2019 Search Trends

February 18, 2020

OVERVIEW

Seasonality: a somewhat ominous and ambiguous term in the multifamily industry. A term that often generates more questions than answers -- How does seasonality impact budgeting? What does it mean for overall digital performance? And just how much does it specifically affect paid search campaigns? In order to answer these questions, we compiled data from several search campaigns that ran for the entirety of 2019. We dissected the results and came to some conclusions about the impact of seasonal trends on paid search.   

What we found will probably not be too shocking to the seasoned marketer. However, our results do serve as strategic guidelines -- backed by objective data points -- for how to approach digital campaigns throughout the year.

CHALLENGE

Let’s be honest...PPC campaigns are no easy feat. In order to see any kind of success, each campaign needs to be run with a thoughtful strategy that’s defined by data driven knowledge. So, when determining a property’s monthly budget and lead expectations, seasonality must be taken into consideration. The more data we have on monthly, quarterly, and yearly performance, the more we can strategically optimize campaigns and set expectations.

Our technology, Fiona, provides invaluable insights into market trends and overall budget recommendations -- insights that are backed by millions of data points. However, what marketers are often missing is insight into campaign performance across a multitude of properties. This information is critical in order to set hard numbers to seasonal trends. 

That’s where we come in. In this study, we examined data from 51 properties across the country, breaking the results into both quarterly and monthly segments.

STRATEGY

In order to conduct a holistic analysis -- to get a deeper understanding of seasonal trends -- our team split the data into a few different views. First, we looked at quarter over quarter data, which is shown in the chart below. As you peruse the results, keep in mind that the average CPC may look slightly lower than expected. That is because the average in this study is combining both branded and non-branded CPC. However, we also made a separate breakout so you can see the difference in branded and non-branded CPC month over month.


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Pretty much what you expected, right? Cost is at its peak in Q2 and Q3, with an increase in leads, decrease in CPL, and increase in conversion rate. But let's take a deeper look.


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RESULTS


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Q1 to Q2

  • As moving season approaches, paid search spend naturally increases, causing an uptick in lead generation and a drop in CPL. In fact, our results indicate that Q2 generates the highest average number of leads with an efficient CPL. In other words, get ready to ramp up your spend in the spring! 

Q2 to Q3

  • Spend and leads remain relatively flat during this time of the year, while CPC and CTR decrease. Average impressions and clicks are at an all time high in Q3, yet the CTR manages to decrease. We can attribute this to a highly saturated rental market throughout the summer months, spiking impressions and slighting decreasing the CTR. However, leads remain high at an efficient CPL, proving a drop in CTR is no cause for concern.  

Q3 to Q4

  • In the latter half of the year, spend begins to drop, just like interest in the rental market. It’s cold, it’s time for holiday hibernation, and renters are generally not as active during this stretch. Expect an increase in CPC, decrease in leads, and increase in CPL.

Q4 to Q1

  • As the holidays subside, expect an increase in renter interest, leading to an uptick in CTR and slight decrease in CPC. However, leads may remain relatively flat until Q2 strikes. At that point, you can expect the leads to warm with the weather. 

More questions about seasonal search trends? Hit us up. There’s nothing we like more than dishing on data. 

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