Second Quarter 2020 Digital Marketing Benchmarks for Home Builders

As we round the corner to the second half of 2020, with no end to the Pandemic and it’s tumult in sight, I can confidently say that the housing market isn’t having it. The economy has ebbed and flowed showing signs of recovery and signs of strain. The news is full of sadness and scary predictions for the future. But the trends I see in digital advertising and on home builder websites show hope and positive forward momentum. Costs are down, clicks are up and homes are selling. 

I’ve said this repeatedly since the onset of Covid-19 restrictions, this change of life, is having a positive impact on home buying and selling. I see it all around me locally in the resale market and I see it for our builder clients across the country. When forced to alter the way we live our lives and more of our lives are happening inside the 4 walls of our homes, people are opting for new homes. What was once a little bothersome is now an unbearable facet of our current living situation. As such, people are searching for new homes. And brand new homes, as opposed to used homes, are of particular appeal due their inherent cleanliness and germ free vibe.

See how this translates to Facebook and Google Ads as well as website trends below.


Website trends are showing 23% more sessions compared to the first quarter and 50% more sessions compared to the same time last year. That alone is a strong indicator that the home building market is doing well. But then when you take into account the fact that people are spending more time on builder websites and that lead generation KPI’s are higher than in the first quarter, that tells me that the new home market is strong. 


You may have noticed that people are using social media now more than ever to stay in touch and communicate through our socially distanced lives. The good news is that more people are able to see the ads we place. The bad news is that lots of advertisers are aware of this uptick so competition for ad space is heating up again, a trend we saw beginning in June. 

The CTR is 4.26%. This is 4x’s the industry average of .98%. It represents an increase of over 20% from last quarter and more than 25% from last year. 

The cost per click is only $.20 which is $1.60 less than the industry average. This marks a 31% decline from last year and a 35% decline from last quarter.

Now is the time to use Facebook to reach your customers. The value of Facebook advertising has continued to grow over the last year and we can’t recommend enough the use of their highly targeted ads in procuring new website visitors and leads for your business.


Fortunately for the homebuilding industry and our builder clients, the second quarter of 2020 saw the continued positive growth and momentum that we were experiencing in Q1, even in the midst of navigating the pandemic. Most notably our average search CPCs dropped by 33% year over year and declined by 25% quarter over quarter, bringing our average cost per click on our builders search ads to only $1.11! This is 53% less than the real estate industry average CPC, which means our clients were able to get more bang for their buck. These record low CPCs helped our clients see an increase in search impressions quarter over quarter as well as a substantial increase in clicks, bringing our average search CTR to 7.83%. ONeil clients Google search CTR is well over 110% the industry average for real estate search ads. 


Google’s positive second quarter results also extended to our clients’ display efforts as well. Similarly to what we saw on the search network, display CPCs also dropped eloquently quarter over quarter, averaging out at just $0.17 per click on our clients display ads. This is 77% LESS than the industry average for real estate display ad clicks. The drop in average CPCs lead to a slight increase in overall display impressions quarter over quarter and a significant increase in clicks (27%) on display ads Q/Q. 

As we continue to navigate and manage changes to the search landscape during the pandemic, one thing is for certain, the desire for users searching for a new home has only increased during 2020 and all signals point to a continued surge for these types of new home searches. The uptick in searches, coupled with the increased exposure due to lower ad costs and less competition is something that builders should definitely continue to take advantage of when marketing their new homes and communities. 


Turns out there’s nothing like a Global Pandemic to make people want to buy new homes. And it also makes for a great digital marketing landscape. With low costs and high returns, Google and Facebook have proven to be an invaluable resource when selling new homes. 

To watch our Facebook Live on this topic click the image below

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Molly White

Molly White

I am a passionate early adopter. At ONeil Interactive I help clients put their best technological foot forward while generating high quality leads with digital campaigns that consistently beat industry averages.