Predicting outcomes in 2016 was a tough business! But it's a whole new year with brand new emerging trends, technology, and possibilities -- which is why the team at GTMA put together a comprehensive outline of some of the most pertinent marketing predictions to multifamily in 2017.
The city of Los Angeles saw 20,000 new apartments built in 2016 while Miami property owners experienced a downturn in the local condo market and are now converting units to rentals. Metro Washington DC has been in the midst of a major apartment boom with 18,000 total new units completed just last year! That's a whole lot of competition for potential ad space. and getting a property's name out there among the hundreds of local competitors will be a challenge for many communities.
As developers and property managers turn to online paid media to help generate more leases, what sort of changes are expected to come in 2017 in the digital ad space? For many new communities, Facebook ads have become a viable way to generate leads that could potentially turn into leases. One of the biggest advantages that Facebook ads have over other lead generation platforms online is the relatively low cost per click, averaging 69 cents in Q3 of 2016, which is down from 84 cents in Q2. The price of getting 1,000 impressions has decreased significantly as well, making advertising to a large local audience easier than ever.
Are these cheap leads converting into leases? That is the question most apartment communities will seek in 2017 as more buildings with large advertising budgets take advantage of this cheap avenue to brand awareness. From what we've seen so far with our Facebook advertising product, results have been successful often translating into several leases a month just from a small advertising budget dedicated to the Facebook Ads platform.
Way More Instagram Ads + Slight Increase in Facebook Ads
Ad load dominated the discussion of Facebook's investors' earnings call as leaders asked: how many more ads can realistically be pushed out to the average user? If you ask Facebook, the answer is not much, but we're fairly certain you'll continue to see a marginal increase in Facebook Ads while Instagram ads hit their stride this year. Instagram's appeal as a minimalist photo sharing app remains, but they continually push for more ad revenue while Facebook shoulders the controversy over their current ad load. Instagram ads are the sure-fire method Facebook will use to increase revenue in 2017.
More interactive, Landing-Page Style Ads
Let's face it -- advertisers have more and more competition for ad space to get their message to an audience plus a shrinking attention span on mobile devices. The solution? Expect to see many more ads in 2017 that blur the line between an off-site landing page and a native ad in order to increase the speed of lead generation. Facebook has been pushing for more brands to use interactive landing-page style Canvas ads, and these will only continue to grow in popularity in 2017. This means a greater need for creative input into the ad creation process, and creative performance will be in high demand.
Local is In! Less National Brands, More Brick-and-Mortar Advertising On Your Newsfeed
Facebook took measures in 2016 to appeal to brick-and-mortar advertisers by allowing retailers to advertise their current product availability in local stores. Expect to not just see national brands target their ads at the local level more often, but also for mom-and-pop retailers to take advantage of the relatively cheap cost-per-click to advertise out their stores. For apartment communities, this local advertising is highly efficient and you'll see communities using targeting to find potential residents in a given radius, zip code area, and more.
More Google Search Ads
Google took significant steps this year to clean up their search page by getting rid of right-hand column ads and focusing on above-and-below-the-fold ads, which meant increasing to four total ads at the top of a search. Next, we'll see Google increase the frequency of search engine result pages that result in ads, especially those that show 3-4 ads. Technically we'll be seeing the same amount of ads, but they'll be grouped into one portion of the page.
More Google Maps Advertising
For property managers, having your community show in Google Maps can mean the difference between frequent drive-by traffic and zero to none! The good news is that 2016 gave huge leaps to marketers who wanted to advertise locally on Google Maps. You will absolutely be seeing more search ads that show up in Google Maps in 2017, and later in the year we should expect more options for controlling how ads are displayed in Maps.
You'll Be Able to Chat with Leasing Agents Online More - Both on the Website Even in Ads
One of the top trends in customer service for 2016 was live chatting with potential customers. We can predict to see more multifamily communities taking advantage of these tools by introducting live chat features to their websites and in their advertisements. Leads for multifamily communities can be a long process and sales funnel from potential lead to resident. While turning a lead into a resident can ultimately net thousands of dollars in profit, valuable time and money is wasted in a lengthy process. To make a profit, the community needs to show they can handle inquiries early on in the leasing cycle and filter out unqualified leads. They also need to show they can respond quickly and efficiently to questions early on, as management relations prove to be one of the most influential factors in choosing a new home time and time again. Tools that allow this to happen on first interaction will be a game changer!
More Quality Ads
Overall, 2017 will see more advertising and more competition. For marketers, that means delivering highly creative ads strategically to pinpoint a target audience. For users, you might be pleased to find that while you still see plenty of ads, they will be better quality and more attuned to your interests. It's TWENTY SEVENTEEN everyone (that's a big number!), to be successful you have to be on top of your game. If you need help on your way to the top, you know where to find us.