July update: COVID-19’s impact on real estate advertising on Facebook

July 9, 2020
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This will be the fourth continuation of our analysis showing COVID-19’s impact on Real Estate Advertising on Facebook. Each month, our team will continue to analyze month-over-month result data from a subset of our Real Estate advertising business.

To date, we analyzed over 380,000,000 ad impressions and behaviors that have generated 190,000 leads. Below, alongside our first three data sets,  you will find the results of our newest analysis showing the changes in result metrics when comparing May data to June data.

Analysis Results

Digital marketing month comparison

Lead conversion rate (CVR) continues to be the focal point of the analysis showcasing another MoM gain, this time at +15%. The continually climbing conversion rate signals that buyer and seller intent continues to gain strength.

Click through rates (CTR) increase 1% compared to May, but the overall CTR is still lower than pre-COVID levels. Usually, during the busy summer home buying season, CTR is at a higher level, signaling stronger engagement from people who are early in their home search. Because high CTRs are not present, we believe that there is less “home browsing” behavior than we typically see at this time of year. However, people who are clicking ads are generating leads at a rate 3X higher than during this time period in 2019.

The cost of media (CPM – Cost per 1,000 impressions) has almost returned to pre-COVID levels. However, the rising cost in media rates have not impacted the cost per lead (CPL -3%) due to the abnormally high CVR.

Seasonality Comparison

The below seasonality analysis compares data from 2019 in the same MoM format with our data from 2020. Our goal is to identify how our COVID-19’s impact on real estate advertising on Facebook differs from 2019’s normal buying season.

Digital marketing seasonality comparison

The above chart shows that CPM, CPC, and CVR are not inline with the “business as usual” data that is presented in the 2019 row. Also, we discovered through data that is not presented on this chart, that comparing  year-over-year CPM rates, the cost of media in June 2020 is 40% lower than in June 2019.

Correlation Between Pending Home Sales And Lead Conversion Rates

On June 29th, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) published an update from the Pending Home Sales Index (PHS) and announced that pending home sales notch record-setting 44.3% monthly increase in May 2020.

Our second report that compared March and April data recorded a 47% increase in CVR in April. Because CVR signals early stages of home buyer intent, it may be logical to assume a correlation between the abnormally high increase in April’s CVR and May’s record setting amount of pending home sales.

We will continue to monitor CVR with the PHS to see if this correlation holds longer term. The recorded 47% CVR in April was less than 5% off from May’s PHS number of 44.3%, If the PHS number for June is still in the 4% – 7% differential range from our CVR our case for a possible correlation will become stronger.

A Regional Look at Month-Over-Month Conversion Rates

To showcase the rapidly changing environment that COVID-19 has had on real estate advertising on Facebook, we created several heat maps of the USA. These maps show each state’s CVR. States with high CVRs are reflected in dark green, and states with low CVRs are reflected in dark red.

regional CVR comparison between May and June

Here are a few observations from the above maps

  1. June map shows the East Coast with lower CVRs than May.
  2. Arizona is showing an extremely high CVR, but during the month of June it was reported that Arizona was one of our nation’s largest COVID-19 hot spots.
  3. Over the last two months California is the only state that has had continually low CVRs.

Lead Conversion Rate Trend Line Through COVID-19 Crisis

graph of CVR changes

The continual increase in CVR can be clearly seen in the above chart. The current CVR levels are significantly higher than when recorded during pre-COVID times

Cost Per Lead Trend Line Through Covid-19 Crisis

graph of CPL changes

Cost Per 1,000 Impressions Trend Line Through Covid-19 Crisis

graph of CPM changes

It’s easy to see the gradual increase in CPM rates over the last 60 days

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