Luxury Coastal Apartments Find Pre-Leasing Success with Buhv Designs’ Google Ad Campaign

Web Design & Digital Marketing


Located on 3,000 ft of natural California shoreline in Redwood City, CA. Blu Harbor is a one-of-a-kind apartment community offering a luxury living experience with unmatched amenities. This community is owned and managed by Pauls Corporation, a leading capital management and real estate development firm headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

If You Build It, They Will Come…Right? Wrong

The marketing team at Pauls Corporation came to Buhv Designs in the early stages of construction on Blu Harbor, which would be a shining addition to their portfolio in the California region. They knew that in order to drive project ROI and fill apartments as quickly as possible, a Digital Strategy would need to be implemented to drive the pre-leasing efforts. Buhv Designs was tasked with helping their team build a prospect (VIP) list during construction, and assisting in filling leases through ad lead captures prior to construction completion. The target was to secure tenants for 85% of apartments by the grand opening.

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High End Apartments Require High-Income Tenants

The average rent price in the Redwood City market is one of the highest in the country at $4,200/ mo. This is a notch higher than the SanFrancisco-Oakland-Hayward Metro. In order to pre-lease the apartments at Blu Harbor, we needed to target a very affluent group of professionals who could afford this lifestyle. Our team set up geo-targets around Silicon Valley-based tech companies including Facebook and Google, and implemented local area targeting from San Francisco to San Jose. We also leveraged national geo-targets for satellite offices of those same Silicon Valley-based tech companies to target employees who may be relocating. The target audience was high income, low net-wealth singles ages 25 – 40 (male or female).

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Set Up

The strategy put in motion by the Buhv designs team involved Google Ad campaigns that spoke specifically to the local Redwood City target audience, and separate campaigns to target the tech employees in remote locations across the US. Locally, the ads served promotions for “VIP Hard Hat Tours” of the new community still under construction and also featured early lease incentives provided by Blu Harbor Apartments. The out-of-state ad sets promoted relocation leasing incentives that would appeal to those employees looking to move to the Redwood City area. Each campaign and promotion was supported by a unique landing page optimized for lead capture.

Testing and Optimization

Throughout the lifetime of the campaign, Buhv monitored the performance of each ad set and made incremental adjustments that boosted results. These optimizations were targeted by zip code, demographics, interest categories and income levels to allow for greater control over the manual bidding strategies in place. The design, copy and layout of the landing pages were also carefully monitored. Our team experimented with several A/B tests to hone-in the landing page conversion rates and optimize for lead capture. Finally, display retargeting ads were included in the strategy to gather repeat engagement and provide yet another boost in conversion rates.

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Let the Numbers Do the Talking

During the construction period leading up to the grand opening of the Blu Harbor community, Buhv Designs executed the Google Ads campaign with an average of 59 leads/ orders per month. With a total of 1530 leads garnered during the entire length of the campaign, the average CPA (cost per acquisition) was $31.10. Given the high price of units and the lifetime value of a potential renter, the Pauls Corp sales and marketing teams were beyond impressed with the results. The search network ads and landing pages generated a 8.5% conversion rate. At the time of ribbon cutting, the Buhv Designs team had supported the leasing team in surpassing the desired occupancy goal of 85%. As a result, Pauls Corporation immediately felt the jumpstart towards ROI on their new community build.


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