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A Resi
Case Study

Ascent – Westminster, CO
Sherman Associates, Inc

Resi Products

Digital Ads


Westminster, CO

Pitting Ascent’s website and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) efforts against a conglomerate of Internet Listing Services (ILS) over a 3 month period

We’ve always had our doubts about the effectiveness of dollars spent with the ILS’. We know they work, but how well and at what cost?

Before we get into the data, we want to give you a quick breakdown of the sources of traffic, the tracking methods, and the conversion points. It’s also worth mentioning that Ascent is a new property in its first year of lease-up based in Westminster, CO which is a Northwest suburb of Denver. The population is just above 112,000.

Ascent is using three of our products, incentive management, website management, and digital ads. They also advertise with the big 3 ILS’ including Costar, RentPath, and Zillow. In addition to those, they pay for a few smaller ILS’ and maintain profiles at many others.

First let’s talk about the website.

The sources of traffic to the website come in three flavors: organic search results (ie Google, Bing, Yahoo), direct traffic, and pay per click advertising. 

Once a visitor lands on the website from one of those three methods, we’ll try to convert them into a lead. We use our incentive management software as one method. We’ll track any interactions with the incentives to start understanding the desires of this visitor. We’ve also integrated pricing and availability with their Property Management Software (PMS), in this case that data is coming from RealPage. This keeps the visitor on the site longer and builds more trust in a way that hiding pricing and availability won’t. Trust is a major factor in converting leads and we also build it with faster loading times, better usability, higher quality images and video, and consistent, accurate data.

At this point we’re waiting for a conversion, either in the form of an email or a call. Emails and calls automatically flow into Ascent’s customer relationship management (CRM) tool along with any tour request and/or incentive data. We use a unique and trackable phone number to make sure calls are being attributed correctly.

Finally tours are scheduled and leases are signed.

Each ILS has a similar flow: search for an apartment, schedule a tour, sign a lease.

What Are We Measuring?

In order for us to get to the bottom of this, we needed to track dollars, leads, tours, and leases signed. 

We’ve measured the data from the property website vs the top ILS’ including:, Apartment Guide, Zillow,, HotPads, etc…

  • Results

    Leads / Tours / Leases

  • Website Leads

    587 Leads

  • Website Tours

    60 Tours

  • Website Leases

    25 Leases

  • ILS Leads

    471 Leads

  • ILS Tours

    24 Tours

  • ILS Leases

    13 Leases

Key Takeaways

The website generated about 20% more leads than all ILS’ combined.

The website generated 2.5x the number of tours as the ILS’ and 2x the number of leases.

The website has a lead to tour rate double that of the ILS’. An indicator of the quality of the leads provided.

The tour to lease rate for both the website and the ILS’ was about the same. An indicator of leasing and product quality.

Show Me The Money

So how much was spent to acquire these leads, schedule these tours and sign these leases? We’ll break it down by lead, tour, and lease. We need to keep the exact spends confidential, but we can share percentage figures.

Total Spend


on ILS Advertising

Total Spend


on Website + Ads

ILS Cost Per Lead

Website Cost Per Lead
ILS Leads Cost


per lead
Website Leads Cost


per lead

ILS Cost Per Tour

Website Cost Per Tour
ILS Tours Cost


per tour
Website Tours Cost


per tour

ILS Cost Per Lease

Website Cost Per Lease
ILS Leases Cost


per lease
Website Leases Cost


per lease


these numbers include the cost of Resi to manage the website and the ads

Let’s review those highlights one more time


More Leads

Generated from the website


More Tours

Generated from the website


More Leases

Generated from the website


Cost Per Lease

Generated from the website

Where Does This Leave Us?

Well, the ILS’ do provide leads, tours, and signed leases. The problem is they cost A LOT! We certainly are not recommending removing your property from them, but rather that it might be a good time to rethink your advertising spend.

If you can dial down the spend in the ILS and increase the spend with direct PPC ads, you’ll be getting better results for the money (at least when you are using one of our websites).

With that in mind, if your website can’t convert a visitor to a lead, then you’ve got to fix that first. Schedule a demo because we can help!