Renter demand, occupancy, and market conditions are not flat month over month, so why should your budget be? Here are 3 extremely important data points to consider for a smarter approach to your apartment marketing budget.
In order to get a better idea of when to spend your money on Google Ads, you should look at the last 12 months of searches in your market. Typically across the US, we see apartment searches drop off in Q4 and, spike in Q1 and reach their highest n Q2/Q3. But this it totally subjective to market. You can see in Corona, CA the search volume tends to fall in line with the national trends.
However when looking at Orlando, FL we see that March is the highest month for multifamily searches in that market, and October is really strong as well.
So what does this really mean? Don’t spend the same budget every month. While it can get a bit more complicated, a general rule of thumb is to ramp up your budget when the market has more appetite and lower your spend when things are slower. Once you get comfortable with that general rule, you will want to layer in how cost per click changes in your market as well.
Same goes for your occupancy. It should go without saying that you should be more aggressive with your budget during a lease up and ramp down your budget when you get closer to stabilization. However, the most common mistake we see marketers make is being too reactionary. This could come in the form of shutting off a digital campaign completely once their property is stabilized. You will still need a small presence online to protect yourself from exposure. Many operators are too reactive and often forget about their upcoming churn. It is far more expensive to restart the marketing engine than it is to have a constant presence. Additionally, you should keep in mind that the average apartment buying cycle is 32 days, so you should always be thinking at least 1 month ahead, if not further out (preferably 90 days).
Now that you have your paid search trends down, you should look at how other digital platforms have performed in your market. And why not look at just your specific targeted audience, renters!
For example, in Los Angeles, the amount of renter devices on mobile saw a huge spike in May, dropped back down in June and July, and the spiked again in August. All while social, email and display renter devices remained relatively constant. In this scenario, your mobile budget should fluctuate according to the trends.
Contrary to what the data shows in LA, in Corona, CA the amount of renters on display channels is far greater than that of mobile, social, and email. We hear many people speak about how each market is unique, but seeing the data laid out like this for markets that are so close in proximity really demonstrates that there is a microclimate within large metros.
Now that you’ve gathered historical data on a market, you can use that data to forecast the future.
In this scenario, we are looking at historical lead data for the market (this was pulled in October 2018) and forecasting what the CPA should be in this market for November. In this case, if you want to maintain a CPA of $15 the most this market can efficiently support is $1,800 in media spend. While you can certainly spend more, it will drive up your CPA.
As you can tell, we really geek out on this stuff! Once you start pulling these types of data points there are so many rabbit holes you can go down and sometimes it can be hard to make sense of it all. We are here to help chat through it and love to learn how property management companies are currently using data to put together their marketing budgets.