How Apartment Marketers Can Navigate Paid Advertising During COVID-19

by Jun 24, 2020

The effects of COVID-19 in Multifamily are far and wide, stretching beyond the daily inconveniences of wearing masks and social distancing. Apartment communities have adopted new rules around amenity usage and tours, community events have moved online, and virtual leasing is now commonplace.

The pandemic has also forced apartment marketers to evaluate their messaging, especially when it comes to apartment paid search and social media advertising. There is no timeframe as to when life will “get back to normal,” or if it ever will, leaving apartment marketers to wonder if they should take a new direction or stay the course.

The key is to understand how the pandemic has affected consumer behavior and look for opportunities to connect with prospective renters in an ever-shifting and uncertain world. Read on to learn how apartment marketers can adjust to the current circumstances and help their apartment communities thrive.

Keep Long-Term Goals in Mind

Smart marketers play the long game. Consistency is important for branding, and cutting apartment marketing budget spend too much when it comes to paid advertising could have a negative impact on the brand when the pandemic is behind us.

This isn’t the time to shy away from new growth opportunities. While the future is still unclear, apartment marketers can begin thinking about online apartment ad campaigns and promotions that reflect new beginnings and optimism to grab the attention of prospects in the months ahead.

Be Mindful of Shifts in Online Consumer Behavior

Part of the alchemy of marketing is timing. You have the best possible chance of your apartment PPC or Facebook ads being seen by the people who are most interested by analyzing when the apartment ads have the most clicks or impressions, and increasing the spend during those periods. Pre-COVID, individuals searching for apartments did so mostly during the evening hours, which suggests that the work day prevented more mid-day searching.

Now, with more people working from home or not working at all, those rules no longer apply. Prospects may be searching for apartments at various times of day, so apartment marketers should do a careful analysis of paid ad performance to determine the best time to schedule the apartment ads for the best ROI.

Seize New Opportunities

Unlike the travel and event sectors, which have plummeted since the pandemic hit, the Multifamily space has remained strong. And just as food delivery and video streaming services have stepped up their advertising due to strong demand, apartment communities could follow suit.

But fear of an unknown future could lead some Multifamily marketers to scale back their apartment paid advertising spend. This means that those who remain in the paid advertising game could reach more prospects at a lower cost due to a decline in competition.

Be Sure to Read the Room

If you’ve noticed a change in advertising content since the pandemic arrived, it’s not your imagination. A study by advertising AI firm Pattern89 found that imagery in social ads has undergone a shift during COVID.

There are 24.7% fewer image and video ads on Facebook and Instagram showing people touching in social settings, like shaking hands and hugging. At the same time, ads depicting cleaning, face and hand washing, and water splashing increased at six times the pre-COVID rate.

Showing human interaction that’s not consistent with our current everyday norms could leave prospects feeling unsure about how safe they’d be in your apartment community. Keep this in mind when coming up with images for your apartment social ads during this time.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to predict how COVID-19 will affect apartment marketing in the coming months and years. While this unknown future can be daunting, marketers should take an approach to apartment paid ads that combines long-term strategy with short-term wins based on our current circumstances. Opportunities for growth are still there, they just might look different, so keep your eyes on the data and adjust your approach as needed.

Respage offers both apartment social advertising and paid search management. If you’re interested in these services, reach out and talk to us!