If you're advertising your apartments on Google, you now have the ability to apply an image extension to your existing text ads.
Image extensions allow advertisers to upload rich, relevant photos to complement their text ad campaigns in Google. The addition of a compelling visual element not only gives their products or services stronger placement on the search engine results page (SERP), but also improves their ad campaign's overall visibility and performance.
This is a huge development for apartment marketers. Images already play a major role in your marketing strategy by showing prospective residents what your apartment community has to offer. By adding an appealing image of your community as an extension to your Google Ads campaigns, you can capture and keep the attention of more prospective residents at a decisive moment in their apartment search.
Example of an apartment community's Google Ad featuring an image extension.
To measure their effectiveness, we created a control group of 18 of our clients' apartment communities and applied image extensions to their Google Ads campaigns in July of 2021. Three encouraging trends occurred:
Google Ad image extensions increased conversions by 105%
In our measurements, conversions were tabulated in two separate ways. A conversion was counted for every minute someone spent on one of our clients' apartment community websites after they clicked on the Google Ad that featured an image extension. A conversion also occurred when said website visitors generated from that ad called the leasing office.
It took Google's machine learning algorithms some time to figure out that text ad campaigns with the added image extension generated more clicks, and more importantly, engaged website visitors.
In order to see a similar improvement in performance after adding image extensions to your Google Ads campaigns, it's key to be patient and let the search engine learn that those ads are more effective. The wait will be well worth it!
Google Ad image extensions increased Average Session Duration by 33%
Average Session Duration is a metric that measures the average amount of time a user spends on a website.
After adding image extensions to our clients' Google Ads campaigns, the amount of time users spent on one of their community's websites after clicking on the ad also increased. (This confirms why conversions soared as their values also increased by the amount of minutes users spent on the websites.)
This means that the addition of image extensions not only increased SERP visibility, but also generated more qualified traffic to our clients' community websites because those visitors ultimately engaged with the website content longer.
Usually the longer a prospective resident spends on an apartment community website, the more likely it is that they call the leasing office to schedule a tour (which also counts as a conversion).
Google Ad Image Extensions Helped Decrease The Cost Per Conversion By 40%
Cost per conversion is a key performance metric that helps determine if the Google Ads campaigns are obtaining the right amounts of qualified traffic to our clients' apartment community websites.
After adding image extensions to their Google Ads, we've observed a 40% decrease in the overall cost per conversion for our clients' campaigns!
This, as mentioned before, is a direct result of those campaigns producing more visitors who spend greater amounts of time on the website and who call the leasing office.
Since capturing and keeping the attention of prospective residents with your marketing is paramount towards earning more leases, obtaining qualified traffic via cost-effective Google Ads campaigns with image extensions is a huge win for apartment marketers.
How To Add Image Extensions To Your Google Ad Campaigns
- Open your Google Ads account.
- Find the 'Ads & Extensions' tab in the menu on the left side of the page, and click on "Extensions'.
- Click on the blue plus (+) button, then click 'Image extension'.
- A 'Select campaigns' window will appear. We'd recommend selecting all of your campaigns. When finished choosing the campaigns you'd like to add image extensions to, click 'Done' and you will be returned to the Extensions page.
- Select 'Create new' under Extension.
- Click the '+ Images' button and upload your desired images. We'd recommend using 4-5 of your apartment community's best images. Be sure to include a picture of a modeled unit instead of an empty one. If possible, try adding pictures of your swimming pool or clubhouse interior.
- Once you've added the photos, click on each image and choose how to crop it. Google allows you to crop with either the 1:1 (square) and 1:9:1 (double square) ratio aspects. We'd recommend selecting the double square ratio as that will allow you to feature more of your image within the Google Ad. When done, click the 'Save' button.
- You will be shown a preview of what your Google Ads will look like when the image extension is applied. Review, and then click 'Save' again once you're done.
- Be patient, and wait for Google's machine learning algorithms to do their work.
- Get more qualified traffic and an increase in conversions!
Apartment marketers now have the ability to add images of their community to their existing text ads in Google, helping improve their SERP visibility and overall performance.
We've observed that adding image extensions to your Google Ads campaigns significantly increases both conversions and time spent on websites, as well as a decrease in overall cost per conversion. They helped our control group of client apartment communities gain more qualified traffic at an affordable price—that is a win for every apartment marketer!
That is why we've now added image extensions to every one of our clients' campaigns.
At RentVision, we manage millions of dollars worth of our clients' Google and Facebook Ads each year. We wrote a free ebook, The RentVision Guide To Digital Advertising For Apartment Communities, that explains everything you need to know about how to deploy an effective and affordable digital ad strategy that produces more qualified leads to your leasing office.