The state of phone calls in the property market

24 Jan 2019 in PPC


The phone call is one of the most vital steps in the buyer journey for property. It signifies a potential end to the research phase, and a committed step towards selecting somewhere to buy or rent. Being as informed as possible about how calls are coming in, what happens on them, and the impact they are having needs to be a priority for any brands in the property and house building industries.

To help get you started, we have run a quick bit of analysis on over 800,000 calls that were made to a wide mix of leading property developers over the last two years. Here are a few of the standout statistics we have picked out.

  • On average, house builders receive one booking call for every 27 website visits.
  • Year-on-year, the average length of a call increased by nearly 23%.
  • January has an average number of calls, but the highest number of web visits. Suggesting it’s peak research time.
  • October is when the highest number of calls come into house builders, followed closely by November.
  • December is the quietest month in terms of calls, and the 2nd lowest for website visitors.

Interested in using tech to help sell houses? Make sure you download our new eBook on the tech trends for marketing new homes.

Three PPC lessons we learned from 800,000 calls

1) Brands and mortar

Whether or not to bid on brand keywords is a common query we work on with our clients. It hugely varies depending on the industry, brand, and whether you have a good SEO presence. Getting this wrong has the potential to waste huge amounts of your budget, or switch off a channel delivering ample customers.

Two-thirds of enquiry calls from PPC included a brand, suggesting that people either had a development or brand in mind when they first searched for a property.

Should you bid on brand keywords, when people are already searching for you? The evidence we have seen suggests that you should, but ultimately this is something that will be unique to you. Discovering where both your own and your competitor’s brand keywords impact the customer journey should be something you explore.

2) Specify what you’re building

Most people know whether they want a house or a flat. They’ll often have a good idea of whether they want a new build or an older model too. This is reflected in how they search, as we see that seven out of the top ten keywords driving calls specify the property being looked for.

PPC keywords chart 2019 property.png

Note: In collating this list and the next, we have removed locations and brands. We recommend looking at combining these terms with locations or brands relevant to you and assessing what performs best for you.

3) Finding keywords that give the best value

From what we could see, the keywords generating the most clicks will likely lead to the most calls. However, clicks come at a cost. Search platforms will charge more for competitive, high traffic keywords and this will impact your cost per lead. You may decide that quality over quantity is an approach you’d prefer to take.

For example, variants of “houses for sale” were searched an average of 450,000 times a month in the UK over the last two years, yet averaged just £0.91 per click. On first impression, this means it’s a no-brainer to include, but adding a location to that term can produce substantial differences. At the very top end, some locations can see you paying up to £15.27 per click, whereas others only tip the scales at highs of £0.32.

Reminder: No two markets (or marketers) are identical

We sourced these findings from a wide pool of call intelligence data across a mix of brands in the property industry. However, the keywords and tactics employed by these brands may be different from yours. They may also be operating in different locations and targeting a separate audience. We enthusiastically urge you to conduct similar research looking at your own data, in order to produce outcomes that are optimal for you.

One thing that every brand in this study has in common is that all of them have invested in improving the number of quality calls they receive, which starts with identifying them, understanding where they come from, and acting on those insights. Start a conversation with us if you’d like to know more about how call intelligence achieves this.

Want to know more?

This is simply scratching the surface of the insights available to switched on property marketers. Our latest eBook dives into eight of the tech trends that will help property marketers to sell houses to a modern audience. This includes ideas on how to use social media, video, and virtual reality. It even discusses techniques to employ when dealing with a tech-averse culture.

Download the eBook for free right here.

Head of Content

Andy Vale
Head of Content

Andy has spent years obsessively analysing B2B and B2C digital marketing campaigns and technology. Outside his family, his main loves are Woking FC, his Xbox, and his National Trust membership.

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