To optimize the success of PPC advertising at each multifamily property in the Fore Property portfolio, Caroline Gould, V.P. of Marketing & Branding, starts with the data.
Gould logs into Google Analytics daily to run reports, so she can closely monitor the performance of active PPC ad campaigns and the overall health of the national company’s online presence. She studies online traffic sources by market, evaluates how Fore Property’s communities rank for certain keywords, and checks bounce rates for all of the different paid ad campaigns, digital platforms and referral websites where they’ve invested marketing money.
“It’s just so fundamental to me in terms of determining marketing success and appropriate marketing to try next,” Gould says. “We’re really understanding how those PPC campaigns are performing, especially within the mix of other digital platforms. We can see our referral sources and where we’re getting the best traffic.”
By routinely checking PPC performance, Gould gains valuable insight into online leads and can easily gauge the effectiveness of digital ad spends.
“Most things are measurable, so we can really hone in on what is successful and make changes from there. What’s great with PPC is we can look at the various campaigns over a span of time,” Gould says. “We’re always assessing and always adjusting.”
Digital advertising delivers multifamily properties a plethora of data within Google Analytics that can be utilized to optimize PPC ads and maximize ROI. Here’s how to make the most of your multifamily property PPC advertising, and some common pitfalls to avoid as you decipher the data.
Link PPC Advertising Campaigns in Google Analytics
Trackable data is by far the biggest advantage of digital advertising over traditional marketing methods. But, it takes more than just logging into Google Analytics and glancing at the dashboard to make a real difference with the data.
The first mistake multifamily properties often make is failing to link PPC ads to the Google Analytics account to get campaign-specific data. It’s easy to do and provides a valuable source of information, yet many don’t take full advantage of the readily available analytics and go beyond the basics. That’s where third-party digital marketing experts can assist properties that don’t have an analytics person on staff.
“Connecting your PPC ad accounts to Google Analytics is one thing, but knowing how to interpret the data is another,” says Ali Mesick, Digital Advertising Manager at Brawn Media, which partners with PERQ to help companies achieve success through digital marketing. “Platforms like Google Analytics allow you to see so much granular info about your audiences, how they’re responding to your ads, and how they’re interacting with your website. Taking this ad data and incorporating it into your SEO and website strategy is what can really set your business apart.”
Target the Right Audience with PPC Ads
The second biggest mistake multifamily properties commonly make with PPC advertising? Casting a wide net to try to attract as many people as possible with their PPC ads, or “targeting the wrong audience,” Mesick says.
“While many properties think capturing a large audience is the most beneficial advertising tactic, it often comes with a lot of wasted ad spend,” says Catie Cambridge, Advertising Solutions Manager at PERQ. “By narrowing your audience to specific ‘in-market’ shoppers, you’re eliminating an entire audience of irrelevant shoppers.”
Using the data to define a target audience and the best PPC approach to get their attention, properties can target renters actively searching for an apartment in a specific market with the various reporting filters available in Google Analytics. They’ve displayed a search history that aligns with your ideal audience profile, and are therefore most likely to turn into conversions.
“That means not only will you be spending your budget more wisely, but your ROI will be higher,” Cambridge says.
Mesick also advises looking at the Google Analytics data to reign in PPC spending. She suggests refining the target audience by looking at what else your ideal prospects are “in-market” for, be it a nearby school district they’re researching or pet-friendly parks in the area.
“Layering this on top of your keyword and demographic targeting means you’re more likely to hit your best possible lease candidate,” Mesick says. “Plus, using this data might open up opportunities to target markets you otherwise wouldn’t have considered. The proof is in the data, and using this can propel your campaigns ahead of the competition.”
Account for Multi-Touch Attribution When Analyzing Referral Sources
While it’s important to track which digital marketing platforms convert leads into leases, conversion isn’t the only goal to keep in mind. Each kind of advertising plays a different role in a full-fledged marketing strategy, and not all lead sources should be measured with the same weight.
Traditional TV spots and display ads may work to target a wider audience to build brand awareness, and can be combined with PPC ads, retargeting and lead generation geared toward capturing lower funnel leads.
“If you’re only keeping track of the last touch before conversion, you’re missing 90% of the story,” Mesick says. “In order to understand the sales funnel and how someone goes from first hearing about the property to signing a lease, you need to know how each piece of your marketing puzzle leads people down the pipeline. This will help you make decisions about who to target, where to spend your marketing dollars, and what your message should be at each step.”
Your property needs to have a solid grip on which digital platforms convert at the highest rate, because PPC leads don’t always deliver the most relevant leads, particularly if not precisely targeted. Just because a PPC ad campaign garners a lot of clicks, that success doesn’t necessarily translate into more leases and profit.
“When looking at all of our traffic, if the majority of our traffic is coming from PPC, well that’s kind of a problem,” Gould says. “Because, that PPC traffic converts lower and just tends to not be as high quality, not as organic.”
Use Data to Study Multifamily Market Trends, Consumer Insights
With the right reporting set up, property management can better understand which digital channels perform better than others and which campaigns are underperforming. They can glean what changes to PPC ads they should make going forward and know what to expect during certain times of the year, as well as track conversions and configure ROI for each campaign.
Over time, the data also helps property managers and their marketing cohorts spot local or seasonal trends, study online browsing behaviors and nail down their target audiences. It’s a never-ending game of analyzing and adjusting, Gould says.
“What is the right radius to be in? Is it five miles or eight miles? Well, that depends on the market,” Gould explains. “It could be two miles if you’re in a really saturated, more urban market. With the right data, you can find the answer to any question you want to ask and create targeted ads that work.”
Helpful Google Resources to Get You Started
Google’s Help Center offers some great resources to help you optimize your PPC advertising, see your reports and more. Use these articles to get started:
Additional Multifamily Resources
- Empower your team with the best digital leasing practices and tips with this guide.
- Learn three ways to increase occupancy in your apartments.
- Bridge your website and in-store shopping with these 5 tips.
- Don’t Cut Your Marketing Budget, Yet!
- Make your website the top lead and leasing source with PERQ’s multifamily renter software.