S2 EP 18 | Q2 Digital Trends

Show Notes:

Focus Discussion of the Week:

We’re diving into everything we’ve seen this quarter in the digital marketing landscape and where we recommend focusing moving forward. Special guest and podcast favorite, Chelsey Keenan, Group Two’s Director of Digital Marketing gives insightful details on Geofencing, CPM (cost per thousand impressions), Pillar Pages, and more. 

 

To read more about Group Two’s thoughts on Q2 digital marketing trends, read the blog!



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Two thought leaders come together to explore all things sales and marketing from their unique perspectives. Each week, Mollie Elkman, Matt Riley, and others from Group Two dive into a focus discussion to talk about the latest trends, changes, and best practices.

[00:00:00] Hi, and welcome to building perspective with Matt Riley and Molly Elkman. We’re here to bring value to you and your team by exploring all things, sales and marketing related. All from different perspectives. 

 

Matt Riley: All right. And welcome back to another episode of building perspective. This is episode. I don’t even know what number this episode is, but it’s a lot, it’s, is that an official number. This is episode a lot, a lot, a lot. And I am here with the one and only chessy chessy..

 Chelsey, Chessy Chelsey Keenan.

 

 Chelsey Keenan: Do you know how many people also call me [00:01:00] Chesley. It used to be an ongoing joke in the social corner that people would just write. They’d be like, Vicky would be like, Hey Chesley, can you pass me the? 

 

Matt Riley: you know, what’s funny is we’re, we’re just going to leave this in the show. We’re just going to start with a flub right out of the gate for me, but that’s okay. Because we are here to talk about our Q2 trend report. Obviously this is a focus on digital and social. Everything that’s happening. And well, I should say everything that we’ve seen happen, trends, patterns, areas, where we want to focus moving forward.

And Chelsey’s going to dive in and really go into some detail. I know Chelsey, you wrote, or the team and you wrote a blog that we posted just fairly recently. And you’re going to kind of dive into that a little bit deeper and unpack some of the stuff from the blog. Is that right? 

 

 Chelsey Keenan: Yes. And there’s definitely some stuff in the blog, which will be in the show notes.

There’s some stuff in that blog that we’re not going to touch on today, just because we really want to dive a little [00:02:00] bit deeper into the three main points from that blog that we wanted to talk about, which was geo-fence high cost of CPM on social media and some pillar pages on your website. So many fun, digital marketing things to talk about, but really all across the board here.

So definitely. Go back and read the blog. Cause there’s some more stuff in there that we’re not going to talk about on the podcast. 

 

Matt Riley: I love that. We’re going to talk about pillar pages. I seriously, I do. I love it. I think it’s awesome. Okay. So let’s dive in first. Where do you want to start Chels?

 

Chelsey Keenan:  Let’s start with geo-fencing because we were actually just talking about geo-fencing right before this. And so I think it’s a really fun topic to start off on. 

I think a lot of people have heard of geo-fencing before, especially people that have listened to this podcast. But if you’re new, geo-fencing is basically where we take a. Take a little square to give this did to give you the real simple [00:03:00] terms. We take a little square around your competitors model and we target them with a message that drives people that walk into that model, ultimately, to your model. And we can track all of those actions, the people that see it, the people that ultimately walk through your model from a competitor’s model. So it’s really, really cool, but geo-fencing has really been interesting, especially over the past year, which is why we really wanted to bring it up in this first, in this second quarter trend report, because this time last year was when we turned off a lot of our geo-fencing because it obviously tracks people that walk into models. And so this time, last year we were like, whew, we got to turn this off. Cause there’s no foot traffic in any model, but this time, this year it has really ramped up.  We’ve seen for builders that are doing geo-fencing that it’s performing really, really well. People are going [00:04:00] into competitors models, and then coming into ours, which is so fantastic.

 

The really interesting thing too, is that we were targeting a lot of, more than just the model, we were targeting a lot of spec homes and we were seeing that our targets would flash off so quickly because spec homes are selling so quickly. And so with a lot of our builders that were also geo-fencing and had first time buyers, we started geo-fencing a lot of apartment complexes within the area.

 

And we were specifically serving rent versus own messaging in that geo-fencing campaign. And those have honestly been performing even better than the model geo-fencing campaigns. And so builders, if you’re listening right now and you have a high percentage of renters that are buying your homes, these rendered [00:05:00] geo-fencing campaigns are running so, so well, mainly because they don’t sell out like inventory homes. And so we’re, we are not losing , we’re not losing targeting locations. Like we were in competitor targeting when we were targeting models and inventory homes. So it’s been going really well and , more builders are kind of hopping on and doing the renter geo-fencing too.

And we’re so excited with the results that we’re seeing.

 

Matt Riley:  I want to add, one of the things cause we just kind of dove in, but really one of the things too here is. It is time . If you , like basically paused all your marketing, like or good chunks of it. It’s time to turn it back on folks.

 

I mean, we are, we’re starting to see that, that unbelievably  unsatiable appetite of traffic and leads. It is definitely coming down, right? Now, here’s the deal. The good news is, [00:06:00] is we could we could drop from what our peak was 40 to 50% and still be at 2019 levels. It’s not like we’re dropping into recession type numbers or anything, but it is time to market, you know, and we’ve been saying all along the whole time, if you can, and if you’re able to manage your leads and you’re not going to just destroy your customer experience, don’t shut it off altogether. Like we absolutely made recommendations to cut back marketing spend and all that kind of stuff. But we, we were very much so against turning everything off.

 

There were, I use air quotes, arguments within the industry. Like you can shut it off. You don’t have to advertise right now. It’s no big deal. But one thing that some folks in places didn’t take into consideration is when you shut all your advertising off and you see a big drop in traffic, there are SEO implementation, implementation.

 

Implemen-cate, what is the word I’m trying to say? I messed up your first name at the [00:07:00] very beginning. There are some issues use with SEO ramifications that you have to deal with because Google sees your site and then a bunch of traffic, all of a sudden dropped off and stayed there. And so people are having to kind of gear back up and get SEO going again.

 

So I just wanted to add that bit. Yeah. We never said, turn it all off. It is time to start ramping your spend back up to what I would consider normal market level. And we say that like, when we make a recommendation to our builders, whether to back spend off returned, spend on it’s because it’s in the best interest of them.

 

It’s not, we don’t get paid for you spending more money on Google, right. Or Facebook or anything like it. And it is time to really consider again , unless you’re in a position  where  you just can’t take any more leads. You can’t take any more sales for a long, long time.

 

And that starting to kind of wane off it’s time to turn it in, turn, start cranking the dial back up to what would be a normal level. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Yeah. And that [00:08:00] transition really brings me into my next point that I wanted to talk about too, which was the rising cost of CPM on social media. And, that’s, for anyone that doesn’t know too.

 

They’re very simple. It’s your cost per thousand impressions. And so how much does it cost for a thousand impressions? And honestly, this is again, year over year. Something that a lot of builders are saying, wow, why was my traffic so great in 2019 or… 2019… 20? What year is it? 2020. And in 2021, my social traffic is really declining.

Well, looking back at this time, Last year, nobody was really advertising. You couldn’t do anything, not just the housing industry, I’m talking vacations, airlines, amusement parks, anywhere that people could physically go to was not marketing because it was closed. 

 

[00:09:00] Matt Riley: We were seeing builders that were cutting their spend in half and getting better performance. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: And still getting the same. Right? And so last year we could spend literally next to nothing  for the amount of impressions, the incredible amount of  impressions that we had. So last year we were seeing CPM at 5 cents, 6 cents per thousand impressions. This year, I’m seeing upwards in markets that are really busy, like Raleigh , Orlando, up to 32 sets.

And so it has increased. More than doubled in one year cost per thousand impressions. Because now this time, this year everyone’s back advertising because everything’s open again. We’re not just fighting against other home builders for our impression share on social media, we were fighting against every single person that’s advertising.

 

And now that everyone’s back, you have to spend double if not more, to get the same amount of impressions. Or if [00:10:00] not less impressions than this time last year. 

And so, like you were saying, is it time for ramp up to get your traffic back? It’s not only time to ramp up to just get your traffic back and get back to normal spend levels. It’s time to ramp up because we have to, because. We have to not even invest as much as we were pre COVID, even more because our CPM is so much higher than it was before.  

This is a conversation we were having with a lot of our builders, and I’m sure everyone is seeing the same exact thing. So…

 

Matt Riley: You shouldn’t be comparing not you Chelsea,  you shouldn’t be comparing your metrics right now, year over year. Normally we talk about year over year. Like that’s what you want to compare. Don’t compare 

 

Chelsey Keenan: It’s almost impossible.

 

Matt Riley:  2020 it’s it’s make-believe land, right? Like it’s not, you want to compare the essentially same period 2019. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Right. We were talking about this before Matt it’s so, [00:11:00] it’s almost even impossible to go back to 2019 and look at 2019 as well, especially on social media because iOS 14.5 happened.

And so now it’s even harder to look back then and say, oh, well now you’re comparing it to when audience sizes were massive. Like we’re over here increasing our lookalike audience sizes. I was talking to a Facebook rep. Our lookalike audience sizes were at 1% of the population of lookalike for your retargeting audiences.

 

And she’s like, no, we’ve got to bump that up to 4% because the audiences with 1% are just way too small, which is an enormous audience already. If, if you know about lookalike audiences and so. She was telling me she was telling me, yes, we’re seeing this across the board with the rising costs of CPM.

 

And also one of like [00:12:00] 14.5 is not making it any easier. 

 

Matt Riley: And iOS 15 is, uh, gonna make it harder too. I’m on the beta version of iOS 15 from my iPhone. It’s not just Facebook actually. So it prevents Google from collecting their like universal ID, user ID numbers in analytics. It also it’ll flag you whether or not you want, it’ll essentially block email providers from knowing if you opened their email or clicked on a link.

 

Like it literally shuts it down. If you want it. If you want to go, it’s like incognito mode all the time. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Oh my God. That’s a lot. 

 

Matt Riley: It’s a lot. It’s not only that way on the iOS. It’s going to be that way on the, on the new Mac desktop system too. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Wow. 

 

Matt Riley: All coming up this fall. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: I was going to say the great thing is we’ve got some ways around this.

 

Matt Riley: We do!

 

Chelsey Keenan:  A lot of those ways that we’ve listed out in our blog, too. A lot of the things we’re doing to combat this rise in cost [00:13:00] of CPM and how we’re utilizing our own data for that. So CRM lists retargeting from your website, but CRM lists have been extremely helpful in this. So if you are not tracking every single contact right now that walks through your door, or if you’re not organizing them correctly in a CRM list, it’s also hurting your marketing efforts because there’s so much that can be done with that information.

 

Matt Riley: Yep, totally. So, this is in my opinion, like from an SEO perspective, like SEO content, what you’re about to talk about with pillar pages, cluster topics, like all of this stuff is literally going to be the way in my opinion, the way that you’re going to continue to drive traffic, brand awareness, SEO. It is the workaround to the privacy changes that are coming and probably rightfully so, to be frank about the privacy [00:14:00] stuff. As marketers, we hate losing some of that control, but this is getting back into good old fashion brand building and SEO. It just never goes  out of style. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Yeah, no it doesn’t. And you’re right. So basically pillar pages in your website. Are think of what a pillar is. It literally holds everything up. It’s not like an architectural structure has 1000 pillars. And so every single page on your website should not be considered a pillar page.

 

It is really the most important pages on your website that are your most highly trafficked pages. Again, usually from organic search and they really have the most engaging content on your website. And not only that. They have easy conversion points. And so these pages one off the top of my head, I guess we can talk [00:15:00] about.

 

Sometimes if a builder has a build on your lot, obviously that phrase is widely searched. And so they want their build on your lot page to be one of their pillar pages within their website. It’s going to provide all of the information and there’s going to be a separate contact form on there. But it’s not just enough to have a couple of sentences on a pillar page.

 

You’ve really got to fill that with content and it’s not just writing a 1000 word essay and just pasting it on a page and saying, that’s enough. It’s got to look good and be engaging, too. 

 

Matt Riley: I think a good example of a pillar page would be , if your website’s set up properly, you know, you go to your, what we would call  your find your home page, right?

So where you’re going to be able to look. All the areas where you build homes and communities. And let’s just say you have, you know, your sub-markets of your overall area. So [00:16:00] we’ll use Raleigh as an example, since that’s where I live. So we’ll have, Raleigh’s the Metro market. You may not build in Raleigh proper, but you build in, you know, areas like Apex, Holly Springs, Carey, Fuquay-Varina fill in the blank, right.

 

Sub markets. And so you would have, okay, here’s all your communities that you build in sub market names. Not greater Raleigh area. Cause that’s all of them, but some market name and it’s three communities. And on that page at the bottom of that page, you should have an about the area in there. Right. So it would be, live in Apex, so I’ll use Apex as the example, about builder name in home or new homes for sale in Apex. Right? So very high. You want that H one or that H two to be keyword heavy on search terms and then nice, good copy, underneath that’s long form. Like you said, it could be, it doesn’t have to be a thousand words. It could be 1500, it could be 750, but  it’s good quality content that the user is going to want to read, and that’s rich in [00:17:00] relevant search data. Right?

 

 And so that’s just the page. That’s the existing page. And you want to drive traffic to that individual page think, cause we’re calling it a pillar page. So it’s where people are going to enter into your site. Not because they’re coming to your homepage because they’re coming , if your advertising is working in your SEO is working, you’re bringing them directly into a little bit deeper into   the site itself. And so from there you’re also creating additional content. Blogs and other resources on your website that internally link to and point to that page, the pillar page, right?

So you can have these other pages or other topics, blogs, things like that are going to be like your clusters. It’s going to be your cluster of content. Think of it as spokes of a wheel, and then the hub and the center. And it’s all feeding in, in to the pillar page, which is in the middle. And so all of these things link back and forth.

 

They have two way connections [00:18:00] between the pillar page and the sub pages, right? They’re linking back and forth. And that creates really, really strong SEO results. And so you, you want to pick, you know, a handful, six to eight pillar pages if your site’s big enough throughout your site, that you’re going to be driving traffic in, but those sub market area pages are really good, those are really good, basic versions of what a pillar page would be. 

 

Another pillar page, if you were a green home, if you were certified green builder, right? Like you might have a, you might want to dedicate or should have a good heavy amount of content on your site or a page on your site that talks all about your green certification. And so that could be a pillar page where you’re directing outside traffic to that page. You’re directing internally. Traffic to that page and vice versa back and forth. 

 

So that is what a pillar page would be. And what  that, what that kind of partial [00:19:00] strategy would look like too, and from those pillar pages. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Because you can, you can write a thousand blogs about energy efficiency and about green building.

You can write a thousand blogs about how great Apex is to go back to your example  of those cities. And always, always link back to those pillar pages. But if you don’t have that page to begin with, then it’s just your blog. Which takes away all of your opportunity for, like you said, interlinking within your website and kind of forcing people to spend more time on your website, go deeper into your website, then the original page that they went to.

 

Matt Riley: Yeah. And so the question that a lot of people ask themselves or us for that matter, right. Is going to be like, well, how do I create? Like, how do I know if it’s useful content, right? Well, [00:20:00] you should be that content, those pillar pages should be answering questions that people are asking and that’s, what’s bringing the traffic in because of the content on the page is answering questions that, you know, people are searching, right.

 

So there’s keyword search tools out there. A lot of times you can use up for free. You can use like Google ads keyword tool that you would use to pay for. You know, if you’re going to use to pay for ads, you can use that to figure out what those keywords are. But if you sign up for like a Moz or an SEMrush or paid programs, it’ll actually tell you, you know, you can, it’ll say you can have it give you questions that are being phrased. We do it for our clients, our builders, but it’s one of those things where you can literally see what questions people are asking about that submarket or around that keyword.

 

When I say it’ll tell you. This is this, doesn’t say people ask this [00:21:00] question, go write a blog about this. Like you actually have to put some, you know, one plus one equals two together, but it gives you some really good insights. So to create good content. When you ask yourself, how do I do that? Are you answering questions that people are searching for?

Like that is the key to determining whether or not you’re writing good content. And then once you determine that you’re answering questions, That’s when you make sure that it’s rich in other SEO search terms. Does that make sense?

 

Chelsey Keenan:  To me? Does it make sense! Audience! Audience, does it make sense?

 

Matt Riley: Right? Yes. Thoughts? 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Yes, it does. I think it’s also so important and everybody talks about these pillar pages in regards to being so important for SEO and Google and search and organic traffic, but coming from a paid digital marketing perspective, those pillar pages are also vital in terms of sending [00:22:00] traffic to your website and having it match your ad content.

There are so many times when, I know builders have , like you were saying before, fantastic green building, or energy efficiency building or smart home building, and they want to advertise that. But when it’s time to set, where, where do we send them to? It’s like, oh, just send them to find a home or just send them to  the floor plan page.

 

That’s a huge, it’s a huge disconnect. The paid advertising that you have and what you’re sucking people into, and then sending them to that website page. 

I think, like you said, a lot of, a lot of things that people would consider their most important aspects of them, they just want to put in an email or put in an ad, but they don’t realize that it should exist as a main pillar page on their website.

 

Matt Riley: Absolutely. 

 

So from a, just as just general, total, a little bit down the rabbit hole of [00:23:00] content, because it is so important, but we talk about those pillar pages. Google, when you get a chance Google “10 X pillar pages” and so you’re going to see examples of like what, what they call a 10 X pillar page. It is some intense, very SEO focused content, and it is long form content.

 

Right? So it’s essentially,  if you’ve written 30 blogs about a topic this 10 X pillar page is literally like a summary page of all of the blogs that you’ve written about, that one particular subject. And then you’re linking out to all these individual blogs. And linking back to different pages and stuff that other other pages it’s referring to as well.

 

So you’ve got a 10 X pillar page, and then you have like a resource pillar page. And a resource pillar page, let’s just think of you go really deep into how to buy a home from a mortgage perspective. Like, how do I get a mortgage on a new [00:24:00] home? That kind of question that people search and you’re, if you go really deep into a specific resource, so those are two other types of pillar pages that you can focus on: a 10 X pillar page and a resource pillar page. But you really can’t do those until you’ve actually dedicated the time and effort to create a regular pillar page within your site.

 

Meaning, that’s where you’re going to be drawn, trying to drive traffic to, because you really want to make an impact in search terms like new homes for sale in Apex, North Korea. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: We’ll write this all down in the show notes too. No, not word for word transcript, but just just little bullet points that, so you don’t have to take notes if you’re uh driving. 

 

Matt Riley: Pull over the car, write the stuff down.

 

But so those are some things that you can focus on. Like this is a really great, I think a really great episode because we’re  were able to get into some really tactical stuff, you know, especially as we get into what that is. And so instead of just, [00:25:00] just focusing on here’s the trends report.

 

All right. It’s time to buckle down. If I was summarizing, like if I was a listener and I’m summarizing what I heard today, it would be: All right. I’ve got to get ready to get, if  my spins, not back to what it was before. I’ve got to put a plan in place if, to make sure I can manage my leads and that I, that I get there, you know.

 Is it going to be seven days from now you’re going to be back? Probably not. But I need to put a plan in place, if my budgets have been cut or intentionally scaled back. Right?   

 

As things are opened back up, we’re seeing really great success out of geo-fencing. So that’s something to really take a look at. And then to bypass or work around some of these iOS privacy updates. 

 

And just in general, cause everybody’s getting on the privacy wagon, it’s not just Apple. SEO. Branding is going to be it almost like it used to be right before Facebook got Big Brother-ish, you know, it was like branding and SEO and, and some paid ads from like [00:26:00] Google keywords.

 

Like that was like your ticket. Like if you could do that really well. You could beat almost anybody. And so now it’s bringing that stuff back into play, and it’s not just about who has the biggest checkbook. 

Chelsey Keenan: Yeah, like that you said that, and as we were talking. I thought to myself like, well, this sounds a little repetitive and maybe not like anything new and maybe a little bit 1 0 1 type stuff.

 

But I think it’s important a lot of times to look back and realize that we have to go back to the basics a little bit and we have to go back to square one. It’s been a really weird year and a half, obviously. And. It is important to kind of check ourselves, go back to the basics and think like, do we have everything on a basic level that we need to get our website as good as it can be from just an organic search standpoint?

 

And [00:27:00] if I’m going to rename this podcast episode, it’s going to be Chessy and Matt’s, Chessy and Matt’s back  to the basics.

 

Matt Riley: Chessy! 

 

Whenever someone says, check yourself, I can’t think of anything other than Ice Cube. And do you know that song? Chelsey? Do you know that song? Check yourself before you wreck yourself? 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I like can’t play it in my mind right now, because all I can think of is Chessy, but that’s okay. 

 

Matt Riley: Chessy! That’s okay. That’s your, we’re just going to dub that as your new nickname.

 

Chelsey Keenan: That’s alight.

 

Matt Riley:  Awesome. 

 

All right, guys, that is going to do it for us this week, Chelsey or Chessy 

 

Chelsey Keenan: Or Chessy or Chesley. Whatever! 

 

Matt Riley: This is what happens by the way, guys, it is currently 4:42 in the afternoon. This is what happens when you put Matt on a late in the day podcast. My brain is over. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: This is what happens when you try to put me on a podcast after having a wedding this [00:28:00] weekend. Not my own wedding, but just somebody else.

I was afraid. I was like, Ooh, is my voice going to be back for this? It’s still a little raspy, but.

 

Matt Riley: Man, you, you must have thrown down. 

 

Chelsey Keenan: It was, it was a wedding. It was a wedding on the 50th floor of a building during a severe thunderstorm. So needless to say it was a bit anxiety inducing, and I needed a couple of glasses of wine to get over that.

 

Matt Riley: A couple in air quotes. Alright guys, thank you so much, Chessy, for coming on the show and 

 

Chelsey Keenan: I hope I made you laugh, everyone! 

 

Matt Riley: Open Q2 trend  report. All right, gang. Have a great week and we’ll talk to you soon.

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