Budgets In Competitive Home Improvement Category Tilt Heavily To Traditional Media.


Home improvement and construction advertisers have larger ad budgets, strongly prefer traditional forms of media and give higher effectiveness scores than other advertisers to TV and radio, according to a new report from Borrell Associates. But they’re hardly Luddites when it comes to digital media with social, search engine optimization and web design their most used marketing methods.


The survey of 205 home improvement and construction advertisers was conducted in the second and third quarters of 2020 as part of a larger survey of 2,262 advertisers. “Think of these advertisers as local entrepreneurs who are more deeply intertwined with their communities,” says the report, entitled, “The 2021 Mindset of Local Home Services Advertisers.” “They’re the plumbers, landscapers, home remodelers, hardware stores, window installers, and foundation repair companies whose trucks and vans you see tooling down the highway every morning.” About half (49%) are home contractors or in the construction business, 35% are retail stores, and 16% are service providers, such as plumbers, window replacement companies, and landscaping services.


Putting their money where their mouth is, the home improvement advertisers surveyed by Borrell spend more than twice as much than other advertisers on traditional media and plan to increase those budgets an average of 33% this year, compared with the 20% cut other advertisers are planning. And their budgets are larger to begin with. Boasting an average expenditure of $232,154, they have about 35% more to spend than other advertisers in the broader Borrell survey. Tilting their budgets heavily toward traditional media, home improvement advertisers spend 127% more on non-digital media and 26% less on digital media.


“Home services companies are a mainstay of local advertising,” the report says. “They’re smaller businesses that tend to believe in locally based media companies.”


More than one-third (37.1%) said they plan to use radio in 2021 with an average radio budget of $58,439. In more good news, they plan to increase their radio buy by 5% in 2021. Importantly, home improvement advertisers have average radio budgets that are roughly twice as big as other surveyed advertisers ($27,987). These advertisers give radio a 3.30 effectiveness score on a scale of 1 to 4, to rank seventh in effectiveness of 18 channels surveyed.


Yet 9.5% of home improvement advertisers cut radio from their budget in 2020 with the top reasons being “too expensive” and “moved the money to something else.”


While big users of radio and other traditional media, online video, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO) and web design are strengthening for these marketers who deem these channels to be the most effective forms of marketing. Two-thirds of them buy SEM; more than three-fourths of them have hired a third party handle the task. And three-fourths of them are buying SEO with 82% hiring a third party to handle that task. They’re less likely than other advertisers to use social platforms, except “showcase” platforms such as Pinterest and Yelp. Thirty-four percent use streaming video advertising. And while that percentage isn’t increasing, video ad budgets are growing.


“Stay-at-home rules fomented a new interest in home improvement that’s likely to last well into this year,” the report concludes. “While these businesses stand to benefit greatly, they may also struggle for attention amid intense competition for services. It’s a great time to help them stand out and be known as community businesses worthy of support.”

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