Nail your home improvement search marketing strategy

Here are some ways home improvement brands can engage both consumers and professionals to maximize revenue.

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This is the season when consumers thoughts turn toward rickety railings, tired tiles, peeling paint and other items on an ever-expanding list of projects. Whether consumers are DIY-ing or leaving it to the professionals, with a little search marketing savvy, home improvement brands can engage both consumers and professionals to maximize revenue. And with the home improvement market projected to reach $465 billion by 2022, your efforts could sure add up. 

To help, we’ve done some sleuthing to help you seize the season. Use these handy search insights and tips from Microsoft internal data to engage searchers and maximize conversion on Bing (via Microsoft Advertising).

Money is a common challenge for consumers and professionals

Not surprisingly, money and finances are key challenges for both consumers and home improvement professionals. Professionals were qualified as exhibiting behaviors related to industry professional decision journey’s across home and garden sites. However, these challenges look a little different for each audience. According to Zillow, some of the key obstacles for consumers include having the money to pay for what they want to do, understanding how much things really cost and estimating the ROI of the improvements they want to make. Meanwhile, findings from the Home Improvement Research Institute indicate that home improvement professionals are challenged by finding competitive prices.

Of course, each set of shoppers also face their own unique challenges. The top two challenges for consumers was setting aside time to do the work themselves and finding the right professional. Meanwhile, home improvement professionals faced different hurdles, such as finding products in stock, getting things delivered on time, location convenience and product selection.

Nail it: Use extensions to highlight discounts, sales and other promotions such as price matching for both segments. Engage consumers early in the research funnel with a content strategy that includes images that spark inspiration with key products featured within the room. For professionals, create greater transparency around inventory selection and stock through a separate experience or through messaging.

Overall journeys for both groups took more than a month

When we looked at consumers and home improvement professionals in the purchase funnel, we found that consumers took an average of 38 days to complete a purchase, while professionals took an average of 32 days. Both audiences were typically more engaged toward the end of their journeys. 

While the average pro journey was 32 days, data shows a clear split between under a week and over a month to complete a journey. 

Nail it: To account for these unique purchase journeys, consider testing remarketing lists with conversion window lengths of 7 and 30 days to be there for the month long journey observed for both consumers and professionals. Serve up different ad copy for short and long journeys and for the consumer and professional audiences. Finally, since both consumers and professionals were more engaged toward the end of their journeys, use remarketing to segment and prioritize users by frequency to capture those return visitors.

Professionals were more deliberate in their research than consumers 

Based on our study, the top categories that both professionals and consumers researched included: general home improvement (72%), pro services (66%) and building materials (60%), with a tie for fourth place between inspiration (58%) and furniture and décor (58%). However, professionals tended to visit pro services, inspiration, building materials and paint, while consumers visit general home improvement, finance and ideas. The home improvement professionals were also more apt to use product descriptors such as model and color, indicating that many already know what they’re looking for.

Nail it: We found consistent interplay across product and domain categories for both audiences and recommend that you target a broad range of home improvement categories to capture audiences along their full journey. Use specific product keywords with a narrow focus and descriptors for home improvement professionals looking for specific items. Also, be sure to customize media assets and content to ideas and inspiration and use location-based keywords (both geographical such as store or service location, as well as room/home specific location), ad copy and targeting to capture consumers who over index on location-related pages.

Cross-shopping was common between categories and between competitors 

We uncovered unique relationships between categories and sites. Consumers who visited inspiration, DIY, marketplace and review sites were more likely to visit broader home and garden, home improvement and home services sites. We also saw strong consumer bi-directional lift relationships between home services and home and garden (73% lift), DIY and inspiration (62% lift) and DIY and home and garden (54% lift). Heavy cross-shopping between merchants was evident for both audiences. Make sure you keep competitors offering similar products or services in mind as cross-shopping is common during the home improvement consumer journey. 

Nail it: Use broad match and dynamic search ads to engage users earlier in their journey; maintain a consistent presence on the search engine results page and leverage remarketing. Also, be sure to take advantage of competitive conquesting.

Reach your ideal audience   

Take advantage of product opportunities to help you reach your ideal audience. From ad extensions to broad match and DSA, there are plenty of products that can help you achieve your goals. 

Contributing authors are invited to create content for Search Engine Land and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the search community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Joe Kruger
Joe Kruger is an analytical lead for retail and CPG at Microsoft. Currently, he works with retail clients to identify strategic solutions to business problems within the Bing Marketplace and beyond. Joe has also worked with clients in industries like financial services, autos and travel over the course of his 6-plus years in analytics. Outside of work, you'll find Joe skiing fresh powder, sampling Chicago's finest craft breweries and playing with his dog, Bear.

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