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What Apartment Marketers Need to Know About Mobile Micro-Moments

Thanks to smartphones, consumers expect companies to address their needs in the blink of an eye and on demand.

Think about all the times when you might turn to a device to take action or find information on whatever you need or want. Google calls these instances micro-moments. These micro-moments are reshaping the ways marketers think about mobile marketing strategies. 

In many ways, when it comes to the rental journey, micro-moments are the path that leads potential residents to a property management company’s site and hopefully to signing a lease. According to a Google whitepaper, “mobile conversion rates have shot up by 29% in the last year alone.”

NAA spoke with Karen A. Kossow, Vice President of Marketing, Fore Property Co. Recently, she was a panelist at the NAA Education Conference and Exposition discussing "Succeeding in a Mobile World: Google Talks Micro-Moments" alongside Esther Bonardi, Senior Director of Marketing Strategy at Yardi, and Ben Killmer, Strategic Partner Manager at Google. Kossow spoke with us about how the apartment industry can best optimize for micro-moment marketing.

What micro-moments would you say are most relevant to the apartment industry?

The micro moment may vary from market to market. It’s going to vary between properties and demographics, but perform a deep dive into Google Analytics and you’ll see a lot of patterns. Look to make sure you’re optimized for more local terms. For some locations, if someone is searching on their phone for the name of your company or apartment community, chances are they’re in the neighborhood and saw a sign. Focus on branded terms, because they may be walking by and see your name on a sign.

Where should a property management company start, if they want to make sure that they’re optimized for mobile micro-moments?

Make sure you have a mobile-friendly website; without that, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. That piece of advice may sound like something that everyone should know, but there are many property management companies who don’t do it. Be sure to have a solid, responsive design. Nobody wants to have to manually increase the size of the screen to see information. Make sure that your site structure makes things easy to find and the navigation menus are easy to locate and to read.

What type of content do you find to be the most compelling for potential residents?

Floor plans, photos and video. On our sites, we notice that potential residents are very interested in floor plans. We make sure those are easy to find, along with any photos or videos we have. One fact that was mentioned at the panel was that only 18 percent of people are using video in the apartment industry, but when they do, there is a high rate of conversion.

Is there a certain hot amenity at the moment that really grabs people through an online search?

I really don’t think that’s the key – especially for mobile. People do search for pet friendliness, but they’re really searching for the more practical like price range. In looking at our data, people are spending thirty seconds less on mobile as compared to desktop, so that’s not going to give them a ton of time to look for thing like that. 

How do you determine who at your company is in charge of Google optimizations? 

Bigger property management companies have someone who is handling search engine marketing (SEM) and can stay up-to-date. Smaller companies don’t normally have this person, so they’ll have to partner with somebody like Yardi to help with SEM.

Is there a seasonality component for micro-moments?

From a paid search engine-marketing (SEM) standpoint, things can vary seasonally. In the winter and other slower times of year, sites get less traffic, so some marketers want to spend more money to make up for it. But the truth is there are fewer people looking to move. I would budget less for a paid effort in a slow time of year. Why spend money to have people click on an ad when they have no intention of moving?

Is there any consideration for micro-moments for current residents?

For current residents, I think micro-moments are relevant to the resident portal. We use the Rent Café platform as our resident portal, and we do want that portal to be mobile-responsive. Residents also appreciate being able to use their smartphones to pay rent and submit a maintenance request.

If you missed NAA's recent Education Conference and Exposition held in San Francisco, you can access the presentations through our REWIND program.