And just like that it’s Friday once more. I spent the better part of my work week going down a rabbit hole of data for two reasons. First and foremost, today’s edition of Homefiniti & Beyond is all about website and digital marketing benchmarks from the 4th Quarter of 2020 as well as 2020 overall. The second reason started last week with a client call on which assisted conversions were mentioned.
Assisted Conversions are a nifty tool in Google Analytics that allow you to see not just which sources lead directly to conversions, but which sources acted as a touchpoint along the way. BUT this data is not without its fair share of issues. Assisted conversions are only able to view touchpoints from 90 days ago. BUT, the home buying process is often far longer than 90 days from the first time a person thinks about buying a home until they actually get comfortable with taking some form of action on a website that is counted as a conversion. So I decided to try and prove that some top of funnel marketing efforts while, in and of themselves, are not drivers of conversions, and may not even be listed as an assist, are, in fact, a valuable tool in the arsenal that does lead to an increase in conversions down the road. It just takes longer than 90 days for that impact to be seen. The good news is that I was able to do so through my favorite tool, Data Studio.
The reason I share this is because one of the articles I am sharing today, discusses the importance of Brand marketing (a form of top of funnel marketing) as it relates to your search engine marketing. Brand marketing supports your search engine marketing. Without brand marketing, there’s not enough awareness to search for your brand or your product. In my case, I was looking to show the efficacy of external email campaigns in which you rent a list and then send them an email. Most often, this is the first time the people who receive the email have ever heard of our clients brand. They might not even actively be looking to buy a home at the time they see the email. It’s like a billboard or an ad in a magazine; that first touch, the branding effort. And it ultimately leads to an increase in traffic to your website and an increase in conversions. Email received, introduction made, 6 months later, they’re looking to buy a home so they look you up on a search engine and find themselves back on your website, filling out forms and becoming a lead. Without brand awareness, search traffic declines and so do your leads.
Speaking of email campaigns, several years ago Google introduced Gmail ads. It was a standalone product in the ads dashboard that allowed advertisers to create ads that looked like emails that would populate at the top of a gmail users inbox. It was a little clunky IMO but it was a creative way to reach potential customers. This week, Google announced that it was rolling gmail ads into discovery campaigns so that it would no longer be a standalone product. We’ll keep you posted on how this affects both discovery campaigns and gmail campaigns going forward.
In 2020 the housing market rode a great wave of increased demand. We saw builders break records and beat goals but it didn’t come without a price, like a literal actual price: increased lumber prices. Not to mention the land shortages many builders are facing on the coasts in particular. These obstacles lead to a decline of 3 points in builder confidence in January.
“Builder confidence in the market for single-family homes fell 3 points in January to 83, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Anything above 50 is considered positive. Two months ago, the index hit a record high of 90. In January 2019, before the pandemic struck, it was at 75.”
Notice that even though confidence fell, it’s still relatively high and a vast improvement of January of last year. Which was before we all added the words lockdown, quarantine, pandemic and covid-19 to our daily lexicon. Certainly, the lumber costs and land limitations will affect production and costs moving forward, but not in such a way as to deter another banner year for builders.
The links I shared today are what I love about my job, helping out clients solve their puzzles, providing facts that help guide the decision making process when it comes to websites and marketing efforts, and sharing my love of the process. Have a great weekend!