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'About Me’ Search Trends on Google Don’t Always Apply to Apts

'About Me’ Search Trends
November 2018

When people search, they look for information and advice relevant to their needs. In the past, marketers have been gearing up for “near me” searches.

Now, they also might need to get ready for “about me” queries.

“Just as ‘near me’ is a contextual signal that people want to find something based on their location, these searches for ‘me’ and ‘I’ are signals that people expect personally relevant content,” writes Lisa Gevelber for Think with Google. “Marketers who understand search intent and look for patterns in how people qualify their needs have a big opportunity.”

“This personal advisor theme” is playing out literally, as people are specifically including qualifiers like ‘me’ and ‘I’ in their searches,” Gevelber writes.

“During the past two years, mobile searches with the qualifier ‘for me’ have grown over 60 percent. For example, consumers aren’t just searching for ‘best car insurance’ anymore, they’re searching for ‘best car insurance for me.’ Or, ‘which dog is right for me.’ ”

Mike Whaling, 30 Lines, says it’s important to note that search trends such as these don’t always carry over to apartment shopping the same way they might be affecting other industries.

“Choosing a place to live is a big, personal decision, and Google isn’t quite there yet as far as delivering ‘personalized’ results,” Whaling says. “Google’s own search trend data shows that people simply aren’t searching for terms like ‘best two-bedroom apartments for me.’ There are still a lot of searches for ‘apartments near me’ and similar phrases, but Google is seeing a trend that people are using the ‘near me’ less frequently than in the past.”

Google continues to try to give people insights into which apartments might be the best fit for them, but they’re primarily doing this through Google Maps and Google My Business, Whaling says. For example, in Google Maps, they’re adding things such as custom attributes to help people quickly identify specific amenities and other property features such as wheelchair accessibility.

In Google My Business, they’re going further (by displaying reviews from across the web and highlighting common themes—includes pool, price/value, etc.), Whaling says. Google also is offering the new “Questions & Answers” section, where prospects can ask specific questions about any location. These answers are highlighted on the Google Business listing that shows up every time you search for the property.

“All things considered, Google My Business is the best way for apartment marketers to have their listings show up for specific amenities or attributes (and anyone nearby searching with ‘near me’ queries),” Whaling says.

Another thing communities can do is have a relatable “personality,” Whaling says. “The more you can show who you are and who might want to live there through resident events, programming, partnerships, local PR, etc., the more obvious it becomes to a prospect that your community is “right for me.”

“As we see Google and Facebook target content to our searching and shopping preferences, it makes sense that consumers would start searching to items they would ‘like’ based on those preferences,” Jennifer Staciokas, Senior Vice President, Pinnacle, says. “We are certainly seeing the impact of voice search on our digital campaigns and how these searches are more conversational in nature. I see voice search heading this way, too, based on consumer’s use of Amazon Prime and other on-demand services.”