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Let’s close the tab on web source tracking

Last week, we discussed why PMC’s should be looking at the cost/lease instead of the cost/lead. We left off by saying Dynamic Source Insertion (DSI) and cookies are the answer to your Overly Attributed Property Situation (OAPS).

This week, we are going to break down both of these terms and explore how you can implement these solutions.

Finally, you can start gathering accurate, actionable metrics. Hello easy, breezy budgeting!

We recommend using a source management system since this can get a bit technical, but it’s up to you.

There are three places along the customer’s journey that cause your CRM to have incorrect source attribution.

  1. Lead visits your property website
  2. Lead revisits your property website
  3. Lead fills out a form (guest card, schedule a tour, etc.)



How can I fix it? It’s just three steps!



Step 1: Add tracking tags to every source

Congrats! You already learned how to tag your source! (Here’s a refresher in case you don’t remember). Let’s keep going.



Step 2: Add Cookies to Remember your Source for Weeks

Adding cookies take your lead source attribution accuracy over the top! And no, we aren’t talking about Thin Mints, although I’m sure they wouldn’t hurt!



Cookies have been huge in the data-tracking world. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion about what they actually do.

We like to think of them like actual cookies.

Let’s say you eat a cookie for lunch. If you are like us, you probably have a light coating of cookie crumbs on your shirt.

You carry on with business as usual, but the cookie crumbs on your sweater tell everyone about your lunchtime indulgence.

The tracking cookie does the same thing. It clings to your prospects and tells you what source they visited before coming to your website.

The great thing about cookies is that they last for a while. For example, a prospect might find your property from Zillow.com and then visit your Facebook page to learn more before filling out a guest card. Cookies remember how the lead found your property in the first place and attribute the source accordingly.

Okay, I get the point, but who wouldn’t wipe the cookie crumbs off? Well, your prospects have that option too. They can clear their cache and just like that, your cookie crumb trail is gone.

Luckily, most people are not that concerned about having a clean cache, so most of your cookies will stay put.

Cookies are an extra step to ensure you are reporting the original source of your leads. Cookies and tracking tags work together to resolve issue #1.


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You’re so vain. Or maybe it’s just your metrics.

Last week, we talked about tracking tags. You know, the first step in tracking web leads. Yay!

If you stop here, you will be able to visit Google Analytics and see how many people are coming to your site from each source.

Double yay! Or not.

Google Analytics only provides an overview of how many leads you received from each source. You can’t see the source of a specific individual in your CRM. Without matching your leads per source to an individual, you can’t identify how many leases you got from each source.

This may not seem like a big deal, but trust us, it is.


Would You Rather?

Let’s think about it this way.

Take a look at the statistics Google Analytics can provide about your sources.


Now, let’s look at the same sources using the metrics provided by a CRM.



If you are relying on Google Analytics, you have no way of knowing which sources result in your PMC getting new leases signed.

This makes it impossible to identify the top lease source or perform a cost analysis to see which sources are most cost-effective.


Vanity Metric: Cost/lead/source

If you are making decisions based strictly on cost/lead, you are budgeting based on popularity, not quality.

There have been more than enough high school movies that explained that popularity is not a worthy metric (Think: The Breakfast Club, Mean Girls, You Can’t Buy Love, and the list goes on).


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This will stop you in your tracking.

Whether you are just starting to track lead sources or are stuck with an OAPS report, the first step is to get your web source tracking set up correctly for your property. We have identified two key places along a prospect’s apartment search where you are misattributing the source to property website and how to solve it.     Prospect visits your website Prospect fills out a form   Don't panic. We can solve both of these problems. This blog will focus on solving the first case of inaccurate reporting leads to ill-informed conclusions about how to spend your marketing budget.       Luckily, the solution is simple. You need to make sure every source has a tracking tag. Once these are added, you can see your lead sources directly in your CRM. Yep, you read that right. No more doubts about where your leads are coming from. Adios, unknown campaign success. Au revoir checking Google Analytics to track your sources. Your sources listed in your CRM will be correct. A.K.A. more data-driven marketing decisions and fact-based proposals! Let’s get tracking!   What is a tracking tag? The first step to tracking web sources is to make sure every source has a tracking tag. A tracking tag is a code added to the end of a URL. These codes don’t alter the URL webpage. They allow you to identify how a lead found your webpage.       At first glance, it looks like gibberish. After reading this article, you see t......
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If you are reading this, you might have a tracking problem.

Spoiler alert: The majority of your leads aren’t coming from your property website. It would be awesome if your prospects search for your property website right off the bat. However, that’s just not the case for most properties, even though a lot of PMC source reports say so.   If your sourcing report looks like the graph on the left, keep reading. Your source tracking is not set up correctly. Instead of tracking the original source of a lead, you are recording the last place your prospect visited. Once you have the full story of how your prospects are finding your property, you can dig into which sources are most cost-effective and allocate resources accordingly for next year’s budgets.   Why is the Original Source Important? When my daughter was growing up, her favorite movie was A Cinderella Story, starring Hilary Duff. Her Dad’s catchphrase was, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”   Maybe I’m sentimental. Maybe it’s just an inspiring quote. Whatever the reason, this quote stuck with me. For years I believed this quote was a result of great screenwriting. Recently, it was not-so-gently brought to my attention this is a famous Babe Ruth quote. Needless to say, it was embarrassing. How was I supposed to know? The movie never stated he was quoting Babe Ruth, and technically I was right. Her dad did say it. However, he isn’t the original source. Even though it was an honest mistake, that didn’t stop me from suffering t......
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6 Reasons Your Lead Tracking is Failing

Budget season. Don’t you shudder a little just reading it? We get it, especially after reading this Forbes article which stated, “74% of marketers can’t measure or report how their efforts impact their business.” Creating a new budget when you can’t prove what is working and what isn’t is not an easy task. However, if you are using lead source attribution to create your marketing reports, it’s not that bad. We created an easy-to-follow guide to help multifamily marketers get the most out of lead source attribution. The first step is to correctly track your sources. We pay careful attention to the four areas along the prospect’s journey where lead tracking often fails.        1. Web sources are not properly tagged    2. Phone sources do not have unique numbers    3. Phone sources do not have Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI    4. Web sources do not have Dynamic Source Insertion (DSI)    5. Sources are changed when reported in Lead-to-Lease   Once you are confident your sources are being tracked correctly, you can start analyzing the data. We will discuss how to convert your data into useful insights. Additionally, we will address the main issue most multifamily marketers face when analyzing their data.          6. Multifamily companies struggle to consolidate their data. By taking the leases per source data from your CRM and combining it with your cost per source data from your budget, you can perform a cost analysis (calculate the cost per lease) for your source......
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Prioritizing Prospect Lead Channels – A Few Takeaways

I attended “Prioritizing Lead Channels and Maximizing on Marketing Spend” session at the NMHC OpTech Conference, and came away with many insights I thought you all would enjoy. Ø Virginia Love, Waterton Residential:  Growing importance of tracking the visit set ratio.  This is the percent of leads that turn into a visit.  With all the discussion on cost per lead versus cost per lease, it’s interesting to see Virginia placing emphasis on this midpoint metric. Ø Lynette Hegeman, Gables Residential:  Gables finds that prospects use 5 to 7 sources to find an apartment. Ø When discussing which lead source gets “credit”, Israel Carunungan of Greystar cares most about the lead source that ultimately converts, while Virginia and Josh McDonald of Holland Residential give credit to the first source of the lead. Ø Josh noted an industry survey that reported 37% of prospect leads were not even followed up on! Ø On the subject of effectiveness of different types of leads, Virginia said that phone leads were most effective in converting to a visit, followed by online chat, and lastly email.  However, email leads were the quickest to convert, and email leads converted 4 times better if the community called the prospect rather than emailing back. Ø Josh noted that 8% of visits were attributed to mobile lead sources in 2011, but jumped to 25% in 2012.  Additionally, mobile SEM is seeing extremely strong returns with 13% of spend resulting in 33% of results. Ø Virginia shared her strong results with RentMineOnline, where an investm......
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