Speaking the Same Language with Ops Through Data

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Multitouch attribution has quickly become the newest buzzword within the multifamily marketer community. Advanced marketers understand the need for a multitouch platform and the importance of assigning weighted value to various sources.

But until an easy solution is developed and implemented, a lot of multifamily marketers are left having to decode top of the funnel marketing activity to their operations teams. Fortunately, with a little creativity and steadfastness, multifamily marketers can create systems to explain and measure their efforts for operators.

Speaking a different language
Explaining your marketing efforts to the operations team is complicated by the fact that operations and marketing simply aren’t using the same data points. Operations teams are generally tied to the numbers they see in whatever lead generation reports their property management systems are able to produce. These reports can be described as “lacking” at best.

The operations metrics of marketing success from these reports are very different from the measurements marketers use to determine ad source effectiveness. It’s almost as if the two teams speak a different language. A regional manager probably doesn’t understand what an online conversion is on a PPC campaign or community website. But to a marketer, this information is gold.

And when it comes time to show the ROI of marketing budgets, that language barrier is the point of failure.

Custom reporting systems
The solution most multifamily marketers implement is their own reporting system that includes leads and leases from the property management system as well as metrics from Google PPC, Analytics, ILS and Social in an attempt to provide a more comprehensive picture to their operators. This is usually a huge undertaking and those with little bandwidth struggle to maintain data integrity and consistency. But it’s a necessary evil if you want to be a successful marketer and ensure you and your operators are speaking the same language.

At the end of the day, multifamily is an operations driven world, and marketers are just living in it. And ops teams want to know one thing: Are these marketing efforts driving qualified leads and leases at my community?

More ‘splaining’ to do
Even with a custom reporting system, you’ll have to explain a few things to inquiring operators. One of the things most often in need of explanation is how well the pay-per-click budget is performing, and if the significant monthly spend is really generating leads.

Proving the value of a PPC campaign to an operator lies in teaching them how PPC works and impacts the customer lifecycle as a whole. PPC campaigns display ads to prospects looking for apartments in specific neighborhoods where you have communities and drive these highly qualified prospects directly to your website. It can be expensive, depending on your budget, but PPC campaigns result in more qualified leads further down-stream.

When it comes to reporting, here is a good way to define your metrics to operators in order to bridge the language barrier.

  • Impressions: This number shows us the amount of times someone searched for an apartment in a specific neighborhood, and an ad for your community displayed. This number could also be used as a very loose baseline for the amount of people your ad reached and the potential for how many people could have clicked on your ad.
  • Clicks: Think of this as the number of times people saw your ad, were intrigued by the content and decided to click on the ad to learn more about your community. You can also think of this as the number of times we drove someone directly to your website.
  • Click Through Rate: This metric is the number of people who clicked on your ads after seeing them. It is a simple calculation of Clicks/Impressions and can be a useful tool in measuring the success of your ads. It helps you understand how relevant your ads and keywords are to the people searching for apartments online.
  • Cost per Click: This is the amount you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. This price is driven by the competitiveness of keywords you are using in your ads. For example, if you are bidding on the term, “Apartments in Denver,” you might spend more than if you were to bid on the phrase, “Studios in DU,” a more specific phrase leads to hyperlocal searches and more qualified leads.
  • Conversions: Conversion is my favorite metric. At a very high level, it shows you how many people landed on your website and took action to learn more about your community. The best part is that you can define what conversions you want to measure.
  • Conversion Rate: This is simply the rate at which someone clicked on an ad and then took further action to learn more about your community. Maybe they downloaded a brochure, emailed a floor plan or submitted the contact us form. Either way, these actions are a step forward in the prospect journey to leasing an apartment.

The data to support multitouch attribution exists, and now we just need multifamily technology to catch up to the data. Once it does, it will radicalize marketing reporting and ad spend effectiveness.

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