Our team of PPC experts has helped senior living clients capture more qualified leads, manage ad campaigns,  and drive higher ROI. Read on to learn more.

Here, you’ll find:

  1. What is PPC for senior living?
  2. What are the benefits of running senior living PPC campaigns?
  3. How to set up a PPC campaign for senior living communities
  4. 10 PPC advertising tips for senior living facilities
  5. What’s the cost of PPC?
  6. How to choose a PPC agency?

The competition in the senior living industry is fierce. In fact, there are over 18,000 retirement communities in the US and 33,000 assisted living facilities.

This is true across all major sectors within assisted living centers, retirement communities, memory care facilities, and rehabilitation centers.

If you run a senior living center and are looking for more residents, the game plan is simple: Get in front of more people.

This is where the Hawks swoop in, offering expert pay-per-click (PPC) services tailored for senior living communities. We leverage data-driven strategies and our proprietary technology to help our clients like Legend Senior Living double their conversion rates. Read on for pro tips and expert insights from HawkSEM President, Rambod Yadegar.

What is PPC for senior living?

PPC for senior living is a form of online advertising where senior living communities pay for their ads to appear across the web (most notably the search engine results page, or SERP), to attract potential residents searching for senior housing options.

Tons of platforms offer PPC advertising, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads — Google Ads being the most popular. You’ve undoubtedly come across a PPC ad or two when searching on Google. Here’s an example of what that looks like on a typical Google result page:

Google search ad example

(Image: Google search ad example)

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus primarily on Google search ads. Here’s how it works:

  1. Select keywords relevant to your business
  2. Bid (offer a certain price you’re willing to pay per click) on these keywords to have your ads appear in the search results when someone searches for them

The goal? Capture leads, increase occupancy, and boost sales.

Advertisers can also target specific audience groups with their PPC ads based on parameters like demographics and locations. This level of targeting ensures ads appear to relevant audiences, raising the likelihood of clicks by potential customers.

Google Ads offers detailed targeting options:

Google Ads audience targeting settings

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

For senior living centers, Google ads can directly target individuals interested in senior care services (whether for themselves or for loved ones) by placing ads on search engine result pages (SERPs).

As an example, if someone in Tampa searches for “senior living near me,” an ad for a senior living center targeting people in Tampa could appear in their search results:

Google Ads for “senior living near me:

(Image: Google ads example)

This targeted approach advertises directly to highly interested folks, again leading to higher clicks and conversions.

What are the benefits of PPC for senior living facilities?

PPC puts your facility in front of motivated seniors (and their family members) at the critical moment when they’re searching for housing options.

Here are some of the broader benefits of running senior living PPC campaigns:

Advanced targeting

PPC allows you to define the exact audience you want to reach, like adults over 75 in Austin looking for assisted living.

You can target by location, age, search terms, browsing history, and more.

This level of precision gets your messaging in front of those most likely to be searching for senior housing.

Audience targeting increases relevancy and eliminates wasted spend showing ads to those not in the target group.

Faster results

While search engine optimization (SEO) is a marathon, PPC is a sprint.

SEO can take as long as six months or more to influence rankings. With PPC, your ads appear at the top of SERPs immediately after setting up and funding your campaign.

These faster results are especially helpful when you need to fill empty rooms quickly in your assisted living communities. (After all, potential residents and their families are searching now, not six months from now.)

Flexibility in budget

With PPC campaigns, you can start with a modest daily budget and change bids in real time based on performance.

You can scale up on keywords generating calls. And pull back on those not delivering results. This level of flexibility allows you to optimize return on your advertising dollars as you go.

Only pay when users click

Of course, one major advantage of PPC is you only pay when someone clicks your ad, not for impressions.

This way, you’re only spending marketing dollars when people engage.

If your ad appears 1000 times for the “senior living center in Houston” query but only receives five clicks, you only pay for those five clicks that drove interested prospects to your site.

Measurable ROI

PPC campaigns offer in-depth performance tracking.

You can see which keywords, ads, and landing pages result in calls, emails, form fills, tours scheduled, and more.

Plus, you can use data on Google Analytics or other analytics tools to double down on what works and eliminate what doesn’t.

This enables continuous optimization and improvement of your advertising strategy.

How to set up a PPC campaign for senior living communities

The process of setting up your senior living PPC campaign varies based on the advertising platform. For this guide, we’ll focus on creating a search ad campaign using Google Ads.

1. Go to your Google Ads account and create a new campaign.

Create a Google Ads campaign

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

2. Select your campaign’s objective.

Let’s choose “Leads,” for example.

Google Ads campaign objective

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

3. Then, select your campaign type.

Let’s choose “Search.

Google Ads campaign type

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)


4. Next, select the ways you would like to reach your goal. You can choose multiple options.

Google Ads call-to-action

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

For senior living PPC campaigns, “Phone calls” and “Lead from submissions” are ideal.

  • When you choose “Phone calls,” you’ll have to add a phone number
  • When you choose “Lead form submissions,” you’ll have to add the lead form in the next step

5. Give your campaign a name and click Continue”

Google Ads campaign name

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

6. Next comes the bidding settings. Choose what metric you’d like to focus on for your campaign.

Google Ads bidding setting

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

Select “Conversions” and click “Next.”

You can also set a target cost per action, which will cap how much you’ll pay per action. This helps you get as many conversions at or below the defined target CPA. This is optional, so you can leave it blank for now.

In the next step, you’ll see your campaign settings.

Here, you can set who you want to target with your ads (based on parameters like location and demographics), your campaign’s start and end date, and more.

Audience targeting on Google Ads

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

Configure the settings based on your campaign’s needs and who you’re targeting. Once done, click “Next.”

7. Set up ad groups

Finally, set up your ad group, which will organize your ads around specific themes. This is also where you’ll add your target keywords for the campaign.

Create ad group on Google Ads

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

In the same step, you’ll create your ad, which includes adding URL, headline variations, descriptions, and other assets.

Create Google search ads

(Image: Google Ads screenshot)

8. Set average daily budget

After setting up your ad, select your average daily budget for the campaign.

Setting Google Ads budget

And then review your campaign as a final step before making it live.

We have a more comprehensive guide on setting up a Google Ads campaign. Please check out: How to Set Up a Google Ads Campaign: The Ultimate Guide

10 senior living PPC advertising tips

You now know how to set up and run PPC ad campaigns on Google Ads. Let’s look at key tips to boost your ROI:

  1. Zero in on senior-centric keywords
  2. Highlight safety and community in ads
  3. Tailor ads to the senior demographic
  4. Target local searches for senior living
  5. Broaden awareness with display ads
  6. Optimize landing pages for senior engagement
  7. Provide valuable resources
  8. Re-engage with retargeting ads
  9. Continually test and refine your approach
  10. Avoid common mistakes

1. Zero in on senior-centric keywords

When developing your PPC keyword strategy, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Brainstorm all the search queries seniors and their families may use when looking for senior living facilities.

Look at the specific care services and amenities your facility offers. And work those into keyword variations, like “assisted living with memory care in Washington” or “senior apartments with activities in Detroit.”

Use keyword research tools (like Keyword Planner and Semrush) to discover long-tail keywords that show high intent.

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

(Image: keyword planner example)

These are the terms that indicate a user is further along in the decision-making process and closer to taking action.

2. Highlight safety and community in ads

Your ad copy should align with the core needs and preferences of the potential residents and their family members. It should set you apart from other centers.

So, focus on the emotional motivators that matter most to prospects, like safety, security, social connections, purpose, and engagement.

Use warm, human language that paints a picture of the nurturing, inclusive environment you provide.

Share real stories that bring to life the sense of community at your facility.

And don’t forget to add clear calls to action, like scheduling a tour that makes it easy for prospects to take the next step.

3. Tailor ads to the senior demographic

One-size-fits-all ads don’t work. You need to personalize messaging based on your audience.

Use advanced targeting tools to target audiences based on specifics like age, location, and interests.

For example, target adults 55+ who searched for topics like Medicare, retirement living, or caregiving.

This ensures your ads reach those needing senior services now or in the near future.

And like any digital marketing strategy, refine and optimize your PPC strategy over time based on the customer data you capture.

4. Target local searches for senior living

Geography is a significant factor in senior living selection. Many residents look for senior living communities in their own town.

So, use location-targeting options ad platforms offer to ensure your ads appear to users in the specific cities or zip codes where your center is located.

This local focus attracts prospects looking for senior living options in your area.

You can even exclude other locations outside your target service area to avoid wasted spend.

Hyperlocal targeting allows you to connect with prospects looking for solutions in your backyard and wanting to learn more about their options.

5. Broaden awareness with display ads

Google Ads offers display advertising, which shows your ads across its network of over two million websites and apps.

Here’s an example of a display ad:

Display ad example

(Image: Healthline)

These highly visual ads appear on sites your audience visits, allowing you to tell your community’s story even when readers aren’t in an “information-seeking” mode. These ads build brand awareness and keep you top of mind.

Display ads enable you to reach a wider pool of prospects, but you can also strategically target people based on demographic data like age and location.

6. Optimize landing pages for senior engagement

When potential residents click your ad, ensure they land on a page designed to connect with them, not deter them.

Address their specific concerns early on to immediately capture their attention, such as safety, healthcare access, or community activities. You can even showcase your USP, like specialized care programs or luxurious amenities.

Use large, easy-to-read fonts, clear navigation, and obvious calls to action.

Prominently highlight your phone number and have readily accessible contact forms.

Show real stories and photos of happy residents that speak to the experiences in your community.

Remove unnecessary clutter that could distract visitors, like overly complex menus, irrelevant images, excessive text, or intrusive pop-ups.

In short, build accessible and easy-to-use landing pages that focus on user experience and expectations.

Recommended Read: 21 Landing Page Examples You’ll Wish You’d Thought Of

7. Provide valuable resources

Today’s seniors often conduct substantial online research before making major decisions like choosing a senior living facility.

Develop free, downloadable resources that provide genuine value, such as:

  • Guidebooks for selecting long-term care options
  • Moving checklists
  • A brochure detailing your amenities and services

Gate access to resources by collecting contact info like email and phone number.

This gives you their permission for follow-up to nurture the relationship.

Position your community as an informative partner, not just a sales source. In fact, this should be your broader approach to lead generation, and digital marketing campaigns in general.

8. Re-engage with retargeting ads

Retargeting ads target your site’s visitors who haven’t converted. These ads “retarget” them to bring them back to complete a form or other conversion action.

(Image: HawkSEM)

Customize ads to remind these prospects about your facility’s benefits to prompt return visits.

This sustains your brand in their minds as they move through the extended consideration and decision process, which is common in senior living.

Retargeting allows you to nurture relationships with promising leads who interacted with your content earlier but still nudge to commit.

9. Continually test and refine your approach

Regularly A/B test elements like ad creatives, keywords, landing page layouts, and calls-to-action.

Analyze the data to double down on what performs and eliminate what doesn’t.

Ideally, you should assign someone to be responsible for aggressive ad optimization — because search algorithms and audience interests shift over time. What connected with seniors last year may fall flat today.
Agile PPC management based on real-world data is key for sustained success.

10. Avoid common mistakes

Here are the common mistakes to avoid in planning and executing senior living PPC campaigns:

  • Neglecting negative keywords: Adding negative keywords prevents wasting your ads and budget on irrelevant searches. For example, if you don’t offer short-term stays, make “short-term stay” a negative keyword. Save your spending for prospects looking for what you provide.
  • Overlooking match types: Using only broad match (matches to any related keyword) casts too wide a net, driving irrelevant traffic. But phrase match (matches exact phrases) and exact match (matches only that specific term) can limit you too much. Employ a smart mix of match types to attract qualified prospects without missing out on potential leads.
  • Ignoring mobile optimization: More seniors and their families use phones and tablets in their housing search, so mobile-friendly ads and landing pages are a must. If your site isn’t mobile-optimized, you’ll miss out on conversions.
  • Underestimating the sales cycle: Seniors and families can take months to decide on assisted living. Make sure your strategy accounts for extended consideration with thoughtful lead nurturing and remarketing.
  • Setting and Forgetting: Don’t just launch a PPC campaign and run it indefinitely without optimizing. Check every week to tweak keywords, ad copy, and landing pages based on the collected data.

“Senior living PPC advertising stands apart due to its deeply personal and sensitive nature. It demands a thorough understanding of the unique emotional and practical needs of seniors and their families,” says Yadegar. “This niche demands a blend of empathy, clarity, and precision in messaging that doesn’t sound transactional. The key is to connect genuinely while providing clear, helpful information.”

What’s the cost of PPC for senior living centers?

The cost of PPC for senior living centers can vary widely, driven by elements like the competitiveness of the targeted keywords.

Our senior living clients spend between $5,000 and $20,000 monthly on PPC. And multi-location senior living centers could spend more than $30,000 a month.

The average per-click cost of Google search ads is between $1 and $2. However, senior living keywords have an average cost per click of over $5.

Remember, the actual amount you pay per click can be less than your maximum bid, depending on factors like your ad’s quality score and the competition for the keywords.

To manage costs effectively, focus on creating high-quality ads and landing pages to improve their quality scores, leading to lower CPCs.

“If your Google Ads Quality Score is less, you could pay less per click than your competitor bidding on the same keyword but has a lower QS,” says Yadegar. “This is one of the ways we, at HawkSEM, consistently manage to cut our clients’ cost per conversion by as much as 50%. Because we look at campaigns holistically, focusing not just on maximizing conversions but also minimizing costs.”

Set clear budget limits and regularly review campaign performance to ensure the PPC efforts align with the center’s marketing goals and budget constraints.

How to choose a senior living PPC agency

Keeping the PPC cost low and driving better results is challenging, so working with a PPC agency can be a huge help.

Of course, hiring an outside company is a big decision. After all, your success depends on the PPC agency you team up with.

So, take your time and consider the following when choosing a senior living PPC agency:

  • Proven performance: Ask for case studies, testimonials, and data showing they’ve successfully generated conversions for facilities like yours. You want to see a solid track record.
  • Relevant experience: Have they worked with other senior care providers to drive leads and fill rooms? An agency well-versed in this niche will understand the unique challenges.
  • Communication practices: The agency should provide regular, transparent reporting and keep you in the loop. Make sure collaboration will be ongoing.
  • Comprehensive services: Look for full-service support from research to analytics, not just ad creation. Campaign management and optimization should be robust.
  • Budget management: Enquire about their strategies to maximize ROI and spend your pay-per-click advertising dollars wisely to get results. Are they efficient?
  • Responsiveness: Do they monitor campaigns frequently and pivot quickly based on performance data and market changes? Senior living PPC requires agility.

While you’re here, we’ll put our hat in the ring

HawkSEM is one of the fastest-growing SEM agencies that works with brands like Legend Senior Living, one of the best-rated senior living communities in the US.

HawkSEM results

(Image: HawkSEM)

We offer end-to-end PPC services with an experienced team of specialists committed to delivering clients the highest ROI and the best experience.

We rely on proven and cutting-edge practices that enable us to achieve better results faster.

Our tech stack includes ConversionIQ, a proprietary marketing tool that equips our team with rich, real-time, actionable insights to create and execute high-impact PPC ad campaigns.

The tool helps us manage clients’ ad budgets optimally, avoid wasted ad spend, forecast results, and capture highly qualified leads — improving our campaign’s ROI by up to 109%.

If you’re looking for a true partner in a PPC agency, reach out to us today..

The takeaway

Hundreds or even thousands of people in your city are looking for a senior living facility like yours.

Reach out to these potential residents and their family members with the right message at the right time.

Leverage the power of PPC marketing to capture highly qualified leads.

Ready to plan your next ad campaign? Talk to a PPC expert today.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation