AIM Special Report: Media That Makes a Difference

Panelists and attendees shared insights on the online media that best convert leads to leases.

AIM Day 2 2024 conference
The Apartment Innovation and Marketing conference in Huntington Beach, Calif., in 2024. Image by Jordana Rothberg

The increasing demand for modern websites and social media platforms, as well as other media that can make an impact for multifamily developers, was the main topic during the second day of the Apartment Innovation and Marketing conference.

“Websites are a huge initiative for us this year,” Merideth Bunting, vice president of marketing and management services, The Dinerstein Cos., said in a panel in the latter half of the day. After having the same provider for almost a decade, the company is making the switch and starting fresh.

Irini Boeder, vice president of marketing and communications at the Willow Bridge Property Co., explained that in a survey conducted in partnership with the National Multifamily Housing Council, almost half of all prospective residents took the time to view their community’s social media pages.

With Gen Z placing more significance on websites and social media than previous generations, marketers are tasked with keeping up.

The power of media

One ILS case study conducted by RentCafe.com shows that the number one feature that had the biggest impact on leads to lease conversion rates was having more than 20 images on a listing, which made a significant difference in conversion rates.

In another study conducted that surveyed more than 10,000 renters, results showed that the most impactful images for potential renters are interior images. Almost three quarters of those searching for a new home found these images to be the most influential in an apartment search.

Integrating the right media into a website doesn’t have to be a daunting task, especially considering the data-demonstrated results. “It’s worth your time, it’s worth your investment and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time,” Esther Bonardi, vice president, REACH by RentCafe, said.

In another case study by LCP Media, two properties in the same submarket in Austin were compared on leasing data. One had a virtual tour generated for each of its units while the other didn’t have unit level tours. The results were drastic.

For the property with unit level virtual tours, there were 72 percent more net leases and a 38 percent higher lead to lease conversion rate when compared to the property without unit level virtual leases.

“The proof is in the pudding,” said Izzy Carunungan, chief marketing officer at LCP Media.

Videos that work

For the upcoming generation of renters, or Gen Z, one of the most powerful advertising tools is video. But coming up with ideas for what to shoot and knowing where and when to post the content can be a tricky task.

Panelists speaking on the second day of the AIM conference provided attendees with a whole year’s worth of Instagram reel ideas. These included staff introductions, rent payment tutorials, gym workouts, an art showcase, resident polls, sustainable living tips, resident testimonials and local business features.

“If you can’t think of ideas of what to do, go to the hospitality industry and see what they are doing,” Anna Singleton, CEO & Cofounder of Show My Property said.

For hitting a large number of impressions on videos, Ashley Fenlon, vice president of marketing & CX, Mission Rock Residential recommends using TikTok. Similarly, marketers looking for a lot of impressions and working on a tight budget can also utilize YouTube.

Fenlon also found, through conducting her own research, that website hero videos, or videos that pop up as soon as a resident lands on the property page, are incredibly impactful. Between alike properties in the same markets with a similar marketing budget, those with a website hero had a far higher engagement rate on the community home page.

Devin Lusk, director of marketing, American Landmark Apartments, similarly found that website hero videos have a direct impact on her performance metrics. Specifically, when launching hero videos onto the company’s property websites, website views increased by 12 percent, engagement increased by 115 percent and conversion rates increased by over 10,000 percent.

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