Search marketing is always changing as technology shapes consumer behavior and search engines like Google constantly update in attempts to return the perfect results. Here we’ll take a look at some trends in online search and recommend some tools to stay ahead.
With online search, consumers directly express their intent and find what they are looking for. They might search for “assisted living communities in Dallas” or “home for elderly woman with dementia in Memphis”. You can target this specific intent with both paid search (SEM) and organic search (SEO).
The reality today is that most people are finding your community through the internet. Even though APFM uses many different marketing channels to reach consumers including TV and social, over 80% of families who contact us find us through search. That’s powerful!
Trends in Search
Clicks on senior living search terms continue to grow – they were up 27% for Q4 2016 when compared to Q4 2015. Consumers are increasingly starting their search online and are looking for costs, reviews, pictures and more. Most of this growth is driven through the use of search on mobile devices.
Mobile is a must
In Q4 2016, 48% of paid search traffic was from a mobile device. This is up from only 38% in the beginning of 2016 so the shift is happening rapidly.
Mobile design can no longer be an afterthought. Website changes must be done with mobile in mind first.
- Is the map integrated with navigation programs?
- Are the fonts readable and the correct size?
- Are the fields/ buttons too close together?
- Is your phone number “click to call” so that consumers can call you with one button?
Mobile websites often struggle with speed. The speed of your site affects SEO ranking as well as the amount of time a consumer is willing to spend there. When compared to a load time of 1 second, pages that took 5 seconds to load received 35% fewer page views and a 105% higher bounce rate.
Shifting Search Terms
Different care type searches within senior living are growing at different rates. Searches for Memory Care are up 45% year over year, which shows that industry terminology used in marketing to consumers is working.
In 2012, people searched more for Alzheimer’s Care or Dementia Care, but today, searches for Memory Care significantly outpace both of these.
Search is Local
Search terms like “near me” and “in my area” are growing. Make sure your community is set up in local services like Google My Business, and use location ad extensions in any search ads you may have for these local terms.
Boomers are using YouTube for entertainment and as a search tool for information. Over 85% of Boomers aged 55-64 visited YouTube in December of 2016, and over 52% of Boomers 65+ visited in the same month. This is a platform that our consumers are on, but many senior living communities are not.
Consider making short videos to answer consumers most asked questions or show testimonials from happy residents. Perhaps put up video of your community so people can get a better look inside before they come tour. YouTube and other video platform content does not need to be professionally produced so all you need is a camera and some imagination to reach your audience. .
Consumer search trends are ever changing and keeping up with your audience can be a challenge. Two public tools you should be aware of are Google Trends (google.com/trends), which shows how often certain search terms are entered, and Consumer Barometer (consumerbarometer.com) which shows how people use the internet.