Budgets shifting from PPC spending back towards paid leads
The last few years we saw movers investing significant amounts of their marketing budgets in better websites, content, and PPC marketing (such as Adwords) to drive traffic to these sites. In 2017, as search is becoming more and more saturated, we saw more movers come back to us to start or restart 3rd party lead campaigns. We are also seeing more lead providers offer pay-per-appointment or even pay-per-booking models for selling leads, removing some risk of bad leads, which movers are eager to take advantage of.
Large contact centers outsourcing
It may seem a little self-serving to highlight this, but it is definitely a trend: in 2017 we had two of the largest contact centers in the moving industry fully outsource to P4P, and dozens of other van line agents. This significantly increased our total volume, and the feedback from these large partners is that the “pay for performance” variable cost model and lower management overhead saved money, and the extended evening and weekend hours have maintained or improved conversion rates. In this tight labor market, it is especially difficult to hire GMs and managers at reasonable salaries to provide the kind of supervision a contact center needs to operate profitably. We see no sign this will change in 2018, and expect more and more sophisticated movers to look to outsourced solutions to be their front line for leads.
Diversified van line agents are more focussed
After the recession, many movers who survived 2008-2009 and have thrived since then have done so by diversifying into logistics, speciality transport, last-mile delivery of bulky items, etc. In 2017, we have seen that many of these highly diversified companies have been dropping products instead of adding them. For instance, we saw many more movers stop spending money on local leads altogether to focus on their other, more profitable or more consistent business units. We can expect this trend to continue in 2018 and as long as the US economy remains strong.
Video survey is mainstream
The first we ever heard of a video survey being performed was 2009, and it has taken a few years to really catch on. P4P first launched our virtual survey product in 2016 and have performed over 15,000 since then. In 2017, we started seeing many more customers who had either moved before using video survey or were working with another moving company who was performing a video survey and specifically asked about it when setting a survey appointment. We expect this trend to further accelerate in 2018, as more customers will start to expect virtual survey to be the norm.