Apartment Living BlogMarketing And Tech Trends › Looking Forward to 2018: 11 Marketing Trends to Shape the Apartment Industry

We are grateful for the opportunity to support your marketing efforts in 2017. And, as it is spirit of giving, we have made a donation to Toys for Tots in honor of our caring customers. We wish you a bright holiday season and a successful 2018 and present this round-up of apartment industry trends and predictions to give you a leg up on the competition. From marketing to technology, here’s what you need to know about the 2018 rental market.


Social Media Trends

Keep It Visual: In 2017, we saw visual content’s increasing traction in social media, and it’s currently one of the top priorities of content creators. We expect this trend to continue into 2018 with a focus on visual stories and personalization. Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to show what’s going on in your community. “It means giving your property a personality and evoking an emotional response that makes residents feel good about living there and inspires prospective renters to want to join the party,” says ForRent.com Assistant VP of Social Media, Erica Campbell Byrum.


Influencer Marketing: According to Entrepreneur Magazine, nearly 95 percent of marketers who use an influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. By leveraging residents with large networks, you can further promote your brand, lifestyle and reputation. It’s particularly effective for connecting with younger Millennial and Gen Z renters who are heavily influenced by peer-based marketing. “They don’t have to have a huge following to have influence; the sweet spot appears to be between 1,000 and 5,000 followers,” says the National Multifamily Housing Council, which recommends looking at residents including “folks like chefs or photographers” to find potential influencers.


Advertising Dollars Spent on Social: The busy season for leasing is shifting earlier and earlier, and it’s currently from February to July. In order to prepare for a successful early spring, now is the time to launch your social media advertising campaign. With targeted advertising getting more customizable, you can create a refined target for prospective renters, including demographics, behavior or contact information. If you’re having a difficult time leveraging your budget for social media advertising, these six tips can help you amplify your marketing budget by demonstrating the return on your investment.


Online Trends

First Impressions: The speed of content is accelerating, and its availability is expanding. People form a first impression in just 50 milliseconds, says Inc Magazine, so it’s important to get it right. From a nicely designed online presence to high search rankings and positive online reviews, your digital first impression in 2018 needs to be as good as the apartment itself.


Mobile-first: Mobile-friendly has been critical for marketers since 2015 when Google searches on a mobile device surpassed desktops and laptops. In fact, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. Yet the impact of mobile is only expected to grow as Google is set to launch a mobile-first index in 2018. To get ready, use this mobile-first checklist that includes testing your site’s mobile readiness on Google and Bing.


Voice-optimized Content: The number of online searches that have been conducted via voice search has grown to 20% and is expected to reach 50% by 2020. Whether it’s done via a phone assistant like Siri or a smart home device like Amazon’s Alexa, voice searches are typically questions and are often longer than text-based queries due to the relative ease of speaking over typing. One way to optimize for voice search is to adjust content to more natural language patterns. For example, a text search for “Chicago studio apartments” would typically translate to a longer voice search such as “Where can I find a studio apartment to rent in Chicago?”


Multifamily Housing Market

Fair Housing Laws: Recent changes in marijuana laws continue to affect management of multifamily apartments. In particular, smoke-free communities are seeing requests for medical marijuana accommodations. In many cases, the fair housing laws about medical marijuana are still being written. However, even in locations where marijuana has been legalized, it is still within a property manager’s rights to ban the use or possession of marijuana. Have a question about another aspect of fair housing? Review our A to Z Fair Housing Guide.


National Forecasts: “Real estate is local,” notes Forbes in its most recent housing forecast. And while your city may have its own market forces shaping the culture and demand of apartment rentals, it’s still helpful to zoom out to the bigger picture of real estate trends. Pew Research Center reports that there are currently more U.S. households renting than at any point in the past 50 years and 65% are currently renting as a result of circumstance.


Impact of Short-Term Rentals: The rise of vacation rentals and short-term housing sublets have apartment managers paying attention to potential effects on the apartment market. An increase in Airbnb listings has been correlated with higher rents. For example, in the central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy, Airbnb listings grew by 41% every year between 2012 and 2016. During the same time period, rent prices grew about 7.7% annually, or about $131 per year. While Airbnb listings could be an effective market indicator, apartment communities that prohibit this type of activity have turned to monitoring services like Sublet Alert to be alerted when their apartments are listed as vacation rentals.


Technology Shifts

Text Messaging for Business: Communicating with prospective residents via email is phasing out. Text messaging for business hit an all time high in 2017 with 80% of people using text messaging for business, and it’s expected to grow even more. Whereas only 20% of emails are opened, text messages are far superior with a 98% open rate. Apartment managers who use tools to send mass texts to residents are taking advantage of texting’s bigger impact. By allowing for faster responses and easier communication, bulk texting via Community Messenger is giving some communities a leg up on the competition by streamlining and organizing resident communications.


High-Tech Frontier: For both communications and digital content, emerging technologies are poised to make a big impact in how the apartment rental business is conducted. For example, growing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots can answer resident questions in real-time. In fact, 45% of end users prefer chatbots as the primary method of communication. Other high-tech and emerging technologies that are expected to take off in 2018 include using machine learning for ad management, quantitative-based marketing using data science, increased personalization of content using ABM and the growth of augmented reality content.


As always, ForRent.com is on the cutting edge of innovating technology to ensure we evolve with the latest trends and consumer demands. Review our suite of products and services that drive leads, build your brand and retain residents by visiting https://www.forrent.com/solutions/.



Wendy Froehlich


Wendy Froehlich, VP of Marketing, joined ForRent.com in 2006 and is responsible for overseeing national marketing initiatives including events, sales materials and promotions, advertising, and other digital marketing efforts. Prior to joining ForRent, Wendy worked for PolyVision Corporation – a division of Steelcase, Coca-Cola Fountain and many years in account services for HCD Advertising in Atlanta, GA and Virginia Beach, VA.

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