Gen Z renters: New survey data a year later

Jul 20, 2022

Gen Z renter in pink shirt

What do you call a group of diverse digital natives and entrepreneurial decision-makers with the ability to change the multifamily industry? This title belongs to Generation Z, the largest and most tech-savvy group of renters yet.

Last summer, REACH by RentCafe conducted a survey to better understand Gen Z’s search habits, but members of this generation are now a year older. This means they’ve lived through 365 days of new experiences, changes and adventures. It also means that they have had a whole year to refine their online search behaviors.

This summer, REACH wanted to investigate where this generation stands a year later when it comes to their online search habits and how best to win their attention. To do this, we interviewed over 12,000 members of Gen Z to gain insight into how to best attract members of the youngest, biggest and perhaps most important renter group yet.

Here’s our Gen Z update:

Gen Z renter update infographic containing survey data

What are Gen Z renters looking for?

Findings from this year’s survey confirm that, once againmany Gen Zers don’t yet know what they’re searching for. This year, 41% admit that they’re still figuring it out when asked what they’re looking for in an apartment. This data tells us that the apartment search starts early for Gen Zers. At this stage, they’re probably using an ILS to shop for and compare apartments.

On the other hand, 59% of Gen Zers know more about what they want, including apartment size, price, location and desired amenities; a full 26% of Gen Zers say they have all the information needed to make a purchasing decision. These renters are ready to take the next step, using long-tailed search terms to find the specific apartment that meets their needs.

So how do you market to the Gen Zers who are just starting their search as well as those who know enough to commit? To capture all Gen Z renters, it’s important to list your properties on an ILS while simultaneously strengthening your direct-to-renter marketing approach by optimizing your SEO and PPC strategies.

Esther Bonardi, vice president of REACH by RentCafe explains, “Based on data pulled from Yardi Voyager, we clearly see that ILSs are included in most customer journeys but have a lead-to-lease conversion rate of .5% -2%. By comparison, direct-to-renter marketing such as SEO and PPC converts at a much higher lead-to-lease ratio, between 5%-15%.”

The main takeaway? You need to be present for the entire apartment search journey. An ILS presence is critical to capture Gen Z’s attention early on, but SEO and PPC strategies will help you stand out and convert more prospects as their hunt intensifies.

Ratings & reviews update

This year’s survey also found that members of Gen Z still highly value online ratings and reviews. Just like last year, more than 60% of Gen Zers say they consider ratings and reviews most of the time when searching online.

Good online reviews should be a key part of your reputation management strategy, and they impact more areas of your business than you think, including marketing, leasing and customer service.

Online apartment reviews are an important way for potential renters to check out your community. They are a key part of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, and they play a huge role in how your website appears in a search. In fact, it’s estimated that reviews account for 17% of the ranking factor for the Google 3-pack of local listings!

Learn more about the importance of apartment ratings and reviews, then explore some best practices.

Gen Z renter search update

There’s not much new here. Just like last year, Gen Zers overwhelmingly begin their online searches on a search engine like Google. In fact, Generation Z uses Google Search to find apartments more than any other generation.

Remember that members of Gen Z have attention spans shorter than that of a goldfish, so that means you need to stand out at the top of search results with the information they’re looking for.

We also know that Gen Zers are still big fans of marketplace environments like Amazon.com and RentCafe.com, so they often use internet listing services (ILSs) when beginning a search.

What does all this mean for your marketing strategy? It’s important for your website to appear where young renters are searching. The survey tells us that Gen Zers are looking for information on search engines and ILSs, so you need to meet them where they are and make yourself present in these places.

This just in: News you can use

In this year’s survey, we also asked Gen Zers about the most influential website features that help them decide on an apartment. These were their top picks:

  1. The number one website feature for Gen Zers is ratings, reviews and resident testimonials. Not only do most Gen Zers consider ratings and reviews in their online searches, but they voted it the most important feature on a website that helps them decide whether to rent. To hammer it home one last time, it’s absolutely necessary to have reviews on your website to attract young renters.
  2. The second most important feature Gen Zers want to see on a website is videos and 360 tours. These young renters are tech-savvy, so videos and tours are a crucial way for them to get a feel for an apartment and decide whether to visit in person.
  3. Gen Zers also place a high value on interactive property maps showing availability. This feature not only enhances the customer experience but increases conversions and is an important way for potential customers to see exactly what’s available throughout the entire property.
  4. The last high-ranking feature that helps Gen Zers decide on an apartment is neighborhood maps and information. These young renters are eager to engage with their community, so information about the best restaurants, shows and events in the area helps them get a better sense of the neighborhood the apartment is in.

Charting a course for success

Since last year, Gen Z renters have cemented their online search habits. In 2022, we know that they begin their searches on search engines and marketplace environments. We also know that they value ratings and reviews when searching online, and these young renters are starting the apartment search earlier.

To reach them, this Gen Z update shows it’s important to have a balanced marketing plan that includes SEO and PPC as well as an ILS presence. If that seems like a lot of work, remember that digital marketing agencies like REACH by RentCafe can help you manage these important aspects of your marketing strategy as well as optimize your success using analytics tools like Marketing IQ.

Elle Schantz

Elle Schantz is a valued intern at REACH by RentCafe. She is currently a student at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in Marketing and Global Studies.

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