Purplebricks made TV their home with great success


Key Points                                   

  • Purplebricks needed to launch their brand and educate consumers about the new way to sell your home
  • They had a national TV campaign with clever use of targeted upweights
  • As a result, its volume of property valuations increased by 244%

The Challenge

Purplebricks is an online estate agent, founded in 2014 by two brothers. It combines the benefits of a traditional estate agent with highly motivated, local property experts and offers a 24/7 service to customers.

Until Purplebricks came along, the property market was completely dominated by the traditional high street estate agencies. In 2015, Purplebricks needed to establish consumer awareness not only of the brand itself but also of the new category it operated in.

As well as launching the brand, they wanted to capitalise on first mover advantage in a rapidly growing sector and also get across the benefits of their new way of operating. 

They tasked their media agency, PHD, to help them achieve four key objectives:

  • Claim 2% market share of the total housing transactions by the end of 2015
  • Create brand awareness and increase consideration and preference amongst homeowners
  • Educate consumers about the new way to sell their house
  • Create excitement in the venture capital and investor market with a view to fundraising

The TV Solution

PHD recommended a TV campaign. They felt this was the only medium that could deliver cost efficient national reach, build significant awareness and talk to consumers in a way that built warmth towards the human side of an online brand.  Trust is crucial for challenger brands in this sector and TV is the perfect channel to reassure customers they are dealing with a professional, large scale organisation who won’t disappear with their hard earned cash.

PHD felt that TV was unique in its ability to drive consideration throughout the purchasing journey and would allow them to convert early adopters whilst also cajoling those more reluctant to break with the habit of a lifetime.   They felt they could take advantage of the multifaceted nature of TV to get across the Purplebricks message to the whole country, while retaining the characteristics of a local community estate agent.

Towards the end of 2014, they did some regional test and learn campaigns on TV, out of home, inserts, radio and door drops, using the standard expose/control methodology. When the results were analysed by both PHD Data Science and Purplebricks’ own qualitative research, it showed that TV was the reason behind the majority of homeowners instructing Purplebricks, with radio also making a small but significant contribution.

So a national TV campaign would be at the heart of the launch strategy for Purplebricks. No other media offered the stature, ability to build targeted awareness and frequency to provide immediate, measurable bottom line impact. 

The Plan

PHD optimised the TV schedule to deliver the lowest cost per thousand possible to access the correct audience at the correct time. They used national multi-channel TV with regional upweights on ITV and Channel 4.

In addition, they used AdSmart from Sky for more targeted spots. Their ad agency, Beattie McGuinness Bungay created bespoke ads, for example targeting only people who lived in Brighton or Swindon with a message specific to them. They were able to do this using AdSmart from Sky’s post code targeting facility. They also used AdSmart from Sky to upweight homeowners in London.

Purplebricks’ audience is very broad as it consists of anyone who wants to sell their home, so the programme strategy was based on a combination of best audience and most relevant context eg. property programmes such as Location, Location, Location, A Place in the sun and Grand Designs.

Purplebricks understood that selling a house is a big decision and would most likely be discussed between couples. So Saturday and Sunday were prioritised in order to reach people when they had time to discuss estate agent options with their partner. Mondays were upweighted as this was the heaviest day for web traffic.

As a brand new category, seasonality was unknown. They used a combination of transaction data from the land registry, search volume statistics and PHD’s own Data Vault from similar categories to establish campaign flighting. The campaign ran throughout the year but with monthly upweights where appropriate.

Radio was a core support channel with PPC, both brand and generic, employed to capture the volume provided by the TV campaign.

The core virtues of the media plan and execution were that it delivered efficient scale, offered flexibility and was targeted. It is a great example of how TV can drive sales and brand awareness quickly for new advertisers.


  • The campaign reached 87.8% of all adults
  • Throughout 2015, Purplebricks has dominated the online estate agency space, taking market share averaging at over 50% and growing
  • According to Rightmove, Purplebricks was taking over 60% market share at the close of 2015
  • Volume of Purplebricks’ property valuations has increased 244% from launch
  • Purplebricks’ volume of instructions to sell has increased 176% from launch
  • Purplebrick’ market share of ALL estate agents grew to 2.1%
  • Despite the brand being less than 2 years old, brand awareness was 54% and familiarity at 26%
  • On Trustpilot, Purplebricks received a five star rating and there were over 4,000 reviews, demonstrating that the market truly was educated about Purplebricks’ service led proposition
  • In November 2015, Purplebricks made its initial public offering and was valued at £230m on the stock market
  • Winner of Best Newcomer to TV in the TV Planning Awards 2016

TV provided the perfect platform for Purplebricks to first establish and then grow the business, disrupt a broken industry and finally offer a consumer orientated solution to selling or letting your property. It has given us the ability to maximise returns, dominate the competitor market and make Purplebricks the first brand people think of when they are looking to sell their house, not just among the new breed but among all estate agents. No other channel could have facilitated such incredible growth. The business is still short of its second year of trading with a market value of £300m+. Not many businesses can lay claim to such exponential success and it has been driven on by our comms strategy, heavily reliant on TV. Through PHDs innovative targeting, proactivity and flexibility, great creative work and bringing an amazing product to market at exactly the right time we have built a legacy for the brand and we continue to invest in TV to continue the incredible Purplebricks story.

Joby Russell Chief Marketing Officer Purplebricks


Sector: e-commerce

Brand: Purplebricks

Campaign objectives: To launch the brand nationally and let people know about the new way to sell your home

Target Audience: All adults

Budget: Total budget c. £5m

Campaign Dates: The campaign started on 4th January 2015 and ran in every month until 31st December 2015

TV Usage: 30 second spots

Creative Agency: Beattie McGuinness Bungay

Media Agency:  PHD

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