3 Tips for Great Apartment Display Advertisements

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When was the last time you actually clicked on a display advertisement?

If you can't remember, that's understandable. In fact, the average click-through rate of ads in Google's Display Network, which includes YouTube, has plummeted to just 0.47 percent. This is a byproduct of the negative stigma associated with display advertisements—that they're an annoyance that constantly interrupts a user's browsing experience.

Fortunately, ads for apartment communities are displayed to really small, targeted audiences. Individuals on the receiving end of one have either begun their search or already expressed interest in the apartments featured. If your apartment community is currently running display ads, this means that more often than not your ad will be relevant to a user.

However, in order for those ads to have your desired impact—that is, help you generate more qualified leads and sign more leases—then they must feature attractive, helpful content. Though someone on the receiving end may be a part of your ad's target audience, the ad still has to be able to combat the selective attention (or banner blindness) internet users have developed in order for that person to click on it and visit your community's website.

With this in mind, here are 3 tips for great apartment display ads that make prospective residents stop, look, and engage:

1. Use professional photos and video for display ads.

To signify why this is vital, let's run an experiment. What is your immediate reaction when comparing the top photo to the bottom photo?

3 Tips for Great Apartment Display Advertisements

3 Tips for Great Apartment Display Advertisements 2

Even though it's the same property, it's likely you'd rather rent from the apartment community in the bottom image instead of the top one. This is because the part of your brain that is responsible for seeing is also responsible for making decisions. The bottom photo was edited by one of the professionals on RentVision's in-house media team, providing an appeal that's needed to capture the attention of apartment hunters and get them to pursue further engagement.

This psychological factor becomes even more critical with display ads. If the photo or video content that's featured isn't attractive or professional, it could have a negative impact on the success of the ad and hurt the amount of website visitors you need to achieve your occupancy goals.

2. Feature floorplan-specific or other relevant content in your display ad.

No one decides to sign a lease at an apartment because of its branding. They decide to make the life-changing, financially-implicating choice of their future home based on the things that matter most: the actual unit they're going to live in. 

Instead of exposing prospective residents to your apartment community's logo, colors, or other brand elements in your display ads, a better approach would be to feature photos or videos of each of your floorplans. These are more relevant to the searcher, and will have a greater impact on their decision to click on the ad. 

Keep in mind, most display ads for apartment communities are part of remarketing campaigns. Prospective residents who are shown a display ad have actively sought out those specific apartments and visited the website. This is key because, when your display ads are designed to showcase the inside of units, exposing those units again to someone who actually saw them previously builds familiarity and trust with your apartments. Now that prospect has become a great, qualified lead who is more likely to convert to a lease when they click on the display ad and engage with your apartments again.

If it's within your capacity and budget, you can go further with your display content and feature the amenities they'll get to enjoy, too—especially if you're confident that things like your pool, gym, or clubhouse are differentiators that make your apartments more appealing.

This GIF features a sample of a video display advertisement RentVision produced for one of its clients. It shows the inside of both a unit and the clubhouse.

3. Place a clear, inviting call-to-action within your display ad.

Again, the goal for any display ad is to entice apartment searchers to click on it and visit your community's website. It's there where, if everything is in order, prospects will be able to fully engage with your apartments, view walkthrough videos, and more. Great, influential media featuring relevant content are the first steps to running great display ads.

The last step, and perhaps the most pivotal, is placing a clear, inviting call-to-action within the display ad.

Calls-to-action, or CTAs, take on varying forms, but the most popular is a text 'button' for users to click on in the ad. A 'button' is a visible element that makes it clear to users what you're asking them to do,  which increases the likelihood that the ad will generate more clicks.

However, the text within that button cannot be overlooked. The CTA should be inviting, but not overpowering. For example, you'd never want that text to say 'Rent Now'. That kind of CTA is a turn-off because it assumes that the apartment hunter wants to get directed to an application and skip several of the important steps in their unique leasing journey when they click on the ad. You also should avoid something like 'Click Here' because that's more of a direction than an invitation.

Better CTAs are more focused on prompting prospective residents to the very next stage of the process. An example of this would be something like, 'Watch a walkthrough video tour'. Asking someone to do something like that invites them to seek more information, and not to make instant decisions. This approach will also help improve your overall click-through rate, and get those visitors to stay on your website longer.


Though there is a negative stigma surrounding display ads, apartment marketers shouldn't have to worry since their ads are usually only being shown to small, targeted audiences.

However, it's clear that because the average internet user has developed selective attention when it comes to display ads, the content of the ads must be attractive, helpful, feature relevant content, and have a clear call-to-action. Otherwise, you'd be spending your marketing budget on ads that won't generate leads and leases.

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