3rd Quarter 2020 Digital Marketing Benchmarks for Home Builders

Third quarter came and went with the blink of an eye. Through hurricanes, wild fires and floods, the home building industry took no hits in the third quarter. The same is true in digital marketing. Facebook and Google both reported solid increases to impressions and clicks while remaining extremely cost effective. The news remains upbeat and at times record breaking. 


Website traffic held steady as compared to the previous quarter, however the quality of the traffic rose. There was a 7% increase in time on site combined with a more than 17% rise in goal completions. This goal increase when combined with the sessions holding steady resulted in a nearly 17% increase in the conversion rate. The overall average for time on site is 3:25 for the 3rd quarter and the goal conversion rate is 1.34%. The goals we are tracking include calls, form completions, chats, user registrations and clicks to email. 


Facebook is as strong a place as ever to reach your target audience. Between the machine learning and the amount of people that are on the platform, it’s a no brainer to have a presence there. I feel strongly that you should be spending almost as much money on Facebook as you do on Google. There is quality traffic available from the top right on through the bottom of your marketing funnel.

The CTR declined from 4.26% to 4.07% because impressions increased significantly more than clicks causing the slight decline in CTR. This is still a 31% increase in CTR from 2019. This is 4x’s the industry average of .98%. 

The cost per click held steady at $.20 which is $1.60 less than the industry average. This marks a nearly 50% decline from last year.

Facebook continues to deliver results and while it breaks my heart in so many other ways and is probably causing the decline of civilization, it remains my true love in the digital ad space.


The continued upward search trends for new homes during 2020 have carried on strong into the third quarter of this year and things are continuing to look good on Google Search as we move into Q4. Impressions and clicks both increased favorably quarter over quarter, but we saw a slight increase in average search CPCs (6%), which helped to contribute to a drop in overall CTR Q/Q, but still well above real estate industry average coming in at 7.17%. That said when comparing Q3 of 2020 to Q3 of 2019 is where the uptick for homebuilder search efforts can really be seen. Impressions increased by 32% and clicks increased a whopping 71%! Average CPCs year over year are down by 23% and CTR is up 19%. These search trends continue to point to an active home shoppers market and Google Search continues to remain the obvious space to be for homebuilders who want to reach new homebuyers looking for homes in their markets.


The Google Display network continues to be an opportune space for homebuilders trying to reach A LOT of top of funnel users for a very low cost. Quarter over quarter display impressions were up by 13% and clicks increased by 17%. Average CPCs on display ads also increased very slightly in Q3 compared to Q2 as more competition entered the space to take advantage of the historically low cost of inventory. Clicks on these ads averaged less than 20 cents per click for our home builder clients (the real estate average CPC for display ads is $0.75). The average CTR on display ad efforts also rose quarter over quarter by 3% averaging at .90%.

As we move into the final quarter of 2020 and into the new era of Google’s policy for housing I expect to see the continued increased momentum we’ve seen throughout the year. Google’s policy updates hopefully shouldn’t affect your search and display performance as long as it’s being managed properly.  


Housing as a whole is really crushing 2020, despite a global pandemic. Clients are selling more homes than ever before and when we look at our digital marketing benchmarks, the improvements over 2019 are impressive. Because things really started ramping up in the 2nd quarter, the fact that these numbers are holding steady through the 3rd quarter are a promising sign considering July and August are usually not especially popular months for new home sales. It’s great to see at least one area of the economy thriving during this economic downturn. 

To watch a recap of the Homefiniti and Beyond that covers this click here.

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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.