Digital Marketing

Which Advertising Sources Are Best For Multifamily Marketers?

Which Advertising Sources Are Best For Multifamily Marketers

For decades multifamily marketers had few options for highlighting their apartment communities to prospective residents. They were either placing a text-only advertisement in the classifieds section of their local newspaper or a listing in a printed city guide with limited space for photos and text.

Thankfully, the digital era opened up many more options to showcase apartments. But with more marketing channels at their disposal than ever, which ones produce the best results for the multifamily industry?

In this blog, we’ll help you select the advertising sources that are the most effective (and less expensive) for your apartment’s marketing strategy.

What ad sources do multifamily marketers typically use?

Though not a definitive list, these are just some of the more widely-used ad sources apartment marketers use.

Tradition (Non-Digital)

Internet Listing Services Social Media Platforms Digital Advertisements

Print Guides


Bus Signage

Roadside Banner



Meta (Facebook, Instagram)


Google Ads

Meta Ads

While there are plenty more advertising options available for apartment marketers today, using as many of them as possible isn’t a practical approach. You’re not selling cereal—you’re trying to lease apartments, and the truth is that your community isn’t for everyone.

You could utilize many different ad sources if you’re trying to get as many eyeballs on your apartments as possible. But doing so will only cause you to spend tons of money with little return. You need to understand that just because more sources are available to advertise your communities doesn’t mean you need (or should) use all of them. Each has it’s pros and cons.

Let’s break down each of these varying sources to help you discover which is best for multifamily marketers.

Traditional Ads

The Good

Traditional-style ads can be beneficial if you’re trying to build awareness of your apartments within their local marketplace. A specific instance of this is when you’re marketing a community that’s under construction. Placing large, visible banners with that community’s name, logo, color scheme, and expected completion date around the construction site is an advertising tactic that works.

The Bad

You cannot verify the success of your traditional-style apartment ads because you don’t have any means of tracking how many people they reach or if they convert to leases. You sign a check for the cost of that ad and never know if you’ll get that investment paid back with qualified leads or leased units. Hundreds of thousands of individuals may see your billboard on the highway, but how many are looking to rent an apartment?

Internet Listing Services

The Good

Internet Listing Services, like and Zillow, achieve two positive things for multifamily marketers. One is that they are reputable amongst apartment searchers, giving your communities plenty of visibility. Secondly, they generate plenty of leads for your leasing staff. Smaller or lower asset class apartments benefit the most from using listing services.

The Bad

Listing services limit your apartment’s ability to stand out, ultimately lowering the quality of leads they garnered. Your apartments will always appear alongside their 100 closest competitors, and spending more money is the only method that avoids having them drowned out. The other issue with the listing service model is that they require contracts that lock you into monthly payments, causing you to pay for leads even when your community’s occupancy is strong.

Social Media Platforms

The Good

You’d never need to worry about visibility on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Their audiences are enormous, which helps when you’re dealing with excess vacancy at your apartments and are in desperate need of more interest and leads. (Paying for social media ads is the perfect answer to this scenario. More on that in a bit.)

The Bad

Social media marketing, especially in the multifamily sphere, is better for reaching out to current tenants instead of as a means to attract new ones. You can use your social profiles to highlight upcoming community events and similar highlights, but relying on them as one of your top advertising sources isn’t the best practice. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, makes it tricky to advertise for apartments as establishing audiences for those ads could run afoul of Fair Housing Laws. You can only target individuals via a specified geographic region.

Digital Ads

The Good

Digital ads, especially Google Ads, are critical for getting your apartments in front of prospective residents interested in them. An advertisement for your apartments will be at the top of the search engine results page when someone searches for them by name in Google, thus driving those interested prospects to your website, where they can begin the leasing process. Plus, you can use various campaigns towards a targeted audience and adjust your ad spend any time you want.

The Bad

One of the obstacles to adopting digital ads is that they are challenging to set up and manage without prior expertise. If you don’t have an in-house marketing team to design different ads or a specialist who knows how to make the proper campaign adjustments, you won’t see any noticeable change to your lead or lease count. Finding an apartment marketing vendor who specializes in Google PPC campaigns is best.

Verdict: Digital Ads Are The Most Effective For Multifamily

The critical reason is that digital ads are dynamic, which perfectly aligns with what apartment marketers need. After all, if occupancy changes frequently, your marketing plan must also change with it. In their excellent Guide To Digital Advertising For Apartment Communities ebook, the team at RentVision laid out the best argument about digital ads for multifamily: “They allow you to increase demand when you need it the most, and save marketing dollars when occupancy is strong.”

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