We love reports, data, and the juicy insights that we can squeeze out of them. Sometimes they bring good news and sometimes they bring a wake-up call that leads us to greater success. Especially in the competitive Real Estate industry, knowledge is power and knowing how to apply that knowledge is paramount. Looking back at year-over-year data can point us to areas we need to optimize and possible areas we need to nourish. To real estate marketers preparing for the upcoming busy season, I have provided a summary of the Real Estate industry's past and current search marketing performance and highlighted the top 6 nuggets from our State of Paid Search Report, Q1 2013.
The real estate and construction industry exhibited declining impressions. According to a study by Realtor.com 
, last year's housing inventory was much larger than the current housing inventory and, in effect, impressions were much higher (this year the housing inventory is much smaller, with some markets seeing a dip in inventory by 20% or more!). The larger housing inventory in 2012 may have driven the need for more advertising stimulus and a larger market for generating search impressions. In Q1 2013, we saw a large spike in CTR due to less impressions and more clicks.
Tablets may be more clicky (yes I just made that word up) for real estate than any other device. Although smartphone & desktop click share decreased by a marginal 1.5% and 7.3% YoY, respectively, smartphone clicks increased month over month by 10%. It is clear that tablets have become vitally important to the real estate consumer's decision journey, evidenced by an 87% click share increase. Perhaps that speaks to the usability tablets offer to searching inventory in real estate, looking through photos of properties, reading descriptions, and looking at maps. This matches the real estate tablet consumer's intent to consume content in an easy-to-read format. Highlights from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism report "The Tablet Revolution and the Future of News 
", states that tablet users are heavy news consumers, drawn to the written word, are educated and employed: all indicators of someone who could be a qualified real estate buyer.
Data highlights from The State of Paid Search Report, Q1 2013:
Search impressions for real estate declined year-over-year and month-over-month in Q1.
The real estate industry experienced healthy growth, as clicks increased 19% year-over-year.
Click through rates shot up over 52% year-over-year.
The real estate and construction industry has enjoyed a slight decrease in average CPCs by 12% year-over-year, compared to a 6% increase for all advertisers.
Smartphones click share increased month-over-month (10%), whereas tablets’ click share stole the show year over year (87% increase) in the real estate industry. Like most other industries, desktop is slowly losing click share--for real estate it was a 7% decrease.
CPC "premiums" have largely been in the favor of smartphones, whereas tablets were interestingly discounted compared to desktop CPCs.
As we head into the busy peak season for real estate, here are some spot-check questions to evaluate your business and decide if you're ready to capture the largest growth season to date for yourself. Make sure you get the help if you think you might not have #MadRESEOSkillz!
- Is your website and other marketing content channels mobile-friendly?
- Are you positioned to take advantage of the low CPC premium on tablets versus desktops while it lasts? I'm predicting that the rate of mobile adoption will outpace the certain increase in impression volume during the real estate busy season of Summer, driving up the tablet and smartphone CPCs.
- What campaign strategies do you have in place to capture this important part of the consumer's journey on these devices?
- What click-share do you have for your branded keywords and for your top lead producing generic keywords? What strategies can you deploy to capture more?
- With the final deadline for Enhanced Campaigns being right around the corner, are you ready for Google's Enhanced Campaigns? Read more about Google's AdWords change here .
- Are your Enhanced Campaigns on Google set up correctly and with the right strategy in order to harness tablets?
I can be reached via Twitter: @mjdepalma 
or firstname.lastname@example.org 
. You can download the entire State of Paid Search Report, Q1 2013 here