Earlier this week, Google made some interesting announcements to create less friction and greater ease while shopping online. Since last year, Google has been testing lead forms in search ads, which gives online users the ability to submit their contact information within the search engine results page if the ad fits their needs. For multifamily, a prospects could enter a Google search along the lines of "Studio apartments for $1,750 near me," as an example. A Google Ad could appear with a lead form extension that matches this search query. This would allow the prospect to submit their contact information on the SERP without having to click the ad and visit the property website to do so, similar to a call extension.
This example, courtesy of Search Engine Land, shows a lead form on a YouTube Pre-Roll ad for Jeep.
In their announcement, Google let it be known that lead forms are now available on YouTube and Discovery ads, a move that looks to generate more direct leads from digital strategies that have long been seen as more brand awareness vs lead generation. Google has also allowed for more field options to be included within the form such as the prospect's city, state, and country. Most interestingly for multifamily, advertisers can include real estate specific questions like "What price range are you looking for?" or "Are you looking for properties that allow pets?" While this provides fairly basic information, this is extremely helpful for leasing agents when contacting the prospect regarding their inquiry to help build rapport and to provide leasing information specific to each prospect.
The change mirrors the lead forms that are currently available on Facebook Lead Form Ads. Through our experience in multifamily, Facebook lead forms have had the tendency to lead towards more spam than quality leads. Google may lead to better traffic, but time and testing will only tell. At the very least, the ability to submit a lead from the SERP and from more brand awareness oriented campaigns may help lead towards more direct lead gen than in the past. If so, lead forms would be a welcome enhancement to digital marketing strategies for property management marketing teams.