Property managers seeking to gain attention from a wider pool of renters in the new year should double down on their Google Business Profiles, a new study from rental industry marketing company RentPath shows.
Rental properties with all fields populated on their Google Business Profile (GBP) saw online impressions of potential renters increase by 67 percent and online actions of potential renters increase by 112 percent, according to RentPath’s data. Images also drove potential renter engagement with management companies online, gaining companies 50 percent more impressions and 84 percent more actions than profiles that had no images.
Google recently changed “Google My Business” to “Google Business Profile” and announced new features with the change that allow businesses to claim and verify their profile through Google Search and Google Maps, as well as conduct messaging directly from Google Search.
For this study, RentPath researchers in October manually uploaded data from RentPath’s Content Manager to 423 test location profiles and tracked 1,020 additional locations with no changes made to the property’s GBP.
“Having a GBP page is like taking out an ad in The New York Times, except it only costs time to fill out,” Greg Waggoner, a senior product manager at RentPath, said in the report. “You can either put some info in a small corner box, or you can take out a full-page ad. A well realized GBP is a full-page ad, and the more page space you can claim, the better results you should expect.”
Savvy renters consider between three and seven different properties when searching for their next rental, according to a 2020 survey from the National Multifamily Housing Council, and in order to help narrow their decision, more renters are looking up a company’s online reviews. RentPath’s report noted that 72 percent of renters looked at online reviews (including Google reviews) when looking for their next apartment and 85 percent reported that what was found in those reviews swayed them in their ultimate decision.
“The clearest takeaway is that the more content you have on your GBP, the more impressions you’re going to get and the more actions people are going to take,” Waggoner said. “And that’s a good thing.”
Images alone drove the biggest engagement with GBPs, with profiles that included images gaining 41 percent more requests for driving directions and 22 percent more website clicks, on top of their 50 percent more impressions and 84 percent more actions overall.
Posts on a company’s GBP increased impressions by 49 percent and increased actions by 31 percent. Meanwhile, “about” content drove impressions up by 36 percent and actions by 40 percent. “Q&A” content also helped drive actions like phone calls, RentPath said.
Management companies that get a head start on their profiles now still have a chance to get ahead of the game in 2022, RentPath’s report noted. The company’s research team found that GBPs are still not yet widely used by many companies — 96 percent of properties in the study’s control group did not have complete GBPs.
“There’s a big gap there,” Waggoner said. “And that gap in content is what caused the test group to outperform the control group on nearly every metric.”