Ad revenues from online classifieds increased by 10% in the past year according to a report out this month by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), from $583 million to $644 million. Pretty modest growth, especially when compared to mobile ad revenue, which grew by 150%: $661 million in 2012 to $1.6 billion in 2013.
Truth be told, online classifieds (which would include real estate and apartment listings) have steadily decreased their total share of America’s internet ad revenue dollars, from roughly 17% in 2006 to now 6%. That could be a result of any number of things, including lowered pricing structures (such as “freemium” models), the rise of content marketing new media outlets like social media, and consumer skepticism toward classified sites with a prohibitive spam and scam presence to weed through.
Certainly, different apartment listing sites are going to have differing performance levels for multifamily properties depending on the area market. And there are residual benefits aside from strict lead generation, including SEO and referral traffic… Some online outlets are just important to the overall marketing mix and retain their staying power as a matter of good practice, which is where ILS marketing will remain for some time. But as this trajectory is set to continue—classifieds step back and mobile ramps up—it’s important for us to be aware of the mobile advertising channels available:
Display Ads: In Q2 2013, over half of mobile ad campaigns were banner ads. Most often, they appear as banners at the top or bottom of a page. Rich media ads outperform standard banners by about 400% according to a study by Opera. As with any display ads on desktop, you need to have the ability to target apartment seekers for your area in order for this to have any real value.
Mobile SEM: Paid search ads for queries performed on mobile devices. The smaller screen limits what users see, so they’re more likely to click-through on top (paid) result than if they were viewing search results on a desktop.
Paid Placement in-App: Mobile apps from games (like Candy Crush Saga) to search apps (like Yelp) to social media (like Facebook), can support in-app ads of a variety of forms, like banners, pop-ups, offers, video, or search placement. Different apps will attract different audiences, so it’s crucial to monitor and test results with any in-app ads, to make sure you’re reaching your target audience.
Mobile ads through Google Adwords cover all these formats, and allow you to monitor performance and conversions. Considering that mobile CPC (cost-per-click) rates are as much as 90% less expensive than current desktop rates, according to the Wall Street Journal, now is the right time to start testing mobile ads as part of your overall apartment website SEO strategy.