How to Utilize Paid Search to Increase Occupancy in Senior Living Communities

Married couple of elders sitting together and watching old photos at senior living communityDemand for senior living services has increased due to an aging generation. However, the rise of new community developments geared towards this larger senior population has led to stiff competition within the senior living industry. Gone are the days where people had 1-2 senior living communities within their local area to choose from.

So how do you stand out from the competition and capture the attention of seniors and their adult children?

The answer: leveraging the internet.

In the past, print marketing was the ultimate way to market your senior living community. However, nowadays seniors are using the internet more and more. According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, 87% of adults aged 50 to 64 are online. About 75% of these internet-using seniors log on daily. And lets not forget the adult children who are even more internet-savvy.

The study goes on to state that 82% of these seniors are actively utilizing search engines. This makes having a strong SEO and SEM strategy for your senior living community a must.

Benefits of Utilizing PPC for Your Senior Living Community

Pay-per-click advertising (also known as PPC) is a great way to become proactive and immediately start driving inquires to your senior living communities. But you may be asking why you invest in paid search rather than SEO, social, email marketing, print marketing, or any of the other marketing strategies out there? Well first, it is important to note that the best strategy is a multi-pronged approach. You will have the best results when you utilize several of these strategies in your senior living marketing plan. However, there are several benefits that makes PPC an important strategy to leverage:

  • Your Senior Living Ads Are Shown Above Organic Listings

Since 2010 organic listings have lost 25% of click share on desktop and 55% of click share on mobile. As Google search engine results continue to favor paid ads over organic, a PPC strategy has become absolutely essential for getting in front of the eyes of your potential residents. senior living communities mobile search results page

As you can see with this example, one ad alone can take up almost the entire screen on a mobile device. Talk about dominating the top of the page!

  • Paid Search Offers Advanced Targeting

Unlike with organic listings, with paid advertisements you have more control of who sees your ads. You can optimize your campaigns based on age, distance from your location, keywords they are searching for, interests, and so much more. This allows you to target specific audiences with specific messages and reach people who are at different stages of the funnel.

  • See Faster Results with a Paid Search Program

If your community is experiencing vacancy now, it is important to aggressively reach new prospects. With an SEO program, it can sometimes take months to see any results. By leveraging paid search, you can see an almost immediate impact on your traffic, leads, and sales. Budgets can be changed instantly, allowing your campaigns to be flexible as your occupancy needs change.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your PPC Campaigns

Once you have decided to incorporate paid search into your senior living marketing strategy, it is important to make sure you are set up for success. Here are 5 tips to make sure your senior living PPC campaigns get off on the right foot:

  • Don’t forget about Bing

Bing Ads, now called Microsoft Advertising, is often overlooked in favor of Google when developing a paid search strategy. However, Bing still holds 34% of the desktop search engine market share. This translates to roughly 63 million searchers that you cannot reach with Google ads. Furthermore, advertising on Bing is less competitive, meaning you wind up paying less per click. Bing also caters to an older, more educated audience with a higher household income than Google users, which sounds like the exact type of people your senior community wants to reach!

  • Create Targeted Campaigns for Each Stage of the Funnel

The best strategies will consider each stage of the customer’s journey. Utilize display advertising to build brand awareness for your business. Make sure your messaging and call to action reflects the fact that these people are at the top of your funnel. You wouldn’t ask them to schedule a tour, but you might ask them to download an e-book on how to transition a parent to assisted living.

Search ads are great for people who are farther along in the funnel and actively looking for your services. These people have done some research and are more ready to take action. However, you must take into account who is doing the searching and target your campaigns, ad groups, and ad copy appropriately. For instance, someone searching for assisted living communities is most likely an adult child looking for their parent. Whereas, someone searching for an active retirement community is more likely to be a senior looking for themselves. The ad copy in both these cases would be very different.

assisted living PPC ad independent living PPC ad





As you can see in this example, the independent living ad uses “you” to talk directly with the target audience, which is a senior searching for themselves. However, the assisted living ad mentions “for loved ones” because in this case the target audience is adult children.

  • Utilize Landing Pages

Landing pages are often an overlooked part of a paid search program, but in many ways it is the most important piece of the puzzle. Landing pages allows you to focus on a single, targeted message that is developed based on the audience of your specific campaign. If you have multiple audiences and objectives, you should have multiple landing pages. For instance, if you are advertising both your assisted living services and independent living services, you will want a landing page for each.

Your landing page should be designed to tell a compelling story and also makes it clear what action you want users to take. This means asking the visitor to schedule a tour or download an e-book. It shouldn’t do both because these actions are designed for completely different audiences. By having a streamlined design and singular focus you can increase your conversions. In fact, utilizing an optimized landing page results in a 25% conversion rate increase on average.

  • Track & Analyze Results

When setting up your paid search campaigns, make sure you also take the time to set up meaningful conversion tracking. This may seem like a given, but so many companies miss this crucial step. Google Analytics is a free platform that will allow you to measure the success of all of your marketing efforts, not just your Google ads. By analyzing the stats you will be better equipped to make future marketing decisions. It also allows you to make adjustments to your paid search campaigns by understanding what keywords, ads, and audiences are converting better.

Screenshot of Google Analytics Acquisition Report

This acquisition report in Google Analytics allows us to analyze ad group performance and allow us to optimize the senior living paid search campaign based on what is converting the best.

  • Invest in Account Maintenance

Paid search campaigns are not something you can set and forget. It is all too easy to find yourself paying for irrelevant traffic that will never convert. Also, advertising platforms are constantly making changes to their current offers. For example, in 2019 alone there have been over 68 updates to the Google Ads Platform. In order to keep up with the changes and maximize your ROI, campaigns need to be optimized by a paid search professional. For the best bang for your buck, it is best to invest in a paid search professional that is familiar with senior living marketing.

Interested in Leveraging Paid Search for Your Senior Living Community?

PPC advertising is a great step towards seeing your community meet & surpass its occupancy goals. However, setting up a valuable PPC campaign goes far beyond just buying clicks on Google and it is all too easy to spend your budget and not see any results. The last thing you want to do is waste your budget.

We get it.

If you are serious about getting the most out of paid search, contact us, or give us a call at 518-743-9424 to schedule a free 15-minute review of your plan and get recommendations from our Senior Living Strategists!

About Dani Martindale

Dani Martindale joined the Mannix Marketing team in 2017 as a Digital Marketing Strategist. Dani holds a Bachelor of Professional Studies Degree in Management from Cazenovia College and joins Mannix after four years working as an in-house marketer. She is passionate about helping clients get found on the web in order to further their business goals.

Her experience includes managing digital marketing strategies, SEO, Social Media, content marketing and PPC-including certifications in both Google Analytics and Ads.

Awards & Memberships:

  • Best Interactive Marketing – Health & Beauty
  • Member of Women in PPC
  • Member of Women in Tech SEO


  • Paid Search
  • Senior Living Marketing
  • SEO

When she is not helping clients get found on the web Dani enjoys competing in barrel races and gymkhanas with her horses and exploring the outdoors with her dogs.