Posted in on May 5, 2016

Top TakeAways for Senior Living and Real Estate Marketing from HeroConf 2016

HeroConf: The World’s Largest All-PPC Event

Last week I had the advantage of joining nearly 500 other paid search and digital marketers in the city of brotherly love for HeroConf, a conference focused on paid search marketing.

The program highlighted trends, best practices and even gave a few brief glances into the crystal ball of search engine marketing.

I have so many actionable takeaways I was able to bring back to implement for our clients!

I wanted to share the love and reveal three exciting takeaways for senior living and real estate search marketers.

1. Don’t ignore Microsoft Bing.

Sure, Google is the giant (and you should be spending more with Google AdWords) but the power of search by the Bing Network is really growing.

Bing is now powering AOL search and is the default search browser for all Microsoft devices. This means its user base is growing. And a lot of those users skew older and affluent.

In fact, 53% of Bing searchers are age 45+ and one-third of the Bing audience has a household income of $100k or more.

Chart - Bing audience demographics -- age, income

Additionally, Bing offers the ability to modify bids based on demographics such as age and gender. You can bid higher on ages relevant to you, and lower on those that aren’t, giving you less wasted ad spend. You reach more of the audience you are really trying to reach, while they are actively searching.

Bing Ads also has additional ad extensions options, making your text ads stand out even more (plus they take up more real estate on the search results page). One exciting and relatively newer format is the Image Ad Extension.

Bing PPC text ad with image extension

As images become even more powerful as we age, adding photos to text ads will benefit our clients. We could incorporate an appealing real estate home shot or a happy active senior couple. (Google only currently offers a similar format for use on their display network, not for search.)


2. A new Google Update is on the horizon!

I know, SHOCKING, right? Google never updates their approaches!

But this time, it’s a perk for the text ad copy.

Current Google AdWords policy is to limit characters used in the headlines and description lines:

Google AdWords text ad character limits

However, they have been beta testing combining the headline with the first description line for a while now. This means that you will be able to write your headline as long as 60 characters!

If you have ever tried to cram something catchy into 25 characters, you are probably as excited about this as I am.

Also, branded ads with long community names will no longer have to suffer the wrath of abbreviation! Live Better at Traditions of America at Saucon Valley 55+ will soon all fit.

Google AdWords allowing longer headlines

Be on the lookout for the official format change in the very near future.


3. Matchmaker, Matchmaker …

It’s actually easier than you think to speak to your existing database leads while they browse the web, Facebook or check their Gmail inboxes. You can even use the characteristics of current leads to find more like them.

Joe Kerschbaum of 3Q Digital presented a session that included database matching. Whether it’s through Google’s customer match ability or Facebook’s custom audiences, the concept is the same.

First, take your CRM/database and define a segment you are interested in “matching” online. These could be previous buyers, or hot leads, or whatever makes sense for the messaging of your search engine marketing campaign.

Export the email addresses of the segment into Excel, and then upload that file to either Google Customer Match or Facebook Custom Audiences. Both tools use their own matching algorithms and will match a certain percentage of your existing database emails with online identities – giving you the ability to speak to them via advertising!

Customer Match Illustration - 3Q digital

(The typical match rate is about half, so you do need a fairly large database – I would say at least 1000 email addresses – to be able to have a large enough segment for this to work well.)

You also can choose to extend the reach of the matched group with “similar audiences,” where the platforms will automatically create lists of look-alike audiences, very similar to those already in your database. This is a great way to reach not only your existing prospects, but similar new ones as well!

The opportunities are vast with Google AdWords campaigns – ranging from targeting these users on Search, YouTube, and even in their Gmail inboxes. Each of those marketing channels are best used for certain parts of the purchase funnel, so please call or email me to discuss what’s best for your messaging.


I hope you found these three search engine marketing takeaways from the HeroConf to be helpful. Do you have tips or successful strategies that you have implemented? Share them in the comments below.

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