G5 heard the same question again and again. National marketing data in senior living doesn’t help me — don’t you have anything for my market?
“Now that we’re digging into specific metros, we can give each operator a better idea of what a CPC (cost-per-click) or cost-per-acquisition is in their region to benchmark against,” says Doug Johnson, president at senior living MarTech (marketing technology) company G5+LL.
Enter the 2022 G5+LL State of the Industry Deep Dive report. The report looks at senior living marketing data in 14 metro areas nationwide. The metros, listed from highest ad spend to lowest:
- Dallas / Fort Worth
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
“We’ve always said that your marketing is only as good as the data that backs it up,” Johnson says. “This report helps you make data-informed decisions when it comes to your marketing, and on a very specific metro level.”
Here are three key takeaways from the 2022 report.
The industry is showing post-COVID occupancy stability
The findings in the 2022 G5+LL State of the Industry Deep Dive can be summarized in one word: stability.
After higher variability in previous years due to COVID-19, that’s a good sign. By drilling into occupancy data, Johnson sees additional insights that help operators understand their individualized roles in national trends. Averages are helpful, but the distribution of the occupancy rates is interesting.
According to Beth Mace at NIC, 30% of properties in senior housing have occupancies above 90%, while 40% have occupancies below 80%. The best-in-class operators are largely in that top 30%.
“I always think of how we can help our clients get into that top 30%, or help keep them there,” Johnson says. “Ever-improving lead-generation strategies based on their data is one way.”
Beware the “rising tide” of ad spend
Part of an operator’s occupancy success is its marketing strategy and ad budget. While the G5+LL report shows a national average of $1,572 monthly ad spend, metros with higher occupancy tended to spend less, while those that needed to fill occupancy tended to spend more.
Inversely, metros with high occupancy had to compete for inquiries, which caused a higher cost per inquiry vs those areas with low occupancy. The average cost per inquiry across all metros was $110 with a low of $61 and a high of $181.
“Ad spend has gone up across the industry, and part of that has been the fact that there are more budgets going into Google ads, Facebook ads and Bing ads,” Johnson says. “Those ad networks are becoming more competitive as more providers add budget to pay-to-play.”
Johnson calls this the “rising tide lifts all boats” concept of ad spend, and not in a good way. This concept of cost-per-click increasing means operators need to better target for qualified leads and not waste their finite budget on white noise — the unqualified leads.
Your future residents are taking longer to contact you
To Johnson, one of the most insightful and important elements of the 2022 report is what it reveals about the customer journey. For today’s senior living prospect, the customer journey, defined as when they start researching until when they call a community for more information, has increased about 11%, going from 28.8 days up to 32 days.
“The journey is getting longer year over year, and also getting deeper,” Johnson says. “Of those 32 days, they’re taking more time to digest information along touchpoints. Website views. Ad clicks. Looking at your social networks. Reading your reviews. Asking questions on Google Business Profile. Those are all considered touchpoints. And what we’re able to help with is making sure that all of those touchpoints have a cohesive message.”
That cohesive messaging is important because for an operator that does not use marketing technology services like the ones that G5+LL offer, their potential residents are invisible to them for those 32 days.
“We call this ‘The Invisible Period’ and we can make those seniors and their families visible by showing you which touchpoints are most important in their journey,” he says.
The top three senior living touchpoints, according to the G5+LL data are:
- Google Business Profile: 36.4% of high-intent leads
- Organic search and websites: 35.2%
- Digital advertising: 35.1%
Take your prospect insights to the next level
In total, G5 has observed 57.8 million touchpoints. That’s 57.8 million unique journeys that all senior living prospects are taking, across their 32-day journey, while they interact with an operator’s digital brand.
“For me, the biggest takeaway of the report is that when we’re looking at the researcher’s journey, it’s not about focusing on the last touch or the first touch, but looking at that journey as a whole,” Johnson says. “We are tracking that journey from the first click on Google to a qualified call, and ultimately a move-in with a lease sign. We are tracking the ROI of your marketing investment and pulling insights from our multi-touch attribution model into what truly helped convert that lead so we can learn and adapt strategies nightly. That’s where technology can help the senior living industry do things we haven’t been able to do before.”
This article is sponsored by G5+LL. To gain the newest senior living marketing insights for your region, download for free the G5+LL State of the Industry Deep Dive.
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