Spruce up home improvement marketing with these consumer insights

Joe Kruger, analytical lead, Retail & CPG, Microsoft

Joe Kruger, analytical lead, Retail & CPG, Microsoft

With summer ramping up, consumers’ thoughts are turning to home-improvement projects and the ever-expanding list of to-dos. From painting the living room to repairing the deck to replacing the dishwasher, consumers are scouring the internet in search of inspiration, insights, and deals.

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Which means now is the prime time for home improvement brands to engage these consumers. In fact, the home improvement sector is projected to reach $465 billion by 2022, according to the North America Retail Hardware Association. To help you engage with these consumers, we’ve paired consumer insights with actionable tips to help make the most of your advertising efforts.

Vanessa Alley, analytical lead, Retail & CPG, Microsoft

Vanessa Alley, analytical lead, Retail & CPG, Microsoft

Consumers are challenged by time, money and inspiration

Understanding what’s weighing on consumers can help you engage more effectively. According to a study conducted by Zillow, the top challenge consumers face when it comes to home improvement projects is carving out time. Financial stressors follow, which include estimating costs and determining the affordability of that project based on the ROI. With the struggle of finding inspiration compounding consumer anxiety further.

Marketing tips:

  • Create a content strategy for consumers who are early in the research funnel that is heavy on images to inspire projects.
  • Highlight promotions or price matching.

Create a content strategy for consumers who are early in the research funnel that is heavy on images to inspire projects.

Most consumers take over a month to convert

Home improvement consumers are not necessarily in a rush. According to internal Microsoft data, three out of five consumers spend more than a month to complete their purchases, with the average consumer decision journey lasting 38 days.

Additionally, data shows that consumers are typically more engaged as they approach conversion. And as you know, when a user returns to your site, they are more likely to convert than first-time visitors.

Marketing tips:

  • Test your remarketing lists with conversion window lengths of 7 and 30 days.
  • Provide different ad copy for short and long journeys.
  • Leverage remarketing by segmenting and prioritizing consumers by engagement frequency.

Consumer site visitation is heaviest on informational guides, inspiration, and location-related pages

Microsoft internal data illustrates that consumers turn to a multitude of home improvement-themed pages throughout their journey. Categories researched the most include general home improvement (72%), professional services (66%), building materials (60%), inspiration (58%) and furniture and décor (58%).

When it comes to research, data indicates consumers over-index on content that contains ideas or is focused on specific rooms as well as specific products, like cabinets. Finally, consumers also over-index on top retail sites like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

Marketing tips:

  • Tailor your media assets and site content to spark ideas and inspiration.
  • Implement location-based keywords (both geo and in room/home locations), ad copy, and targeting.
  • Target a broad range of home improvement categories to capture this audience along their full journey as there is consistent interplay across product and domain categories.

Many consumers view multiple site categories before choosing a project

Microsoft internal data indicates that consumers don’t typically convert within the same home improvement category page that they first researched. This fluidity among home improvement site categories revealed relationship trends between certain categories. We found strong bi-directional lift relationships between:

  • Home services and home and garden (73% lift)
  • DIY and inspiration (62% lift)
  • DIY and home and garden (54% lift)

Additionally, our data shows competitive cross-shopping occurred across merchants and that there were clear relationships between sites. Make sure you keep in mind sites offer similar products or services to your own as shoppers frequently cross-shop during their home improvement journey.

Marketing tips:

  • Consumers visiting home improvement sites often consider both DIY and services options for project implementation. Use this decision point to highlight or upsell products that make either decision less daunting.
  • To target consumers who are cross-shopping across categories, use broad match and DSA [Dynamic Search Ads] to capture users at an earlier stage of the journey. Then, maintain a consistent presence on the SERP and use remarketing to retain consumers.

Be sure to take action and meet your customers where they are.

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