Social + Digital Data Year in Review

Business growth concept year 2020

It’s been an incredible yet always changing year in our world of homebuilder marketing here at group two, and as we look ahead to 2020, we want to share our most important digital and social media data insights with you. As we aggregate all the homebuilder data we see every day, we thought we would share a few key social media and SEM benchmarks and make some predictions going into 2020

Social Media Data Insights

From special category targeting to getting rid of Instagram likes, Facebook introduced many changes in 2019. To create a benchmark for how we should utilize social in the year ahead (and what we should strive to be above), we’ve compiled averages for social media data points for builders of all sizes and markets across North America. This data was based on over 52.9 million impressions over the last 12 months with a range of ad spends and budgets, as well as the location and size of builder, so keep that in mind as you read through the numbers!

Cost per unique link click = .76
Traffic to website: paid social + social combined = 16-20%

If the amount of traffic coming to your website from social, both paid and organic, is not within the 16-20% range, that’s a good indication that you should boost your social media budget for 2020! A low spend on social media (less than $150-200/community advertised, for example), will have a hard time competing against higher spends for impression share on the newsfeed and doesn’t give Facebook’s AI enough ammo to do what it does best…get your message in front of the right people that will take the right actions!

Paid social average bounce rate = 54.79%    
Pages/session = 2.47  
Average time on site = 1.08 minutes

Since over 78% of all actions taken on social media occurred on a mobile phone, it makes sense that the average bounce rate, pages/session, and time on site is lower than you may have thought. And if your ads and website are set up properly this is NOT a bad thing. You should be taking the user directly to the page or product they want to see with minimal clicks and effort (this is called a frictionless experience). This is even more of a reason your website should be designed for a mobile fist world.

Cost per unique link click = $0.76 vs. cost per unique post engagement = $1.20

Most users on social are only going to take one action, whether that’s liking, commenting, sharing, saving, or clicking through to the website. If users are really interested in your product, they’re not going to take the time to like your post — they’re going to go straight to your website. As seen in the cost/link click vs. the cost/post engagement, it’s a lot more common for users to click through to your website than engage with your posts.

In 2020, we recommend focusing less on the likes and more on the links! Instagram took a huge step in the past month by taking away the ability to see the number of likes on a photo(we wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar move on Facebook in 2020. They are already testing this in other countries). This speaks volumes about the data that we should be paying attention to, and the data that’s just smoke and mirrors.

SEM Data Insights AKA Google Ads (Formally known as Google Adwords)

The data and benchmarks below are a reflection of Google data specific to “new home” searches, as well as aggregate data from builders across North America. Here are some benchmarks and key trends from 2019 that you should keep in mind as you measure the success of your digital campaigns.

2019 Benchmarks

Paid Search CTR:

Achieving a high click-through rate is essential to your PPC success, because it directly affects both your Quality Score and how much you pay every time a user clicks your search ad.

2019 Industry Average with Google for a home builder. CTR: 5.3% 1 (Keep Reading it gets better)

Tip: Increase your CTR by using Google’s responsive search ad format. Responsive search ads automatically test different combinations of headlines and descriptions to learn which combinations perform best. When you show more relevant ads, your CTR increases. This is a tactic that we apply to our builder campaigns to exceed the industry average; at Group Two our Builders average CTR for non-branded keywords is 8.7%. NON-BRANDED is the key term here. Don’t waste tons of money on your own brand name. It may look good and pad your stats but it’s not driving additional traffic that you wouldn’t get already.

“New Home” Search Query Breakdown1

  • 54% mobile
  • 40% desktop
  • 6% tablets

2019 Key Trends:

More ads are being shown:
Ad depth is the number of ads shown in a search (impressions/queries with ads). In 2019, ad depth increased by 10% to an average of 3.91. With more ads being shown for every “new home” search, it’s essential that your search ad messaging is relevant and compelling so that your ad stands out from the competition. Remember, telling google you are willing to pay to show up at the top doesn’t mean the user will actually click your ad, that’s where having relevant and compelling ad copy comes into play.

Increasing CPCs:
More ads being shown results in more competition, which increases the average CPC. In 2019, there was a 7% increase in average CPC. According to Google data, In 2019 the national average Google Paid Search CPC was $1.631

More people are searching for “new homes” on Google:
In 2019, there was an 8% increase in overall search growth for “new homes” and “custom homes.” 1

  • 16% increase in mobile

  • 0% increase in desktop (this is really notable)

  • 3% decrease in tablet

Continued growth in mobile:

  • 66% of all paid search ad clicks came from mobile1

  • 62% of all impressions came from mobile1

  • Mobile queries increased 16% over  20181


We hope this data sheds some light on where you are and where you should be going in 2020. Here’s to your success ahead, we can’t wait for 2020!


Data Sources:

1.Google New Homes Vertical Trends Report 2019. 
2. Group Two internal homebuilder Paid Search data.
3. Group Two internal Facebook data. 


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