This Year in Apartment Marketing: A Look Back at Some of the Biggest Changes of the Year, and What’s to Come in 2016

December 31, 2015 | by:

new-years-day-1063436_1280

Effective apartment marketing has always been about discovering what works and what doesn’t work, and appropriately refining strategies based on those findings. As we close out 2015, we thought it would be a good idea to share what we’ve learned over the past year. Here’s a look at what has changed, as well as what may be in store for the year ahead.

Mobile-geddon Judged the Internet

It’s hard for us to believe that “mobile-geddon” happened in 2015, but that’s probably because we’ve known about the importance of mobile-friendly websites for years now.

For those unfamiliar with the term, mobile-geddon was the nickname that marketers gave to a Google algorithm update that rewarded mobile-friendly websites by listing them higher in the search engine results pages. This algorithm update was unique, in that it was one of only a handful of updates that Google warned marketers about ahead of time. It also signaled to local businesses, and international brands, that non-mobile-friendly websites would not fly in 2015.

Although the doomsday scenario in which all non-mobile-friendly websites would be wiped out overnight never quite panned out, the update definitely shook up search results on mobile devices. And even though desktops were less affected, it’s safe to say that Google certainly considers mobile-friendly design in its ranking algorithm.

ORM Proved It’s Here to Stay

Online Reputation Management isn’t anything new in 2015, but it’s unquestionably something that’s more important than ever. The news this past year was awash in headlines in which online controversies spilled into the physical world and resulted in businesses closing. Perhaps the most notable of these news stories was about Dr. Walter Palmer, the dentist who had to close up shop after a storm of angry citizens bombarded his web properties to remind potential customers about Cecil the Lion, a research animal that Palmer illegally shot in Zimbabwe.

Social media and review sites are also increasingly becoming the primary contact channel for customer’s questions and complaints, and these customers expect short response times. While customers expect email responses to arrive within 24 – 48 hours after filing a complaint, they are less forgiving on social media and review sites. In fact, a study conducted by Edison Research found that 42 percent of customers who contact a company via social media expect a response within 60 minutes.

The Beginning of the End for the ILS?

It’s no big secret that Internet Listing Services aren’t nearly as popular among apartment marketers as they once were. Just last month, Multihousing Pro published a story about the importance of diversifying your marketing strategies far beyond the ILS. The story was quick to point out major flaws in the ILS approach, notably the fact that competing rentals are often found right next to one another.

Of course, we don’t think Internet Listing Services are going away anytime soon. Like print materials, they have their uses, and appeal, in certain scenarios. But as target audiences shift to a more technologically-literate demographic, more leads will likely be generated via organic search, paid search, and re-marketing initiatives.

Pay-Per-Click Will Lead the Way

Speaking of paid search and re-marketing initiatives, it would be hard to make a list about the biggest opportunities in 2016 without mentioning PPC services. Although paid search campaigns were mostly used by larger companies in the past, automated and affordable PPC services (such as our own) now make it easy for smaller companies to advertise their communities, even if they don’t have a lot of time or a large marketing budget.

Overall, a ton of changes have occurred over the past year. But one thing that hasn’t changed, and that we don’t foresee changing in 2016, is our commitment to bringing you the latest news in apartment marketing strategies, as well as the best possible solutions to help you improve your own marketing efforts.

Happy New Year!