Among the top 10 senior living providers ranked by size by the Assisted Living Federation of America, traffic to the providers’ websites varies widely. While for the very largest providers, site traffic aligns largely with number residents, for others among the Top-10, traffic is less proportional.
According to data compiled by SHN based on traffic statistics from SimilarWeb.com, an online information database, Brookdale Senior Living, the largest provider counting 64,354 in resident capacity, received 150,000 visitors to its site in October 2013. But the next largest provider, Emeritus Senior Living, ranked third for traffic at 120,000 visitors during the month, with No. 3 Sunrise outpacing the company with 130,000 site visits.
Among the remaining top five providers, Holiday saw 85,000 visitors during October while Life Care Services counted 40,000.
“In general, the companies that are doing the best job with consumer marketing should receive an outsize share of the consumer traffic on the web,” says Chris Rodde, CEO of SeniorHomes.com. “All forms of marketing these days can end up driving consumers to a company website to learn more. I think this is perhaps even more true in senior living than in other consumer markets.”
Some of the providers have recently bolstered marketing efforts they say are starting to pay off in site visits, and ultimately inquiries and community tours. Brookdale said this month it has seen a 22% increase website traffic since launching what the company called a “game changing” TV branding campaign in May 2013.
Emeritus Senior Living has also recently invested in resources to accommodate web traffic, through the launch of an in-house call center to respond to web leads. The majority of its calls, Emeritus says, are coming directly from Emeritus.com. Sunrise operates a blog launched in 2011, which it updates regularly and is another way to drive traffic.
Search for brand names as well as community names on a local basis can drive traffic that adds up, Rodde says.
“Beyond corporate brand name traffic, a lot of providers get traffic for people searching on the specific names of their communities,” he says. “Across a company with hundreds of communities these community name searches can really add up to a lot of visits. Word of mouth can affect community name traffic for communities that have loyal customers.”
As number of visits tends to mirror the community size in terms of resident potential, however, time spent on the site varies widely with the longest visits seen by Life Care Services at more than 13 minutes on average, and the shortest visits seen by Brookdale at 2.35 minutes on average.
SHN also compiled the percentage of traffic from paid search. Among the top five providers, both Brookdale and Sunrise attribute more than 15% of traffic to paid search, while Emeritus and Holiday count just 5% each and Life Care Services attributes no traffic to paid search. Paid search is one factor, while others can also impact the number of visitors overall.
“How well the company’s website is optimized for organic search and how much general content their website has can have a big affect,” Rodde says. “Emeritus has always done well in SEO because they have a lot of high quality content that ranks well in the search engines. Social media can impact traffic as well, but my guess is that this isn’t yet a big source.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker