Yes, it’s that time of year again when we start hearing from clients that the numbers are just mysteriously down and their stakeholders are not happy about it or happy with us, so what are we going to do to fix it?
Well, yeah… here’s the thing… fall is here and “Leasing Season” is over. You can fight it, and we always do fight it, but it’s super expensive to find those few people who can be bribed to move during the “off months.” You can tell us that you live in a mild climate, you can tell us that your tenants don’t have school-aged children, you can even tell us you’re hearing that the competition is claiming better numbers than you (which might be true) but the reality is, and we have the numbers to back it up, that the fall sucks for leasing. Always has, probably always will.
- Searcher Ambivalence: click-thru-rates (CTRs) drop, session durations drop, and bounce rates increase
- Cost-per-Click (CPC) rises as CTRs drop and competitors increase bids to fight the inevitable
- Impressions rise to compensate for lower CTRs
- Clicks decrease as CPCs increase and budgets don’t go as far
We’ve aggregated Google Ads, Facebook, and Instagram data over the past 24 months for comparison and the results are interesting:
Apartment-Related Google Searches
- Apartment search traffic peaks June – July
- August is off 4.8% compared to July
- September is off 13% compared to July
- October is off 16% compared to July
Apartment-Related Google Ads Cost-Per-Click
- Google Apartment PPC Ad Cost-Per-Click peaks Oct. – Dec.
- Aug. is the lowest Cost-Per-Click month at 87% of peak
Facebook Apartment Ad Cost-Per-Click
- Facebook Apartment Ad Cost-Per-Click peaks in Sept.
- Jan. is the lowest Cost-Per-Click month at 52% of peak
- Apr. and May. are the second lowest Cost-Per-Click months at 62% of peak
Instagram Apartment Ad Cost-Per-Click
- Instagram Apartment Ad Cost-Per-Click peaks in Sept.
- Aug. and Nov. are the lowest Cost-Per-Click months at 43% of peak
Apartment-Related Google Ads Cost-Per-1000-Impressions (CPM)
- Google Apartment Ad CPM peaks in Jul. and Nov.
- Feb. is the lowest CPM month at 71% of peak
- Jan. is the second lowest CPM month at 78% of peak
Apartment-Related Facebook Ads Cost-Per-1000-Impressions (CPM)
- Facebook Apartment Ad CPM peaks in Nov. and Dec.
- Jul. and Aug. are the lowest CPM months at 59-60% of peak
Apartment-Related Instagram Ads Cost-Per-1000-Impressions (CPM)
- Instagram Apartment Ad CPM peaks in Dec.
- Sept. is the lowest CPM month at 52% of peak
So what does GTMA do about it?
- Obviously, we strive to minimize overall losses at every turn but more specifically…
- We focus on optimizing for CTR, using the change in avg. position vs. the change in CTR as our primary indicator of how we’re doing relative to the competition.
And what should you do about it?
- Be honest with your stakeholders who are watching the numbers: help them set realistic expectations for the fall and remind them that it will be spring again soon.
- Look closely at that winning competitor’s value proposition and see why they’re really beating you. We’re pretty sure it’s not because they have that one magic keyword in their campaign that you don’t… if they’re winning, the most likely direct cause is that the value they’re offering is more in line with their pricing.
- Work every lead. As the quantity of leads dwindles, it becomes more important than ever to follow up with everyone and present your community in the best possible light.
- Take half your December marketing budget and spend it TODAY and turn your ad spends off from Dec. 10 – 25 because no one is going to be thinking about a new place to live those weeks.
And most important: if you’re not working with GTMA for your paid search marketing, reach out to your account rep. for a free review of your current campaigns.