When Will's not in the office analyzing PPC campaigns and writing ad copy, you can find him going on walks, hanging out in coffee shops, and snacking on Double Stuf Oreos.
When it comes to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, tying results and profitability back to campaigns makes running them an investment, not an expense.
If one were to do a quick search for “apartments near me” on Google, there is no shortage of results in the form of ads, organic listings, and maps.
With so much competition, multifamily companies may wonder if Google Ads is truly worth the investment, or if they will just get lost in the search results and overshadowed by the newest properties in town.
Thankfully, Google Ads can be profitable for your multifamily business with the right strategy in place.
Let’s look at a few components.
Capitalize on Your Brand
On the surface, bidding on keywords for your properties and brand sounds redundant. Users searching for these terms are already familiar with your properties, so why bid on your own terms?
Having a branded campaign gives you a larger presence on Google’s search results – and at a low cost. Due to the bottom-funnel nature of these terms, branded keywords yield a much lower average cost-per-click (Avg. CPC) compared to non-branded ones.
Bidding on your branded keywords also prevents competitors from siphoning off your potential residents. Competitors may be bidding on your branded terms themselves to capitalize on users who are in the market to move – and likely far along in the process.
Running branded campaigns to ensure you don’t miss out on new residents is a small price to pay – figuratively and literally.
Geo-Targeted Campaigns & Keywords
The real estate adage “location, location, location” makes all the difference on Google Ads for both targeting and keywords.
A campaign with a tight radius around your properties (such as 5 miles) means you can bid on broader keywords such as “Luxury Apartments,” “Modern Apartments,” or even nearby competitors, as these will be searchers who are nearby and actively looking for terms (or competitors) that fit your target.
This also reduces “noisy” traffic from people who may be searching for apartments in neighborhoods or cities further away and are less likely to be interested in your property.
In contrast to broad campaigns with a tight radius, GEO-modified campaigns can have a wider radius (such as 15-25 miles) around your property because these are users specifically looking for your neighborhood, even if they may not be nearby.
For example, if your property is in Houston’s Midtown neighborhood, your reach could extend out into the suburbs with GEO-modified keywords such as “Midtown Houston Apartments” or “Luxury Apartments Midtown Houston” because these users are looking to relocate to your area of town.
The specificity of these keywords naturally reduces the noise that comes from broader terms; your Midtown property will be relevant for a user in Katy or Pearland looking for “Midtown Houston Apartments”, while it may not be relevant for that same user searching “Luxury Apartments” as their intent may be remaining in those suburbs.
You don’t have to limit your reach on Google Ads to your local neighborhoods or metro! Nationwide campaigns are a good way of reaching users out of town and/or state interested in relocating.
Targeting the entire country (while excluding your immediate area to avoid overlap) with keywords centered around your city expands your reach and capitalizes on searchers your competitors may not be thinking about or targeting.
Nationwide campaigns tend to be less competitive than local campaigns, meaning you can get a good amount of traffic (and potential residents) without having to break the bank.
Nationwide campaigns particularly work well if your property is in a hot market for transplants.
Focus On What Matters (& Works!)
With Google Ads, you get to choose which keywords you want to bid on and show up for in the search results. The ability to enable or pause a keyword in real-time also provides flexibility to pivot strategy as needed.
For example, if one of your properties does not have any two bedroom floor plans available, two bedroom apartment keywords can be temporarily paused in your Google Ads campaigns.
Conversely, if you are looking to push one bedroom or penthouse floor plans, keyword bids for these can be raised to be more aggressive with driving traffic.
Looking through your property’s historical performance on Google Ads provides a picture of which keywords are top-performers and/or efficient – and the ones that are not.
Having this context helps drive strategy for where to be aggressive and where to pull back; double down on your top-converting keywords and scale back on keywords with high click volume but low conversion (phone calls, form submission, application start/finish) volume. Doing so improves your program’s efficiency and performance.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
When setting up your broader campaigns, be careful with getting too broad in your keywords if you are in densely populated areas.
Even with a tight radius, keywords like “Houston Apartments” can quickly go through your ad spend and box out other keywords in your campaign from receiving traffic. Layering on a modifier (luxury, modern, new, 1/2/3 Bedroom, etc.) will help you out.
The best way for preventing your ads from appearing on irrelevant searches is having a comprehensive list of negative keywords. Excluding terms for other cities or adjectives, descriptions, services, floor plans, and price points that do not fit your property ensures your ad spend is going towards more relevant searchers.
If your property offers move-in specials and promos to customers, leverage those in your ads!
Including your specials in your ad copy is a way to entice searchers (and filter out those who are not interested) before they have even reached your website – and gives them a good “why” for choosing your property. After all, an ad that includes “free” in the copy has a way of resonating with people.
Tying it All Together
Although the multifamily industry is a competitive one on the Google Ads landscape, don’t let the competition intimidate you – it’s a fun one to be a part of! After all, you’re in the business of helping people find homes.
At Forthea, our award-winning Paid Media team helps our vast portfolio of multifamily clients increase ROI and occupancy.
With the right strategies and setups on both the local and national level, Google Ads is a great, profitable investment for your multifamily.
To learn more about how our experts can help you enhance your paid advertising efforts, contact us today.