Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is an online advertising platform developed by Google. It enables businesses to display ads on Google's search engine and partner websites through a pay-per-click model. Advertisers can choose from various ad formats and target specific audiences based on keywords, demographics, and interests. Google Ads provides tools for performance tracking and measurement, helping businesses optimize their campaigns and increase brand visibility.
5 Reasons Why Google Ads Work for Apartment Marketing and Lease-Ups
Unsure about using Google Ads for apartment marketing campaigns or as part of a multifamily lease-up strategy? Here are five reasons why it works.
1. Google is the most used search engine in the world
Billions of searches take place on Google every day. Google Ads makes it possible to tap into this vast search volume almost instantly. This makes Google ads one of the best ways to reach people that are actively searching for apartments or related information.
2. Audience and keyword targeting options are precise
Google Ads offers robust targeting options. This ensures ads get shown to the most relevant audience.
Audience targeting gets your ad shown to the right person:
You can target specific demographics such as:
You can also utilize more advanced targeting features like interests and behaviors. Both allow you to refine your audience reach further (more on this below).
Keyword targeting ensures they need what you have to offer (apartments).
Bidding on search terms like those shown below ensures that your audience needs what you have to offer -- why else would they be searching for it?
Apartments near me
Apartments in (Your City)
2 Bedroom Apartments with Washer Dryer
Best apartments in (Your City)
3. You have a variety of ad formats to match with the right audience
Google Ads offers a range of ad formats to suit your different marketing and audience engagement goals. I discuss the three main ad formats below (Search, Display, and Video).
Why is it important to have various ad formats? You can match the right audience with the most suitable ad format. The more relevant your ad is, the more likely it is to get clicks and generate leads.
4. You can track performance and optimize campaigns on the fly
Google Ads provides robust tracking and measurement tools. This makes it relatively easy to monitor the performance of your PPC campaigns and get feedback fast.
For example, you can track metrics like:
This data-driven approach enables you to optimize your ad campaigns. It's easier to identify high-performing keywords and ad variations in conjunction with new targeting strategies.
Having this kind of continuous monitoring and optimization can help you:
Improve campaign performance
Drive more qualified leads
Maximize return on investment (ROI)
5. Budget management is flexible and precise
Google Ads operates primarily on a pay-per-click (PPC) model. In most cases, this means you only pay when someone clicks on your ads.
Having this kind of budget flexibility allows you to set and control your budgets effectively.
Managing and optimizing your ad spend ultimately helps you maximize the impact of your apartment marketing.
How Google Ads Works
I’ve covered what Google Ads is and why it works for apartment marketing.
Google's extensive reach and popularity means you can effectively reach targeted audiences that are actively searching or browsing for apartments.
But how does Google Ads actually work? What kinds of ads and formats are available for apartment marketing?
Google Ads formats
Google Ads offers various ad formats and targeting options to help you effectively reach your desired audience. Here's an explanation of the three different ad formats and targeting options available:
1. Search Ads
Search ads appear on Google's search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for specific keywords. These text ads display above or below the organic search results.
These ad formats are highly effective for capturing user intent and driving a direct response. This is because they target people who are actively searching for specific products, services, or information.
These are also the most common form of Google advertising, and are the biggest driver of leads for most of our apartment and multifamily clients.
2. Display Ads
Display ads are visually engaging and appear on a wide network of community websites. This “display network” includes news sites, blogs, and other content platforms.
Display ads render on webpages as image banners, rich media, or interactive ads. These types of ads are effective for building brand awareness, generating interest, and reaching a broader audience.
Note: Display ads are sometimes driven by impressions or views as opposed to clicks.
3. Video Ads
Video ads are displayed on YouTube and other video partner sites. They can appear before, during, or after videos.
Video ads allow you to engage prospective lessees with compelling visual content, storytelling, and virtual tours. They’re ideal for showcasing apartments in an engaging and memorable way, and building your brand. We recommend video ads like these for larger luxury apartments and high-rises where brand is most important.
Google Ads targeting options
The above ad formats give you flexibility in reaching your target audience. They allow you to choose the ad format that best aligns with your objectives. This can be driving direct response, increasing brand visibility, or engaging users with compelling video content. At Lease Engine, our most common use case for Google ads is to drive leads, and lots of them, but having options is one thing that really helps the platform shine.
You can use the following targeting options to refine your audience reach. This ensures your ads get displayed to the right people at the right time.
Targeting option 1: Keywords and Negative Keywords
You can target specific keywords relevant to your searchers. When people search for those keywords, your ads will appear.
Keyword targeting ensures ads show to people actively searching for related information.
You can also select negative keywords. These are words and phrases that you don’t want to appear for when someone searches. For example, if you have luxury apartments, you may want to create an exclude list of phrases like "Cheap, Affordable, Section 8, etc".
Targeting option 2. Demographics
Google Ads allows you to target specific demographic segments, including:
Demographics allow you to tailor your ads to specific audiences based on their characteristics.
Targeting option 3. Interests
Google Ads offers interest-based targeting as well. This is where ads show to people with specific interests or affinities for particular topics.
This targeting method allows you to reach people who have demonstrated an interest in relevant subjects.
Targeting option 4. Remarketing and Retargeting
Remarketing or retargeting is a more advanced strategy. It allows you to target users who have previously visited your community website or interacted with an ad.
By displaying ads to people who have already shown interest, remarketing helps re-engage potential lessees and increase conversions.
The final component of how Google Ads work is the Google Ads auction system. This is a fundamental component of how PPC for apartments works.
The Google Ads auction system’s job is to determine the placement and cost of your ads.
Here's an overview of how the auction system works:
Step 1. Auction Process
When a searcher enters a search query or visits a website with ad space, Google triggers an auction. This determines which ads will be displayed.
The auction then takes place in real-time and involves advertisers bidding for ad placement.
Step 2. Advertisers' Bids
Advertisers participating in the auction set their maximum bid. This represents the maximum amount they are willing to pay when a user clicks on their ad.
This bid can be adjusted at any time to align with campaign goals and budgets.
Step 3. Quality Score
In addition to the bid amount, Google considers the quality and relevance of ads and websites. They do this through a metric called the Quality Score.
The Quality Score is determined by factors such as click-through rate (CTR), ad relevance, landing page experience, and historical performance.
Step 4. Ad Rank
Ad Rank determines the position of an ad on the search engine results page (SERP) or partner website. It's calculated by multiplying the maximum bid by the Quality Score. The higher the Ad Rank, the better the ad's position.
Step 5. Cost-Per-Click (CPC)
The actual cost per click that you pay is determined by the Ad Rank. This is calculated by the ad below divided by their Quality Score, plus a small increment.
So even if you have a higher bid, you may pay less per click if you have a higher Quality Score.
The auction system ensures fairness and relevance in ad placement. It allows advertisers with higher bids and better-quality ads to secure more prominent positions.
However, it also rewards advertisers who create highly relevant and engaging ads, and also advertisers with engaging content on their website. This means lower costs and better positions even with lower bids.
Understanding the auction system and optimizing factors like bid amounts, Quality Score, and ad relevance is crucial because it can help you save a lot of ad dollars over the lifetime of a campaign.
These are the factors we help our clients at Lease Engine optimize for. It’s how we help them maximize ad placements and achieve cost-effective multifamily Google Ads campaigns.
Schedule a Call With An Apartment Marketing Expert
Get a free expert consultation and create a roadmap to higher occupancy.
How to Set Up a Google Ads Campaign for Apartments
I’ve established the what, why, and how of Google Ads for apartments and how they work. Now it’s time to put ad formats, targeting options, and the ad auctions process into greater context.
Below is the step-by-step Google Ads campaign creation process that we use with our clients at Lease Engine.
1. Define your campaign goals and objectives
Start by clearly defining your campaign goals and objectives. Determine whether you aim to increase website traffic, generate leads, boost apartment inquiries, or achieve specific conversion metrics.
By having clear goals in mind, you can structure your campaign and measure its success effectively.
To effectively target your audience, it's essential to understand the demographics and characteristics of your potential renters. Apartment renters can vary in age, income level, lifestyle preferences, and more. Conduct market research to gain insights into your target audience.
You’ll want to consider factors such as age groups (e.g., young professionals, families, retirees). Income levels, preferences for urban or suburban living, and desired amenities are also demographics to consider.
These understandings can help you tailor your messaging and targeting strategies accordingly.
3. Understand your positioning in the market
Understanding how your building or complex is positioned in the market is the stepping stone to a good ad on Google (or anywhere for that matter).
4. Conduct keyword research for apartment-related searches
Perform thorough keyword research to identify the relevant search terms and phrases potential renters are using when looking for apartments -- put special consideration into qualifiers that may narrow that to a search for your specific apartment.
Examples of qualifiers to help you narrow where you show up on search could be: "Luxury, Family Friendly, Pet Friendly, Student, etc"
Use tools like Google's Keyword Planner or SEMrush to discover popular keywords with high search volume and moderate competition. We always try to target a mix of broad and specific keywords to help our clients reach prospective renters.
5. Utilize Google Ads audience targeting features
There are powerful audience-targeting features in Google Ads built to reach specific segments of apartment renters. Leverage demographic targeting options, such as age, gender, and location, to refine your reach.
For example, if your apartment is in Houston, you can drop a pin in Google Ads to geo-target only that city, or even specific neighborhoods within Houston.
Remember -- the name of the game is "Location, Location, Location"
We often create multiple location layers for each of our broader ad campaigns, bidding on broader and broader keywords when the search is local, and more specific keywords when the search is from further away.
6. Create custom audience segments
In addition to demographic and interest-based targeting, you can create custom audience segments for your apartment ads.
This feature allows you to create audience segments based on interests and behaviors. For instance, you can create an audience segment of "apartment hunters". For this audience, you’d target keywords related to apartment searches or browsing behavior indicative of apartment hunting.
Similarly, you can create an audience segment of "recently moved residents". Your target is people who have recently changed their address or shown interest in moving services.
These custom segments allow you to reach highly relevant individuals who are more likely to be interested in your apartments.
6. Create compelling ad copy and relevant landing pages
Craft compelling ad copy that highlights the unique features, amenities, and benefits of your apartments. Use persuasive language and calls to action to encourage users to click on your ads. Ensure your ad copy aligns with the keywords you are targeting to increase ad relevance.
Additionally, create relevant and user-friendly landing pages. These assets should provide detailed information about your apartments, the amenities you offer, and give a glimpse at life in your apartment. Pro-tip: amazing photography sells! Websites with professional photography convert way better than sites without photography.
Your landing page should also make it easy for someone to take the desired action. This might be filling out an inquiry form, visiting an open house, or scheduling a tour.
7. Set up conversion tracking for measuring campaign performance
Implement conversion tracking to measure the success of your campaign accurately. Form submissions or phone calls are great goals. You can track these actions as conversions in your Google Ads account.
Conversion tracking enables you to analyze the performance of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. This is what allows you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your campaign for better results.
A simple “Units Are Filling Up Fast. Don’t Wait!” can also induce a similar feeling.
Finally, you may consider changing ad copy to reflect seasonality.
“Now Leasing For Summer” or “Find your new home before Christmas” can work as headlines.
So using the ad description in the right way can help you stand out. It’s a great strategy for getting prospective residents to think about where they are today.
This can be particularly important for certain markets like student apartments. In this case, you most likely want to capture leads before Spring and Fall semesters.
Bonus: Ad example
Once you have your avatars, you can start writing copy that better speaks to the audience. You can feature the things they care about, and leave out extra information that adds noise to your messaging.
You want your messaging to be clear, concise, and compelling. It should speak to what your prospective tenant cares about in the voice they would expect.
Here is an example ad written for Bethany, promoting a fictional property:
H1: Welcome to the Western Village
H2: A Quiet Community in Houston
H3: Ample Family Amenities
H4: Move-in Ready Units Available
Description 1: Enjoy a quiet community with schools within walking distance.Only 5 blocks from I-10.
Description 2: Family-friendly 1-3 bedrooms available. Ask us about our June move-in specials.
Call Out Extensions:
Rentable movie room
Renovated play structure
Close to schools
Monitored security gate
Hot tub and pool
How to Test and Optimize a Google Ads Campaign
You’ve written your ad and it's live. Testing and optimizing your apartment Google Ads campaign is the crucial next step to maximizing your performance.
By following best practices you can maximize the effectiveness of your apartment Google Ads campaign and drive better long-term results.
Here's the approach we use with our clients at Lease Engine to test and optimize campaigns:
1. Conduct A/B testing on ad copy and assets
Intuition is a great starting point, but finding your optimal copy is going to take time.
This is where A/B testing can help you compare different variations of your ads. You can test elements like:
Optimizing each of these ad components can help you determine which variations resonate best with your target audience.
Key metrics like click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and cost per conversion can also help you identify your winning variations.
2. Refine your audience targeting
Audience targeting is a continual process that helps you reach the most relevant audience.
Consider experimenting with different demographic segments, geographic locations, and interests to identify the segments that generate the highest engagement and conversions.
Then, focus your budget and efforts on high-performing segments and continue to optimize your campaign's performance.
3. Watch how your keywords perform
Just like refining your audience, it’s important to regularly review and optimize your keyword strategy.
Start by identifying high-performing keywords that drive relevant traffic and conversions. Then remove low-performing or irrelevant keywords.
Keyword match types (broad, phrase, exact, negative) can also help you refine your targeting and improve the quality of your traffic.
4. Optimize and split-test your landing pages
You’ll want to ensure that your landing pages align with your ads and provide a seamless user experience.
Landing page optimization best practices include:
Improvising mobile page speed and mobile responsiveness
Adding clear calls to action or contact forms
You can also conduct A/B split testing on different landing page variations. This can help you identify the most effective design, layout, and content that drive conversions.
5. Ad schedule and bid management
Analyzing the performance of your ads based on the time of day and days of the week is another optimization hack.
Consider adjusting your ad schedule and bidding strategies. You’ll want to allocate more budget during peak times or days when conversions are more likely to occur.
Continuously monitoring and optimizing your bids helps you maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS).
Schedule a Call With An Apartment Marketing Expert
Get a free expert consultation and create a roadmap to higher occupancy.