Does Real Estate need a new online metric? My local real estate search Website, needs to stand out. I don't have the huge traffic numbers of Trulia and the other national Websites, or the legacy and reputation of the large local Websites. If I can't be #1 in a metric, then I need a new metric. I need an efficiency rating.
For my Website and Blog, I track my traffic, page views and other numbers with my Web-master's analytics and Google Analytics. To any one familiar with different analytic programs, you'd be surprised at the difference between the results for the same metrics.
There are 3 national companies tracking Website traffic for many business sectors including Real Estate: comScore, Neilsen Online and Hitwise (an Experian Company). Google hopes to enter the online traffic watch market soon with their own Website tracking system based at the server level. ComScore, Neilsen and Hitwise are all paid services. Google's new program will be free.
In my weekly reports from both my Web Analytics and from Google Analytics, I primarily track: Total Traffic, Unique Visitors, Page Views, Page Views/Visit and Time on Site. (Google Analytics can provide a neat feature which rates your metrics against Industry Website averages. Very Interesting.)
Based on business models, there are 2 types of Real Estate Websites:
- Media or Ad Revenue Model Websites (Zillow, Trulia, Google Base, Yahoo Real Estate and MSN Real Estate). National Media Real Estate Websites, sell ads like Google and Network TV and Network Radio.
- Retail or Home Sale Revenue Model Websites (Realtor.com, RE/MAX, Coldwell Banker, etc. and Local Real Estate Broker and Agent Websites). Retail Websites sell houses and generally have little or no outside advertising.
The metrics that are important to these Websites differ as well. Retail/Home Sale Websites are interested in people who need to buy or sell a home in the next 30 to 90 days. They generally are in the service of the 7% of agents who sell 93% of the homes. (The 93/7 Rule for Real Estate is the new play on the old 80/20 rule.) Prime metrics for Real Estate Retail sites are unique visitors; not total traffic, page views or time on site, since the greater majority of visitors will buy or sell only one home at a time.
Media/Ad Sale Websites are concerned with different metrics, the ones that are important to their advertisers. The ones that they sell to their advertisers. The majority of ad revenue to Media sites comes from Pay-Per-Click (PPC), as well PPV (Pay-Per-View) or PPM (Pay-Per-[M]Thousand). The same person can go to a Website many times, view many pages, stay for a long time, and click on a number of ads. So the metrics of total traffic (vs unique visitors), page views, time on site and click-through-rate (CTR) are most important.
But what if you have a Website that's a combination of the two? My start-up, WebHomeUSA.com, is a Local Real Estate Website with an ad revenue model, not a home sale model. So my traffic numbers don't compare with the 3-4 million monthly visitors of Zillow or Trulia, or the relatively high visitor and page view stats of the local brokers. What's a Realtor to do?
The 2 established Real Estate Websites in the 11 County Greater Rochester, NY are:
- HomeSteadNet.com: The Greater Rochester Association's (GRAR) site
- Nothnagle Realtor's Nothnagle.com.
HomeSteadNet gets about 6,000 visitors/day (180K/M) and Nothnagle gets about 13,000 visitors/day (390K/M). At WebHomeUSA.com we attracted over 2,000 visitors/day (60K/M) during May, 2008.
To bridge the gaps of comparing my numbers to both national media Websites and local broker and association Websites, I thought of comparing our sites based on the target of number of homes for sale in our market.
The Target Market Efficiency Rating = Visitors/HomesForSale/Month
In any month, if Zillow and Trulia get 4MM visitors for the 7MM homes for sale in the US, and Nothnagle gets 390K visitors, HomeSteadnet gets 6K visitors, and WebHomeUSA gets 2K visitors for 8K homes for sale in Greater Rochester, then:
- Nothnagle's Visitors/HomesForSale/Month = 48.8
- HomeSteadNet's Visitors/HomesForSale/Month = 22.5
- WebHomeUSA's Visitors/HomesForSale/Month = 7.5
- Zillow's and Trulia's Visitors/HomesForSale/Month = 0.57
What's your Website's Target Market Efficiency Rating(TMER)?
As they say in Real Estate, "If you can't be Number 1 in your niche, find a new niche."
Posted by: Cliff Jacobson
Adapt Or Die!
WebHomeUSAblog: The Blog of Online Real Estate Marketing