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New chapters: Exploring life’s transitional moments

2020 was a transitional year for many people, and 2021 has brought corresponding new life moments to celebrate. Whether it’s planning a big move, buying a new car, refinancing, or something else, consumers are making changes in their day-to-day lives. Microsoft Advertising is here to help you prepare for how best to reach them as they set foot on their new journeys.

A spike in the housing market

When looking at Australia’s housing market data, we learned the home loan market is growing substantially and recently hit its five-year peak. In fact, in January 2021, new loan commitments for total housing rose 34% year over year. Knowing this, it’s probably not all that surprising that first-time home buyers have been making a big return to the housing market in 2021. Microsoft Advertising has seen a large increase in queries containing “first home.

"First home" buyers are coming back to the housing market in 2021

Our user activity has been continually growing, evidenced by search and click volumes.

Chart illustrating the rise in home-buying search activity in 2021.

Pro tip: Ensure you have advertising campaigns that specifically target consumers who are on the market as first-time home buyers.

Auto surges across the board

Houses aren’t the only big purchases consumers are looking for in 2021: Cars are also flying off lots. As more people shift away from public transportation, it has caused a surge in demand for cars and prices have gone up. This has resulted in a low stock in new cars, and long waits have carried over into the used car market as well. As a result, used car searches have grown 271% on Microsoft Advertising since the onset of the pandemic, and there has also been auto insurance search growth.

Our users are increasingly looking to buy a car in 2021, with searches for vehicles and insurance higher than pre-COVID-19 levels

Chart showing the 11 percent rise in automotive and 28 percent rise in auto insurance searches in 2021.

Pro tip: Take advantage of used car and auto insurance search volume growth by building up your brand presence early and bidding on used and second-hand, and auto insurance, keywords.

Reach consumers early in their decision journeys

So now that you’re aware of the fast growth in searches happening in the home and auto markets, let us help you reach your customers early. The Microsoft Audience Network native advertising has been proven to increase engagement with brands in both industries. Because both home and car purchases are usually well thought-out decisions, moving advertisers down the funnel makes a lot of sense due to how long the decision journey is for these industries (i.e., purchasing a home itself requires a lot more thought and time than the decision to purchase a couch for your home). The longer the user journey, the more likely a consumer will be exposed to a native ad from you or your competitors. In the auto industry specifically, we saw a 3.6x higher conversion rate when advertisers combined their search and native strategies as opposed to search only. Performance for our advertisers is strongest when using native ads to draw initial brand awareness and exposure, and then following up with search tactics to remind users of that brand and push them closer to making a purchase.

Maximize performance by combining Microsoft Search & Native strategies

Users exposed to both Microsoft Search ads and Microsoft Audience Ads are more likely to visit an Auto advertiser's website compared to those who are exposed only to one type of ad.

Illustration of how combining search and native ad strategies increases visitation rates by 2.2 times, and conversion rates by 3.6 times.

Pro tip: The best performance on Microsoft Advertising comes from a combination of native and search strategies. Move consumers down the funnel by starting with Microsoft Audience Network ads. Once users show interest in the brand by clicking on a native ad, use remarketing search ads to remind them of your brand and encourage them to buy.

Resources

If you love insights, we have a lot more coming in 2021! Sign up for the weekly Microsoft Advertising Insider newsletter to keep up to speed automatically with other vertical and seasonal analyses, tips and tricks, thought leadership, and product updates, and visit the Microsoft Advertising Insights content hub, which is updated weekly.