Real Estate Mobile Clicks Rise, Advertisers Up Search Ad Spend

House hunters looking for that perfect piece of real estate are searching and clicking on content more often from smartphones and tablets. From June through August 2013, impressions rose on average 8% and clicks 30% compared with a year ago, per a new study.

To reach those mobile-savvy potential buyers, advertisers spent 12% more on paid-search ads this year.

The Search Agency's Paid Search Trends in Real Estate Report analyzes paid-search performance across the real estate industry during June through August 2013, comparing findings with the year-ago three-months period. The findings are based on year-over-year (YoY) comparisons of aggregated client data.

It turns out the average cost per click (CPC) fell in 2013 for real-estate developers, apartment communities and brokerages trying to drive quality leads, compared with summer months in 2012. The average CPCs fell YoY from 59 cents to 51 cents. Tablets took the largest hit, at 22%.

Tablet CPCs fell 18%; smartphones, 8.5%; and desktops, 8%. The study notes that the real estate industry's tablet CPC discount from desktops rose from 30% in 2012 to 38% in 2013, while the CPC discount from desktop on smartphones remained relatively stable YoY -- from 25% in 2012 to 26% in 2013.

This year, The Search Agency notes that weekday CPCs came in at 52 cents and weekends at 48 cents. In 2012, CPCs fell 13% on both weekends and weekdays.

Desktop clicks remained virtually flat year-on-year, (YoY,) while clicks on tablets and smartphones more than doubled. Tablet clicks rose 155%; and smartphone clicks 109%, compared with 2012. While CTRs rose on smartphones and desktops, they declined on tablets.

More than half of search impressions occurred on smartphones and tablets in 2013. Tablet impression share rose 250%, and smartphone impression share increased 35%. Desktop impressions related to real estate fell 23% in 2013.

The portion of clicks originating on tablets doubled between 2012 and 2013, and the share of clicks on smartphones rose 58% during the same time period. It was a different story in 2012, when tablets dominated the clicks compared with smartphones.

Desktop activity rose most during the weekdays, while tablet and smartphone peaked on the weekends. During the week, desktops accounted for 50% of total search impressions. On the weekend, smartphone and tablet impressions accounted for 60% of total search impressions, collectively.

From midnight to 6 a.m. overall impression share rose 57% in 2013, compared with the same period in 2013. Smartphone impression share rose during that time, accounting for 70%. CTRs were relatively flat from midnight to 6 a.m., but grew 20% from 6 a.m. to noon, 40% from noon to 6 p.m., and 54% from 6 p.m. to midnight. In 2013, CTR rose throughout the day, growing 240% to 1.7%.

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