Sydney’s Property Boom Has Affected Estate Agents’ PPC Strategies

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

How has the central bank’s reduction of interest rates affected the property sales and rental market in Sydney?

Last March, CBRE’s Global Investor Intentions Survey 2015 revealed that Sydney is the fourth-most popular real estate market for foreign investors, ahead of Paris and New York.

Although the study only takes overseas investors into account, its findings are still a great indicator of the market, suggesting that it is, in fact, a great time to buy property in Sydney.

What’s more, bank base rates were cut to 2% at the beginning of May, equaling cheaper loans for those looking to jump on the property ladder or purchase a new property, according to Bloomberg.

So what impact has this all had on the real estate advertising market? I’ll be pitting four real estate companies,,,, and against each other to see how purchase and rental trends have changed over the last 12 months.

Who Gained the Biggest Share of the Pie?

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Across all Sydney-related rental and purchase keywords, Domain has the biggest share of the keywords I explored (a mix of Sydney-only related buying and rental search terms). Cruising above 30% for almost all of 2014, the company started to lose its lead when Stockland entered the market and stabilised its strategy in October.

It decreased even further in March when Real Estate boosted its efforts after a summer lull between September 2014 and March 2015.

Real Estate is obviously placing its bets on a strong winter purchase market, with a dip over the summer months after it coasted along with a SOV of between 35 and 40% up until July 2014.

Homesales’ share began to rise at almost the exact same time as Real Estate’s reduced to almost 10%, with the former company overtaking and reaching a peak of almost 30% in March.

The reason for this could be a news event, as covered by the BBC, that broke in March, spurring Real Estate to start spending on PPC again. One single house sold for A$2.5m, which was A$1m above its reserve price, demonstrating rapidly soaring house prices and an opportunity not to be missed.

Estate agents were spurred on by this revelation that demonstrated the massive demand for houses and therefore began putting extra budget behind the generic term in order to pique interest from both buyers and renters.

Stockland also saw a pretty healthy jump between December and January, while market leader Domain continued a months-long decline.

Let’s take a look at key keyword trends and wider market trends to see why this shift among competitors may have happened.

Rental vs. Purchase Keyword Analysis

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After looking into the performance of all Sydney-related property keywords, I decided to focus on four of the most popular throughout the period – real estate sydney, rental properties sydney, houses for sale sydney, and buy house sydney australia.

These four keywords represent both a good spread across generic keywords and more focus on the type of property market – rental or purchase.

The first thing one notices is that the keyword rental properties sydney completely dropped in December. Now the term’s SOV is bumping along the bottom of the chart as each competitor strategically shifts their focus to the purchase and generic real estate markets, anticipating the booming purchase market foretold by CBRE.

The purchase market is also probably receiving a boost from news earlier in the year that interest rates would go down, providing a more favourable market for buyers than for renters.

It’s clear that the most popular keyword is the most generic real estate sydney keyword string, with its peak coming in March when the market became excited by the increasing house prices and demand with homes being snapped up for way above their advertised reserve prices.

As Real Estate pushed for PPC success, the term rose sharply, reflecting the demand for property in the Sydney area.

And yet, because Stockland isn’t betting on the keyword at all, it’s a three-horse race between Homesales, Real Estate and Domain.

Domain and Real Estate are relying on the search phrase much more than Homesales, which appears to have only discovered it in May of last year, accelerating its spending towards the end of the 2014. The phrase then remained a key part of the company’s strategy until February.

In March, Homesales dropped its spend on real estate sydney and instead diversified its keyword portfolio, looking into more niche words that focused on the rental and purchase markets separately, rather than real estate as a whole, producing significant gains for the company.

Its total SOV and share of clicks for buy house sydney australia, houses for sale sydney, and rental properties sydney all increased at just the point in the year when the market traditionally picks up.

How Can Real Estate Companies Use This Data to Boost Their PPC Success?

From Adthena’s data, it is clear is spreading its bidding across a wider variety of keywords, tweaking its focus when required without overspending. As a result, its total SOV has increased, demonstrating intelligent use of an SEM budget.

However, Homesales still couldn’t keep up with Domain, which sustained its lead for most of the year, thanks to heavy investment in the generic real estate sydney keyword string.

Stockland put on a great show, despite only bidding on a slim selection of keywords. It demonstrated that competitors don’t need a huge budget to gain some traction in the market – maybe Homesales and Domain could cut down on the keywords that aren’t performing as strongly and concentrate on those that do have an impact on their visibility.

It could be too early to judge what effect the decrease in base rate had on the property market, because such a change takes a while to filter down to mortgage lenders and applicants.

However, competitors should always be thinking about switching their strategy when new events occur (like the release of CBRE’s study and the central bank’s interest rate reductions) to see how they will shift the market.

Competitive intelligence for search gives you the insights you need to make these sorts of intelligent decisions, reacting to the market and your competitors’ decisions to develop the best strategy for maximising your ROI.

(Main image credit: Michael Coghlan/flickr)

No Adthena client data was used in this analysis.

About the author

Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies. She is curious and passionate and likes to find stories in data and technology.