a resident; however, these sources of introduction usually do not provide much information about your community.
Therefore, the people who search your community by name are (most likely) your potential customers and you will want to be absolutely sure that you will capture them.
If you don’t bid on your brand keywords, usually one of two things will happen. An ad from a direct competitor will appear above your ad or an ad from an Internet listing service (the ILS bid largely on city/state keywords, but also for specific communities by name, linked to that listing on the ILS website).
If a competitor steals your hot tracks, you lose. But even if a potential customer clicks on the ILS ad to find out more about you there, that potential resident is now just a click away from comparing you to all of your closest competitors.
This is especially problematic on mobile devices, where click-to-call buttons make it easier for competitors to generate leads and where ads are so big on the Google SERP page that they can completely disrupt your real community above the fold.
Using Google Ads geo-targeting for real estate apartment marketing
Typically, you will want to target the largest relevant area, so if your apartment community is in Porto Alegre, RS, you will probably want to target the entire metropolitan area of Porto Alegre.
The reason for this is that people tend to move within a city, so you can’t help but target someone who (for example) may be moving from one suburb of Porto Alegre to another.
Most importantly, you’ll want to exclude other cities that share the same name as your city.
Another factor you need to consider is whether your apartment’s condo name may require additional geographic exclusions.
How to use negative keywords for apartment marketing
Like any other type of AdWords campaign, negative keywords are really important in suppressing ad impressions for unqualified traffic. I wrote a longer post specifically about negative keywords in Google Ads for apartments, but there are two important principles you should consider.
First, simply as you excluded potentially embarrassing geographic areas with the geo-targeting tool (above), you must also produce negative keywords to exclude city and state names where apartment condos with the same name exist.
Second, you should think of keywords that came up with low purchase intentions for apartment rentals. Think of these keywords, for example:
Most of the time, these keywords are used in searches by current residents, not potential residents. Someone looking for a new apartment would mind if there was a pool, but they probably wouldn’t search to find the “pool times”, unless they lived there and were interested in using the pool.
Using ad extensions, especially site link extensions, in apartment ads
On October 22, 2013, Google updated its ad ranking formula to take into account ad formats and extensions, in addition to the Quality Score and bid. Therefore, extensions have become an essential part of getting your ad to rank high.
For apartments, you’ll definitely want to use location extensions, call extensions (especially for capturing calls from mobile devices), and seller ratings, but I’m going to focus here on why you should use site link extensions in your ads.
For apartment ads, you may want to use site links primarily to link to individual floor plan landing pages on your site. Remember that nobody rents a condominium in general; all rent a specific floor plan. So, they may want a two-bedroom with at least two bathrooms and a minimum of 1200 square feet.
If your extension highlights this type of information, you can generate an extraordinarily high clickthrough rate (10% -20% CTRs on these extensions are not uncommon) and make apartment buyers look directly at the floor plan most relevant to your needs.
Principles for highly converting landing pages
However, an important principle of site link extensions is that each of your site links must point to a single page. This is Google’s policy:
Each site link must guide to different content: we don’t pass two or more site links in the same campaign or ad group to point to the same landing page or the same content. We also don’t allow site links that lead to the same landing page as the ad’s destination URL.
So if you use site links to drive traffic to your different floor plans, you’ll need to make sure you have specific floor plan landing pages with specific floor plan content.
In particular, we have found that floor plan specific photography with floor plan specific step-by-step video tours are highly engaging for apartment buyers. So, make sure you have a strong call to action encouraging people to call or email your property, and your Google Ads campaigns will generate a lot of highly qualified leads instead of a high bounce rate.
The other part of the design of effective landing pages for each of your floor plans is that Google takes into account the quality, usefulness, and relevance of your landing page in its Quality Score.
Therefore, not only do specific floor plan landing pages allow the use of site links (and site link extensions can improve your ad rank), they also improve your Quality Score. This means that landing pages improve two of the three factors of ad ranking, making them even more effective and cost-effective.