Understanding the (REAL) Estate marketing metrics

Category : Real Estate Marketing Author : Team Amura Date : 26 Sep 2014

What are you taught – “Which metrics should you measure for an online campaign?”

Most common sufficient mentions will be: 

CTR – click-through rate. A better click-through means your ads and ad-communication are relevant, appealing.
Time on site – A better engaging website, a blog will longer time on site and eventually better conversion.

Conversion ratio on website – This is how you will calculate your ROI. You are recommended to use Google Analytics to track events and goal conversions/ eCommerce conversions on your website. Today software also goes ahead and measure conversions across devices giving you a better understanding of how a user navigates before they end up buying.

Cost per conversion – Basis the conversions tracked and money spent on advertising, comes your cost per conversion. Again it boils down to the ROI you get for your campaigns.

A good digital marketer measures all of these metrics, an excellent one utilizes them in real time.  But are you sure you have the correct definition for the metric you track? Do these definitions vary by industry? Let's take one metric – Conversion Ratio and discuss it in relation with the Real Estate industry.

Understanding what a conversion is and how to track one?

Definition of conversion differs by industry. So for an eCommerce site – it means a purchase online, for a ticketing site it means a booking, for a SAAS company it means a subscription to their software, for a blogger it could mean a subscription to their RSS feed, or for a Facebook page it could be a like. 

What does it mean for industries where the buying cycle is long and the actual sale cannot happen online?

Real estate buying is majorly an offline process. Also, it's a long one, involves multiple contact points (online, offline and personal) with the customer. With ever growing internet penetration, information presented by companies on their website, user generated content available via social discovery –  real estate buying has changed a lot. Today the research happens online, the first level of convincing can be done online. But the actual sale – that still happens offline.

So for a marketer or as a company – someone submitting a lead on your website, someone making a phone call to enquire is not an end-conversion. Some may even say a booking (customer giving the booking amount) is not an end-conversion. Companies typically see 10% cancellations, which means your end conversion is an AGREEMENT. Website conversion is certainly an important metric when you measure your communication or website design, information architecture or for that matter how engaging your product is. But building a media plan based on a wrongly interpreted ROI of online conversions; can be misleading and could result in wastage of funds. 

What does this tell us?

It's important to understand the different stages that lead to an end conversion. Not just understand but track them, measure conversion ratios on your website and each of these stages. We need to measure campaign ROI for each of these stages. For example, “how many site visits did I have from the Google Adwords NRI campaign we ran last month?” Or something like “We had an excellent conversion ratio on our website for our TOI campaign, did we actually get the bookings? What was the cost per booking?”. A good real estate marketer needs to have answers to these questions. We need to understand that getting leads from a campaign is not our end goal. How many of those leads were qualified, how many actually went ahead and booked – is what matters to your CEO?

Over the years, having run over 5000 campaigns and delivered a million leads; we at Amura had to always face doubts:

- The figures are good – but is there any impact on our bookings?

- Online can generate leads at a high quantum but not quality ones.

The only way to prove the delivery of quality leads was based on manual reports that we received from the sales teams at the client's end. The reports could be biased, where most of the times delayed; which meant we didn’t always have facts to prove our campaign ROI. Being a technology and data-driven company, we decided – “We need to track end to end marketing and sales events on a single platform”. That gave birth to Sell.Do. Sell.Do has helped us track all the above-mentioned conversion stages – most of it is automated, rest via integration into the clients business process. 

Q. How does one use sales data to analyse a campaign?

A. We have the above report (see infographic) for almost all of our clients. When we are generating some 1000 odd leads every day, having this analysis helps us a lot. You can see the report gives us a clear picture of conversion at different stages. As a marketer, I consider a site visit to be a good enough parameter when I am measuring ROI for a short period like the one mentioned above. Bookings data is something we look at for leads that came in via similar campaigns in the past. For real-time analysis, I would recommend, you analyze just the first 4 metrics. 

We keep collecting data and have a knowledge base used internally. A knowledge base that tells us – for a specific target audience and certain price point; which publisher gives the best inquiry to bookings ratio. So the next time we have a similar campaign, we already begin with a very focused and high converting one. So the learning can be at a micro level (within the same campaign) and at a macro level (across campaigns and useful for future campaigns).

Q. How frequently do you adjust the campaigns based on this data?
A. We almost analyze these in real time and adjust our bids, media spends across publishers accordingly.

Q. Has your dependency on client feedback reduced? 

A. Yes definitely, initially we would have the site visits report come to us weekly, sometimes monthly. By then, we would end up spending 80% of budgets. So the learning was mostly useful only for the next campaign. Today, with the newer reporting for one of our clients, we have been able to reduce down our cost per booking reduced by about 30 %.

So, that's all we have for now. Make an effort to track all your data into a single system so that it is available for analysis. Marketing and sales need to work in tandem, passing knowledge and data between themselves – for better results. Let us know if you like the article and stay posted for our next topic: 

How to Improve your sales efficiency – daily work scheduling and to-do tasks for your sales.

Credits: Ketan Sabnis and Pavan Dhadse

Contributions: Sonia Phad & Ruturaj Mokashi

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