Real Estate Online Marketing Tell All; Real Trends 2012 Online Performance Study

1,748 views
1,655 views

Published on

An Opinionated Real Estate Online Marketing Tell All. View full article here: http://realwits.com/real-estate-online-marketing-tell-all

This is my response to the Real Trend Real Estate Online Marketing 2012 study as it relates to conversations I have had with brokers who have inquired about my real estate SEO services or a realWITS.com SEO optimized real estate website. When I first read it because it hit a nerve.

Below is my reaction.

As a real estate SEO consultant, over the past 5 plus years I have spoken to many brokers about their real estate SEO needs, online marketing and their website. Repeatedly, I hear the same responses…Brokers do not have enough financial resources for these services.

The truth was they did have sufficient funds for real estate online marketing. However, they were unwilling to stop publishing featured home listings in real estate magazines, stop their yellow page advertising, reduce outbound mailings and postcards or discontinue paying for leads from online real estate portal giants.

The only conclusion I could ever formulate was they did not understand the value. While I cannot speak for others in my industry, I have witnessed real estate companies outmaneuver the online portal giants as well as those who continue refuse to pay for good real estate online marketing. Perhaps that is what makes the difference between the successful and those who are resistant to change.

Published in: Business, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,748
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
193
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
15
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Real Estate Online Marketing Tell All; Real Trends 2012 Online Performance Study

  1. 1. The Trusted Source 2012 Online Performance Study by Travis Saxton & Jaime O’Connell foreword by Steve Murray www.realtrends.com
  2. 2. easy “Main Street allows our agents to effortlessly stay connected with their sphere. It allows us to easily process, track and communicate with our leads. We effortlessly drip relevant content to our leads.” - Jodi Dines, CIO, Real Estate One ™ +1 608 468 6013 Jim Zellmer zellmer@virtualproperties.com www.vp.io/ms.html
  3. 3. REAL Trends 2012 Online Performance Study Table of Contents Introduction by Travis Saxton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Foreword by Steve Murray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Individual Phone Survey Data Lead Flow, Setup, and Response Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Case Study Real Estate Professional Response Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Online Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Search Engine Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Listing Aggregators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Mobile Presence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Forced Registration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Conversions and Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Monthly Website Analytics Analysis Sample Size and Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Who Are the Top Referring Traffic Sources? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Value of Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Competition Comparison (Social and Listing Related) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Mobile Breakdown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Social Media Presence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Annual Website Analytics Breakdown Sample Size for Comparisons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Annual Performance Metrics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Behavior Engagement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Site Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Annual Traffic Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Search Engine Marketing Breakdown (New in 2012) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Keyword Analysis (New in 2012) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Search Engine Ranking Placement (New in 2012) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Mobile Breakdown, Operating Systems and Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Location of U.S. Real Estate Traffic (New: An International Scope) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Northeast Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Midwest Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 South Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 West Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Monthly Website Traffic Correlation with REAL Trends Housing Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 2012 Top 15 Real Estate Online Performance Rankings (NEW) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Identifiable Action Plans to Increase Brokerage Profitability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Future Considerations for The Online Performance Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Speaking Opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Glossary and Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Customer Success Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
  4. 4. The 2012 Online Performance Study was born out of popular demand by the residential real estate industry. Very few standards and informative analysis exist in this medium for our industry. Through our REAL Trends Consulting practice and our Gathering of Eagles event, it has become evident that not only is this data important and undervalued, but it is critical in determining the future success of your brokerage. We are pleased to introduce the most advanced website report for the residential real estate brokerage. In the past iterations, as part of the Brokerage Performance Report, our study was limited to only a small portion of the Google Analytics data available to our team. We have greatly enhanced the amount and scope of data we collected along with personally interviewing each firm included in this study. In this report you will find 5 distinct sections in which we A) break down our phone survey with the main technology and marketing contacts. B) Evaluate the monthly Google Analytics data for our sample. C) Expand the data to an annual performance review. D) Expand our correlation study in which web traffic correlates and can be a predictive housing indicator, and E) The new REAL Trends Website Performance ranking based on actual web metrics. We have taken great care to ensure the data in this study is accurate and reliable. For the web portion only Google Analytics accounts were accepted to ensure consistency amongst the report- ing systems. For those companies that did not have a full year of data to analyze, we excluded them from the annual website analysis portion of our study instead of allowing them in with partial statistics. We did not allow submissions of the data rather were granted access and collected each data sample internally. The brokerages represented in this survey have over 420 offices total representing over 19,000 agents. Combined they accounted for over 135,500 transaction sides which represented over $37.5 billion dollars in 2011 sales volume according to REAL Trends data. We feel it is a very representative sample size of the general U.S. residential real estate brokerage population. We are extraordinarily thankful to all companies that participated in our study and as a result they will receive a complimentary copy of this report. To participate in future studies and rankings on website performance please contact tsaxton@realtrends.com. At the end of this report you will find a useful glossary with definitions and we will give you click-by-click instructions on how to find the metrics we are highlighting in this survey so you can truly compare your site with those of the 2012 Online Performance Study. Introduction Travis Saxton REAL Trends Marketing and Technology Manager
  5. 5. For over 25 years REAL Trends has published research about a wide range of aspects of the residen- tial brokerage business. From financial and operational performance studies and rankings of the top brokerage firms and sales professionals to five different studies of consumer views and habits in the home buying and selling process, REAL Trends has invested considerable time and resources to find answers to important questions. The 2012 Online Performance Study will surely go down as one of the most timely and useful research projects we have ever produced. Why? Too much of the information that has been published is under- written by those with a product to sell or a sponsor to support. This report is one of the first that is unbiased in every regard. It reports on the real results of brokerage firms in their attempts to create real value for themselves, their sales professionals and their housing consumers. The report blows up some myths about competing online and confirms some others. There is no more important topic at this time as we move from the infancy of the internet to young adulthood. There is still so much to learn and so many new tools and products for brokerage firms to consider. What we have set out to do is to establish useful benchmarks so that the leaders of realty organizations can make rational and well informed decisions about where to invest their scarce resources. Foreword Steve Murray Publisher
  6. 6. GET STARTED TODAY! www.lwolf.com 1.866.CRY.WOLF(279.9653) The BACK OFFICE SOLUTION that runs at FULL POWER! Manage your office and agents with unrivalled ‘real-time’ reporting Simple management of office and agent expenses Automate commission plans and monthly agent billing Move beyond the limitations of QuickBooks® and MS Excel® The KEY to your VIRTUAL OFFICE that CONNECTS you to your AGENTS! Communicate office news, events and the value of the brokerage to your agents Manage and distribute leads Increase communication through drip marketing campaigns Integrate your listing data to your brokerWOLF solution Your ONLINE presence to the GLOBAL Real Estate MARKET! A website that will showcase your value to consumers Powerful listing enhancement tools Edit your own content through the simple Web Manager tools Superior Microsoft Virtual Earth® mapping
  7. 7. Individual Phone Survey Data This portion of the survey was the most subjective part of the Online Performance Study. While we can deduce many averages and useful statistics from this data, there are several questions that, as a result of the wide variance of the answers, will be summed up in an informal discussion and subjective analysis. Lead Flow, Setup, and Response Time These are some of the most important metrics attained during the phone interviews. The consumer environment has shifted and now more than ever real estate professionals response time is proving to be critical in the conversion of online leads. • 90% of consumers did online research before they bought their last home. • 45% of consumers upon initial contact to an agent expect a response within 15 minutes. • 56% of consumers expect a response from their agent within 30 minutes. • 89% of consumers said that response time was very important when choosing their agent. With real estate consumers expecting a response within 30 minutes and 89% of them saying that response time is very important, then why do real estate professionals on average take 72 hours to respond to a consumer? Based upon internal case studies and broker participation it’s estimated that 2 out of every 4 inquiries on a real estate website, listing aggregator such as Zillow®, trulia, and REALTOR. com® goes unresponded to. This brings us the results of the phone survey for the 2012 Online Performance Study. 42% of brokerages in the study had an e-Team in place to handle online leads (not associated with their own listing). 53% percent of firms distributed all online leads evenly throughout their brokerage. The average e-Team consisted of 40.4 agents and the average brokerage with e-Teams had 791 agents so essentially the e-Team consisted of only 5% of all agents in the firm. There are a few factors that come into play when establishing the agents of an e-Team and why it would only be 5% of the agent population: 1. Agents don’t want to pay the referral fee. 2. Agents aren’t tech savvy enough to accept leads and follow up in that method. 3. Agents are held to swifter response times and standards. 4. Some teams require specific notes and updates required in their CRM. 5. Some e-Teams require a closing percentage standard to remain on the team. 6. Some brokerages limit the number of agents that can be on their e-Team. We will discuss factors in establishing an e-Team in the action plan section of this study. 26% of firms in the study did not charge a referral on general online leads. Of the remaining firms that did, the average referral fee was 28% with the values ranging from 20% to 35%. For response times mandated prior to reassigning the leads, 47% of firms had no rules in place for this. The 53% of firms that did have a rule in place averaged a mandatory response time of 27 minutes before they reassigned the lead with the low being a 10-minute threshold. The firms that had an e-team in place saw per agent productivity increase by 1.5 transactions per agent/per year from an average of 8.6 for those without e-Team to 10.1 to those with. The reason the above statistics are so important is that online consumers are much more demanding and giving them an instant response increases the percentage of inquiries that convert to actual quality leads. With this being said, an e-Team is not necessary but the diligence shown with the companies involved in this study proves better results. This could easily be accomplished through training, as some firms without e-Teams outperformed those with an e-Team. With real estate consumers expecting a response within 30 minutes, and 89% of them saying that response time is very important, then why do real estate professionals take 72 hours on average to respond to a consumer?
  8. 8. Case Study Real Estate Professional Response Rate While we have conducted several informal studies and attained brokerage confirmation of the growing problem of the lack or disregard of Real Estate Professional response to online leads, until recently we haven’t had full blown evidence. Enter a courageous brokerage that was willing to share the data of an internal audit they had an outside company conduct. This was a company that happens to have no e-Team in place and distributes all online leads evenly with NO referral fee on those leads giving the agents even more of an incentive to follow up in a timely manner. See the chart below. Online Marketing 42% of brokerage firms in the study did not have online marketing budgets. Of the remaining the responses as to what percentage this represented of their overall marketing budget was varied. The average online budget was 24% of the overall marketing budget but the high was 80% and the low was 5%. The difficulty came with defining exactly what is considered in the online budget with so many variables. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) • 53% Outsource their SEO Services • 32% Combine In-house and Outsourcing • 10.5% Use In-house Staff and Strategies only • 5.3% Have no SEO Strategy Of the companies that outsourced they average a Search Engine Ranking Placement of 11.06 or in between the first and second result on the second page of Google (for the 4 popular search terms in real estate identified in Search Engine Ranking Placement section Page 16). For the companies that combined both in-house and outsourcing they averaged a Search Engine Ranking of 5.25 or in the middle of page 1. In-house garnered an average ranking of 16.2 and no SEO strategy left the broker- ages out in the dark with no ranking whatsoever (not on the first 10 pages for all 4 keywords varia- tions). The clear winner here is the company that outsources much of their SEO but has internal staff putting in time and effort to implement and facilitate strategies. Secret Shopper Results Agent Response Time to Internet Inquiries Response times to 100 inquiries submitted through website. All inquiries were on their own listings. Email address provided as way to contact inquiry. 8 3 3 17 7 5 9 3 2 43 15 min 15-30 min 30-60 min 1-3 hrs 3-6 hrs 6-12 hrs 24-48 hrs 48 hrs to 1 wk 12-24 hrs no response
  9. 9. Search Engine Marketing 26% of firms in the study are actively participating in search engine marketing. 75% of firms said they have tried search engine marketing in the past. There are several examples of search engine marketing being conducted in real estate firms: 1. Local blanket coverage: targeting local folks searching real estate and/or neighborhood related terms. 2. National coverage: With location not important your click thru rate decreases but exposure increases. You get more clicks generally overall but spend more money to compete. 3. Strength/Weakness campaign: Figuring out where you’re strong to avoid those keywords and where you are weak to increase your presence if you can’t compete SEO wise. 4. Competitor Campaign: Targeting your key competitors and purchasing keywords related to that can be a good way to attain some of this traffic, (usually at a lower cost.) 5. Combination: Of course some do a variation of all of these campaigns. Important Note: One thing Google doesn’t want many people to know is the fact that studies show the most profitable position to target and blanket is the 7th-8th position in the paid search results. The reason being is many consumers are conditioned to bypass the first three results in yellow at the top of the page for the organic search results. Then they get to the bottom of the page and if they haven’t found what they were looking for only 30-40% depending on term go to the second page many will conduct a new search. Which ads are staring at them when they are at the bottom? You guessed it the 7th and 8th position. As far as cost per click and ROI these are your big winners. So throw vanity and ego out the window and target as many keywords as you can and try to nail these positions. You can find actual data from Google Analytics for this topic on page 16. Plus more on this in the action plan section at the end of the study. Listing Aggregators 58% of firms in the study spend money with listing aggregators such as REALTOR.com®, trulia, and Zillow®. Of this 58% the average spent with REALTOR.com® for those reporting was $3,842 monthly. Trulia and Zillow.com® were $1,110 and $789 respectively. The listing aggregator customer satisfaction response had the brokers slightly unsatisfied when rating their overall satisfaction with listing aggregators. We will evaluate top referral sources of traffic later in this study and add several more sources into the mix. Mobile Presence 79% of brokerages in the study have a mobile optimized website. 32% had a mobile app available for download, of which all also had a mobile website for a complete overlap covering all consumer prefer- ences. So is a mobile website important? Those firms without saw decreases of 1.4% in iPhone traffic, 1.2% in iPad traffic and 1.4% in Android traffic for a total of 4% decrease in mobile traffic. We dive further into mobile statistics in later sections of the study. Forced Registration The elephant in the room with many websites has always been what to lock down behind registration and what not to. Forced registration is something that if you are considering, do not take the blind approach. There are many useful tools like bounce rate, conversions and goals, time on site and pages per visit plus more that you can use to evaluate if this is indeed working for you. Some sites force reg- istration right away or after one page. Others vary like after viewing 10 pages they force you to register. Frankly there is no right or wrong answer as many variables factor into what’s most effective. In this study 16% force registration at some point on their website. While we didn’t ask the specifics of each brokerage it is important to note that of those that did force registration they saw no statistical decrease in the average time on site or average pages per visit. So it can be done in an effective manner.
  10. 10. 10 Conversions and Goals Conversions in Google Analytics are extremely easy to set up and frankly most real estate websites could have them set up in about 15-30 minutes. Your typical real estate site has about 4 ways to con- tact you via online inquiry with some variations mixed in: 1) direct to agent 2) direct through general contact form 3) a few specialty forms in some cases 4) on a particular listing. Setting up conversions is hands down one of the easiest things you can do to start gauging the effec- tiveness of your website and particular forms/pages, social media, search engine marketing and opti- mization, and referring traffic sources. The easiest way to describe this is to give you a few examples: Wouldn’t you like to know how well Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and more are performing for you? Beyond the normal traffic tallies. Well with conversions you can easily see your social con- versions and how many actual inquiries sites like Facebook are sending your way. No more guessing game. How about sites like REALTOR.com®, trulia and Zillow®? Set up is as easy as pie to gauge the effec- tiveness of this traffic. Ever wanted to know how well a certain page performs compared to another, or have you ever wanted to track what percentage of visitors view listings or school info or market stats then inquire. All simple with Conversions and Goals in Google Analytics. With these examples stated there are only 58% of the brokerages in the study tracking conversions at all within the past year. 95% of these brokerages also conduct search engine marketing and pairing the two can be a great way to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns. For tips on how to set up conversion tracking in their simplest form visit the glossary portion of this study.
  11. 11. 11 Monthly Website Analytics Analysis Why do we break down monthly and annual analytics? For three reasons. 1. By default your Google Analytics account always pulls in the last 30 days so it’s easier for you to compare your metrics with those of the study. 2. The most recent month gives us a larger sample size and more data to use. Simply because some organizations have started new sites, recently launched analytics, etc. 3. The annual data gives us more to work with, especially when we dive into individual countries as traffic sources. As a result there is a little overlap in some of the statistics reported between the two. Sample Size and Scope The average brokerage in the study had 240,323 visits in the month we collected data, of which 108,679 were unique visitors. The ratio being 2.2 overall visits to unique visitors. You can use this ratio to gauge the ability of your site to bring consumers back. The average number of pageviews was 1,596,611, which equates to 7.36 pages per visit on average for our sample study with a high of over 18 and a low of 1.54. As noted in the annual portion of this study, this is a pretty good statistic along with the average time on site to gauge the stickiness of your website. The brokerages also averaged 5 minutes and 42 seconds per visit to their site with a high of 10 minutes and 12 seconds and a low of 26 seconds. The average bounce rate in the group was 37.93%, with the high rate of 74.5% and low at 13.99%. With these statistics, the lower the percentage the better–it clearly shows your visitor intentionally landed on your site and is getting the content he/she desired. For the definition of ‘bounce rate,’ see the Glossary. Who are the top referring traffic sources? The average brokerage in the study received 58,631 visits in the month from referring sources such as social media sites, listing aggregators, local sites and etc. This equates to 24.4% of all traffic over the month. To begin with we have expanded our data evaluation of these referral sources to include more popular sources in 2012. While we don’t include all possible sources they are the most popular in real estate. Every local market has its own niche sources that we couldn’t possibly recognize so we stuck with notable national sources. The top three referring sources we extracted data for were: 1. Facebook with an average of 1,504 monthly visits. 2. Trulia with an average of 841 monthly visits. 3. Craigslist with an average of 625 monthly visits. Facebook 1,504 Trulia 841 Craigslist 625 Homes.com291 Realtor.com208 LinkedIn44 Realestate.com43 Frontdoor.com36 Pinterest25 Yellowpages.com18 Twitter2.18Referring Sources: Average Visits Zillow236 Homefinder.com206
  12. 12. 12 Value of Traffic It’s important to gauge some type of value from traffic referred to your brokerage site. While the best individual way is to track conversions and gauge which sources actually send you conversions not all brokerages do this. So we are using the metric average pages per visit to effectively gauge this. While this is not perfect a lot can be said that if a source sends you traffic and they average a higher amount of pages viewed than another source, in the end the source with the higher pages per visit will be more valuable as they are more active or interested visitors. Competition Comparison (Social and Listing Related) In the comparison of listing aggregators, you will see that trulia is the top referring source of listing aggregators by a large gap followed by a close battle between homes.com, Zillow®, REALTOR.com® and homefinder.com respectively. The most valuable traffic of the group appears to come from REALTOR.com® in a large gap over the rest of the group. Among the social media sites, the clear frontrunner is Facebook with a big lead over LinkedIN, Pinterest (new kid on the block) and Twitter respectively. The high for each category source as a percentage of their referring traffic was: Facebook – 69% • LinkedIN – 5% • Pinterest – 1.32% • Twitter – .02% The value of the traffic had a slight edge favoring Facebook with Twitter being very low in this respect. Referring Sources: Average Pages per Visit Trulia625 Homes.com 291 Zillow 238 Realtor.com 208 Homefinder.com 206 Average Referrals per Month Frontdoor.com 36 Realtor.com8.62 Homes.com 3.98 Homefinder.com 3.36 Trulia 3.31 Zillow 3.17 Average Pages per Visit Frontdoor.com 1.53 Realtor.com8.62 Yellowpages.com4.96 Craigslist4.28 Homes.com3.98 Facebook3.86 Homefinder3.36 Trulia3.31 LinkedIn 3.09 Pinterest 2.52 Frontdoor 1.53 Twitter 0.47 Realestate.com3.09 Zillow3.17 Realestate.com 43 Realestate.com 3.09
  13. 13. 13 Mobile Breakdown Wow, what growth we have seen here. Just 8 months ago, we saw average mobile traffic in the 11- 12% range on average for our sample. Now for July of 2012 we have nearly doubled that number. The total number of mobile visits to our study was 1.7 million in July, which equates to an astounding 21.34% of all traffic to our sites. The iPhone and iPad alone equate to almost as much traffic as was total mobile visits just a short 8 months prior. The iPad now equates to 8.06% of all traffic and the iPhone is 7.06% of all traffic. Combined, they account for 71% of all mobile traffic in the month of July. What may be most surprising and a good testa- ment to how sophisticated our devices are becoming, is the fact that the consumer is staring at their small screen nearly as long as their desktop as they are consuming 7.26 pages on average in 4 minutes and 52 seconds. These are very similar numbers to that of the overall website. Social Media Presence The average company in the study had 734 Facebook fol- lowers and that is the equivalent of 1.2 Facebook follow- ers for every agent in their organization. One of the newer stats in Google Analytics is visits via social referral, which showed the average brokerage had 1,696 visits from social networks in July 2012. We created a new statistic we are calling social presence engagement in which we intend to show how effective a company is at working their social media connections and driving traffic to their website. So its not about who has the most followers but who gains the most traffic to their website from the fol- lowers they do have. This number is relative as it takes into account traffic and Facebook followers to get a ratio. The top performing company gathered 8.39 visits to their website per follower and the average was 1.99 visits per follower. The great thing about this stat is it leveled the playing field as the high was a company with only 330 Facebook followers. Average Referrals per Month Average Pages per Visit Facebook 1,504 LinkedIn 44 Pinterest 25 Twitter 2.18 Facebook 3.86 LinkedIn 3.09 Pinterest 2.52 Twitter.47 Just 8 months ago, we saw average mobile traffic in the 11-12% range on average for our sample. Now for July of 2012 we have nearly doubled that number.
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. 15 Annual Website Analytics Breakdown Sample Size for Comparisons The 2012 Online Performance Study participants came from across the United States that combined for a total of 84 million annual visits to their websites of which 28.9 million were unique visitors. The total number of pages viewed by the sample was 704.5 million between the dates of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. With average annual visits of 2,800,401 (233,366 monthly) and 24.29 million pageviews amongst the brokerage population this represents a pretty large brokerage sample. Annual Performance Metrics The average consumer visited 7.95 pages per visit with a high of 17.63 and a low of 1.59. The consumer spent an average of 6 minutes and 8 seconds on the brokerage websites with a high of 10 minutes 24 seconds and a low of 1 minute and 32 seconds. Both of these performance metrics are great indicators of the “stickiness” of the website and should be paid attention to. They indicate whether your site is engaging enough and offering acceptable content for the consumer. Another metric you can look at for the effectiveness and “Curb Appeal” of your website is how many new versus returning visitors you have on your site. While this stat is by no means perfect it can cer- tainly be helpful in this respect. In the study for every 1 new visit a real estate website received it had the equivalent of 2 returning visits back to that site. So 2/3rds of all real estate traffic is returning visits. If your traffic is skewed in the opposite direction you are either very efficient at closing those leads or your original visitor is less likely to return to your website over the long haul. Lastly, Page Depth can truly tell you who is captivated by your content. 36.8% of all real estate traffic only viewed 1 page, which is a big factor in your bounce rate statistic. With a high of 64% for one brokerage and a low of 13.8% (the lower the better here). On the opposite side of the spectrum the average brokerage had 9.9% of its traffic view a whopping 20+ pages per visit. The big winners here were the brokerages that had upwards of 28% of its overall traffic viewing 20 or more pages. While the low for this category was .13%. Refer to the glossary for how to find your page depth statistics. Behavior Engagement See the graph below to see the various time periods spent on the Brokerage Websites. Time Spent on Brokerage Websites 0-10 secs. 11-30 secs. 31-60 secs. 61-180 secs. 181-600 secs. 601-1800 secs. 1801+ secs. 41.56% 6.74% 6.26% 11.92% 15.34% 12.84% 5.51%
  16. 16. 16 Site Speed The average page load time sampled across hundreds of millions of pageviews was 5.55 seconds with a high recorded at 14.58 and a low of a blazing 1.89 seconds. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Web Spam Team and a search engine quality expert, mentions site speed as a ranking factor in its search engine algorithm so it is important, as they want to rank faster sites higher. However, in this study we did not find a correlation between site speed and search engine rank- ings. So even though it is a factor, real estate websites may be more influenced by other variables. Annual Traffic Sources The average real estate brokerage drew 50.1% of its traffic from search engines, 34.8% of its traffic directly (via firm’s own URL), 14.5% from all referral sources (i.e. Facebook, Listing Aggregators, and etc.) and a very miniscule amount of traffic from search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns at .79% of overall traffic. Of the search engine traffic the chart below breaks down the 3 most popular engines and their percentages. Search Engine Marketing Breakdown (New in 2012) The average brokerage brought in 5,860 visits annually from SEM campaigns with about 1/3rd of the companies in the study having no data in the last 12 months. Several brokerages were effectively generating traffic using SEM campaigns with a high of 7.23% of all their traffic coming from these campaigns. A few others were in the 5-6% range with the vast majority in the 0-.9% range for overall traffic percentage. Basically, a well-organized and structured SEM campaign can generate sufficient traffic and in comparison to other online spending opportunities you can generate much more traffic for similar spends. Sources of Brokerage Web Site Traffic Search Engines Direct Visits Referrals Campaign 50.11% 34.80% 14.53% 0.79% Search Engine Traffic Google Bing Yahoo! 78.39% 8.79% 7.66%
  17. 17. 17 Keyword Analysis (New) We pulled the top 10 keywords used by consumers to find the real estate brokerages. In 90% of the brokerages the keyword included the company name or some variation of the company name. These are typically goal-oriented consumers who in many cases didn’t know the URL or the spelling of the brokerage. In situations where a brokerage has a difficult or unorthodox spelling of their name we saw an increased percentage of these keywords along with variances in the top 10. So this does play a factor into the percentage of traffic driven to a brokerage from search engines. Results will be skewed slightly for those brokerages with complex names or URLs. Out of the top ten search keywords for a brokerage .97 were unrelated to the brokerage name. The most common seen were “real estate in primary market” and “homes for sale primary market” or just “homes in primary market”. One less seen but integral keyword search was “Real Estate Professionals in primary market”. The high end for these non brokerage related keywords was 4 out of 10. The top brokerage drew 6% of its overall traffic from the keywords in the top 10 not related to their name the average was .9%. Search Engine Ranking Placement (New) With the research from above, we identified 5 common keyword phrases consumers are using to find brokerages in our study. Behind each term you will see the average ranking for all brokerages in that term. 1) Real Estate in Primary Market (11) 2) Primary Market Real Estate (13) 3) Homes for Sale Primary Market (15) 4) Realtors Primary Market (5) 5) Real Estate in Primary County (21) (this one we tested just out of curiosity not based on popularity) We found interesting results: The 5th keyword was thrown out as only 33% of brokerages were found at all with this search term. The few who were found had optimized for that term or the county name was found in the URL or name of the brokerage. However the first 4 had just about every brokerage ranked at some point in the first 10 pages. We used abso- lute values for this and only took organic search results and not paid or mapped results, so essentially if a brokerage was ranked 2nd on page 2 the overall ranking would be 12. There weren’t any brokerages that had a unanimous sweep of the number 1 position for all 4 terms. The best brokerage came in at 1.75 average ranking for the four terms followed by 2.25. The average brokerage ranked 11th in all four of the search terms. Since these are the most common terms found in our research and with nearly 50% of all real estate traffic coming from search engines, it is imperative that every brokerage at least has these four keywords with variations prevalent on their site, page titles, and page descriptions. Mobile Breakdown, Operating Systems and Devices While Microsoft’s Windows is still by far the favorite operating system among real estate consumers, the combination of Apple’s Mac and iOS operating systems prove to be a formidable competitor. The trend is due to a major growth in both iOS (iPhone and iPad mainly) and Android, with a significant decline in Blackberry. Windows mobile is the new kid on the block, with a very small percentage of traffic and growing ever so slightly. It is imperative that every brokerage at least has these four keywords with variations prevalent on their site, page titles, and page descriptions. Windows Mac iPhone iPad Android Blackberry Windows Mobile 73.37% 13.98% 3.99% 5.33% 2.34% 0.17% 0.03% Operating System Use
  18. 18. 18 Location of U.S. Real Estate Traffic (New: An International Scope) The newest and most interesting data we uncovered was that of the originating location of visitors to real estate websites. In this section we will breakdown the averages for all study participants and then break down into the four main regions of the U.S. These regions are described in the glossary for your reference. 96% of the real estate traffic was domestic from within the U.S., leaving 4% to be split up amongst for- eign countries. The high among brokerages was 99.4% domestic traffic with the low at 73.8%. While we didn’t have the resources to breakdown all foreign countries we grabbed the most popular and populous countries to evaluate. You may be surprised by the top contributing nations to our real estate traffic. Below you will find the breakdown by regions but to highlight some of the interesting notes: • Russia had a greater interest in the south than any other region sending .71% of all the traffic to that region. • The Canadians were the strongest in the west and south regions with close to 1% for each. • The wildcard was Italy, which had a strong presence in the west and topped this portion of the survey with 1.56% of traffic to that region. • The west region as a whole drew the most foreign visits attaining nearly 7% of visits internationally. Naturally, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer takes the top spot for Web Browsers with second place going to Android. In the last year, we saw Chrome and Firefox trading spots for the third and fourth place browsers. Did you Know: Only 6% of real estate web visits come back the day after initial visit. Only 3% comes back 2 days after initial visit. Canada 33,309.83 0.58% United Kingdom 6,382.97 0.31% China 3,003.03 0.05% Germany 2,702.73 0.14% Mexico 2,361.07 0.11% India 2,116.87 0.23% Australia 1,945.87 0.08% Puerto Rico 1,940.63 0.02% Russia 1,775.13 0.35% Italy 1,759.83 0.54% France 1,356.13 0.06% Japan 1,350.20 0.04% Brazil 1,051.47 0.09% Phillipines 949.10 0.08% Netherlands 778.30 0.04% Spain 726.97 0.05% New Zealand 279.20 0.02% Portugal 161.70 0.01% Web Traffic to U.S. Real Estate Brokerage Sites Country Average Visits Pct. of All U.S. to 4 U.S. Regions Brokerage Web Traffic
  19. 19. 19 Canada 659.14 0.16% India 629.71 0.17% United Kingdom 487.57 0.09% Russia 357.43 0.06% Germany 303.43 0.06% Mexico 153.00 0.03% Australia 138.71 0.03% Japan 132.57 0.02% Phillipines 128.57 0.04% China 113.14 0.02% Italy 112.71 0.02% France 106.00 0.02% Brazil 93.14 0.02% Spain 54.14 0.01% Netherlands 52.29 0.01% Puerto Rico 36.57 0.01% New Zealand 33.14 0.01% Portugal 26.86 0.01% Web Traffic to Midwest U.S. Real Estate Brokerage Sites Country Average Visits Pct. of All U.S. to Midwest U.S. Sites Brokerage Web Traffic Canada 89,852.40 0.85% UK 13,010.10 0.40% China 8,513.70 0.10% Mexico 6,647.00 0.22% Germany 6,008.50 0.15% Puerto Rico 5,541.60 0.02% Australia 4,938.20 0.16% Italy 4,573.60 1.56% India 4,252.90 0.32% Japan 3,654.70 0.06% France 3,302.80 0.10% Russia 2,707.80 0.40% Brazil 2,628.90 0.10% Phillipines 2,433.30 0.16% Spain 1,720.80 0.09% Netherlands 1,671.30 0.05% NZ 718.50 0.05% Portugal 386.70 0.02% Web Traffic to Western U.S. Real Estate Brokerage Sites Country Average Visits Pct. of All U.S. to West U.S. Sites Brokerage Web Traffic
  20. 20. 20 Canada 8,456.63 0.76% UK 5,517.63 0.45% Russia 2,450.75 0.71% Germany 1,542.88 0.24% France 521.88 0.05% India 480.38 0.25% Netherlands 437.50 0.05% Australia 398.63 0.06% Italy 397.00 0.04% Spain 332.13 0.04% Brazil 311.50 0.18% Mexico 220.75 0.09% China 213.25 0.03% Japan 175.00 0.03% Phillipines 156.88 0.06% Puerto Rico 135.38 0.03% Portugal 55.63 0.01% NZ 49.13 0.01% Web Traffic to Southern U.S. Real Estate Brokerage Sites Country Average Visits Pct. of All U.S. to Southern U.S. Sites Brokerage Web Traffic Canada 5,700.80 0.33% UK 2,766.80 0.19% India 2,545.20 0.12% Germany 1,306.00 0.08% Australia 966.80 0.06% Russia 813.60 0.08% Italy 618.80 0.04% Netherlands 554.00 0.06% France 547.80 0.03% China 491.20 0.02% Brazil 422.20 0.03% Phillipines 397.00 0.02% Japan 326.20 0.02% Spain 313.00 0.02% Mexico 305.00 0.02% Puerto Rico 292.80 0.03% NZ 113.20 0.01% Portugal 70.20 0.01% Web Traffic to Northeast U.S. Real Estate Brokerage Sites Country Average Visits Pct. of All U.S. to Northeast U.S. Sites Brokerage Web Traffic
  21. 21. 21 Monthly Website Traffic Correlation with REAL Trends Housing Data In statistics a correlation coefficient is used to determine the relationship between two properties. A correlation of 1.0 is a perfect correlation. A correlation of -1.0 is a perfect negative correlation and 0 would be no correlation. If you purchased the 2012 Brokerage Performance Report, you will recall we introduced a new statistical analysis for the relationship between housing market sales (using REAL Trends Housing Market Data) and Monthly Website Traffic from our sample study. In that study using data mostly from 2011 we found a near perfect correlation at .89 when we overlap the monthly website traffic compared to housing sales data 3 months later. In this same study we had a decent correlation with a 4 and 5 month delay. Basically stating most traffic closed at the 3 month mark but sales remained steady 4 and 5 months after the website traffic visited. For the 2012 Online Performance Study, we had enough data to go back to 2011 and half of 2012. We were surprised by the results from the analysis. To start with, we got very similar results when directly overlapping same month traffic with housing sales with virtually no correlation. The one-month delay jumped to a moderately small correlation of .74. Then REAL Trends discovered a near perfect correlation between housing sales data and website traffic from 2 months prior with a correlation coefficient of .94 even more significant than the last study. What happened next was even more surprising as the last study showed a tapering effect of sales 4-5 months down the road, the new study found a drastic drop off of correlation in this sample data. Essentially explaining consumers are now pulling the trigger much quicker than just 8 months ago. We feel there are reasonable explanations for this discovery. First, as interest rates continue to decline and speculation in that area increases, consumers who are likely to purchase are pulling the trigger much quicker. Secondly, as inventory levels decline the consumers on the fence are jumping at the first opportunity, more so than in past years. Correlation Between Housing Sales and Web Traffic .46 .69 .94 .74 .31 4 Month Delay 3 Month Delay 2 Month Delay 1 Month Delay Same Month Correlation 250K 200K 150K 100K 300K Monthly Website Traffic Existing Home Sales 7/11 8/11 9/11 10/11 11/11 12/11 1/12 2/12 3/12 4/12 5/12 6/12 7/12 Housing Sales vs. Monthly Web Traffic
  22. 22. 22 2012 Top 15 Real Estate Online Performance Rankings (NEW) Methodology: While this is a ranking of a very large sample it does not include all national real estate brokerages. If you feel your website measures up to these 15 and would like to be included in next year’s study please contact Travis Saxton at tsaxton@realtrends.com for inclusion. REAL Trends used 12 different categories to rank the top performing real estate websites. Those categories are in no particular order or weight: • Average Pages Per Visit • Average Bounce Rate • Average Time on Site • Overall Percentage of Search Traffic • Percentage of Mobile Traffic • Mobile Traffic Time on Site • Social Presence Rank • Search Engine Ranking Placements • Page Load Performance Times • User Behavior Engagement Times • User Page Depth Percentage • Design and Usability Although we included one subjective category out of the 12 removing that category barely affects these rankings (except a tiebreaker for the 7th-9th positions) and are almost completely performance based. We feel these 12 metrics accurately portray the overall performance of the site not only how well your site is search engine optimized, but whether your consumer’s are receiving and consuming the actual content they want. It also utilizes mobile metrics to appeal to this subsection and how well they are using the small screen to visit your site. With all of these stats, the relative size of the brokerage does not factor into the metrics. We hope you enjoy the ranking for 2012. Company Online Performance Rank 2012 1. Park Company Realtors, Fargo, ND 2. Chinowth Cohen, Tulsa, OK 3. RealtyUSA, New York 4. Blanchard and Calhoun, Augusta, GA 5. RE/MAX, Reading, PA 6. Coldwell Banker Rick Canup Realtors, Lubbock, TX 7. Lang, McLaughry and Spera, VT NH 7. Prudential Tropical Realty, Tampa, FL 7. Stark Company Realtors, Madison, WI 10. Dilbeck Real Estate, La Canada, CA 11. Prudential Fox Roach, Philadelphia, PA 12. Prudential Homesale Services Group, Harrisburg, PA 13. Intero Real Estate Services, Cupertino, CA 14. Carol Jones Realtors, Branson, MO 15. John Greene Realtors, Naperville, IL Summary The 2012 Online Performance Study can prove to be a valuable asset to a real estate brokerage and real estate sales professionals/teams. We analyze the importance of response times within a brokerage and how the consumer has increased demands in this area in the digital age. How to increase your usage of Google Analytics and how SEM and SEO can have an impact on your business. We identify the top producing listing aggregators along with trends in social media and mobile traffic. We have introduced a new quantifiable website ranking that has a high reliance on performance metrics. Our website traffic to housing data correlation study once again proves to reflect the predictive ability of this technology and market trends. We hope you enjoyed this study as we seek to further our research in the area of digital real estate trends and practices.
  23. 23. 23 Identifiable Action Plans to Increase Brokerage Profitability Search Engine Marketing: • Determine your search engine strengths and weakness prior to embarking. • Make sure to use conversions to track your google adwords. Typically the rifle versus shotgun approach will gain you better results. Be diligent don’t just set and forget. • Set a budget and stick with it. Make this part of your overall marketing budget. • Find your niche. Target specific areas, neighborhoods and etc don’t simply compete and pay big dollars for high rankings especially if you have a lower budget. Be strategic and try to nail those 7th-8th positions for as many relevant keywords as you can. • If you can’t compete buy your way to the top. Especially when it comes to your competition. By this I mean get your competitors names and variations in adwords it may help you land a few extra visitors every month. This is especially true if you have a complex name, URL, or spelling. Some consumers may just be having a hard time finding you and resorting to the competition, thus seeing you when they search for them can gain you some traffic. • Track, Track, Track. Make adjustments and track some more. Search Engine Optimization: • According to our data the most successful firms combine outsourcing and in-house SEO. Outsourcing gives you a fresh perspective and competitive advantage where as having the in-house commitment is key to implementing many of the strategies the SEO companies recommend. • A good SEO company will give you not only technical support but Social and Blogging strategies as well. If you don’t have these in effect you are greatly missing out on the link juices they give you. • Track your search engine activity, find keywords that are/aren’t working for you and adjust your content accordingly. • Conversions and goals in Google Analytics work well for tracking these initiatives as well. Set up an e-team or enforce more strict response standards: • In our study, the average company with an e-Team had 27 minutes for a response time. This is a good time frame to start with. Some companies use the even lead distribution as their value proposition to their agents. We do feel this is just fine and we are not advocating removing that. If this is your firm, you still need stricter standards for response times as the research shows lack of follow up is costing your firm valuable leads and ultimately sales. Use this study as your reasoning to your agents. 1.5 transactions per agents is nothing you would want to disregard. • If you go full e-Team here are some examples of performance metrics typically required: – Set closing percentage minimum thresholds. – Set productivity levels assuming even distribution. – Set minimum response times. – Set minimum technology requirements, i.e. iPhone, iPad, Android and mobility requirements. – Set follow up requirements beyond initial assessment. Require updates in CRM at 1 week, 3 week and 3 month marks. – Use lead-specific automated drip marketing campaigns. Make sure agents are fully using these systems. – Typical referral fees range between 30-35%; some vary based on the type and quality of the lead. – Train and Track. This area is ever evolving and e-Team agents need to stay on top of the technology. New age consumers want to interact the same way the leads come in so if its Facebook you may want to make sure your agents are versed and active (professionally) in social media channels. So require ongoing training.
  24. 24. 24 Track your conversions to determine ROI and eliminate costs on expenditures that are not returning: • Tracking conversions is an excellent way to track sources of business especially listing aggregators, social media, local advertising solutions and etc. This is also a great tool in refining your SEO and SEM campaigns. • To start identify all the methods in which consumers can contact you through your website. Run some fake leads through all methods. After you hit submit on every form, take note or copy the URL that shows post submission. • If this URL is the same for all well then your job gets a little easier and you only need to set up one goal in Google analytics. • If your URL is different you will get more info and drilled down data for which individual forms are performing better than others, but you will need to set up a goal for each one. • Make a new URL destination goal within your Google analytics profile. Copy and paste your link in there and leave exact match selected. If you know your cost per submission or inquiry based on data add that in there. This then can track ROI for you. • Let the data flow and track your referral sources and what keywords are producing valuable traffic for you. Set up an online marketing budget and include social media sites in this endeavor: • Include Social Media in your budget and track results. • Include SEO and SEM in your budget and track results. • Seek out local online entities (newspapers, tv stations, and etc.) and evaluate cost per thousand or other costing approaches and track for effectiveness. • Include Listing Aggregators and syndicators like ListHub and Point2. • Use Conversion tracking to constantly track and fine-tune these sources for effectiveness. Get a blogging strategy and platform implemented. • Not because everybody is doing it but because it is an integral part in a good SEO strategy. • Determine your niche and stick with that. Trying to be all things to all people simply doesn’t work and especially with SEO and blogging. • Empower your agents. Some of the best blogs have blogging teams. Determine who is most likely to stick with it and reward them for their participation. Give them each an area, neighborhood or niche and get active. A good place to start is a new story/blog once a week. • Use links within your blog stories; the more the merrier (within reason). • Utilize your blog titles effectively. Be sure to incorporate the same keywords you’re tracking and using in your SEO campaigns somewhere in your blog titles. This is key! Automate your follow-up/relationship marketing: • Drip marketing can be a powerful tool only if your agents use it. • Take some of the burden off the agents and automate as much as you can. Some systems allow auto- matic triggers to initiate certain actions. Use them to your advantage and set up custom forms on your site to automatically add leads to drip campaigns. • Establish a process within your organization to get social followers. Every buyer/seller should be added to a social campaign. Not only to stay in touch but to mine for life changing events, birthdays, anniversaries and etc. A good social media manager will be able to exploit this on your firm and your agents’ behalf.
  25. 25. 25 • Consumers are more and more used to drip marketing and eMarketing so mining or using a little lifestyle data goes a long way. For example if they are dog lovers have a separate campaign for dog friendly parks, beaches, events and etc. They will love this and that connects to them. Set up your YouTube video channel and get active: • Same as blogging advice; establish your niche and stick with it. • Neighborhood update videos and hot neighborhood topics are huge. • Consider doing “Life Style” videos for every listing. Take the would-be buyer through what their life would look like if you lived in this home. Walk down the street and go to local establishments nearby. Tap into the emotional factor of buying a home. • Be sure to use keywords in your video titles. One common mistake firms make is to throw a video on YouTube for a listing and the title is something like MLS123456.mpg, this gives you very little SEO value. A better example is “your address – city – state- neighborhood.mpg” This way you can get some search traffic as well. Get local! • Set up neighborhood pages on your website and include market demographics like those found on city-data.com or third party vendors. Utilize these pages to show you’re an expert in these areas. Feed related blog stories to these pages and YouTube videos for extra SEO juice. You will truly become dominant in those neighborhoods fast. • Set up Facebook groups and go door to door if need be to invite residents to join. Post pictures, videos, neighborhood updates, hot topics and more. Give free company swag or for example buy watermelons on summer holidays or decorations on other holidays. Future Considerations for The Online Performance Study • How a blog impacts search engine optimization and social media presence. • How social media impacts search engine optimization and your number of inbound links. • Enhance the secret shopper case study to more brokerages, listing aggregators and larger numbers. • Enhance website traffic/housing sales prediction tool for use and/or exposure to the general public. If you have ideas to include or want your brokerage involved in future studies like this contact Travis Saxton at tsaxton@realtrends.com. Speaking Opportunities Travis Saxton (tsaxton@realtrends.com) is the director of technology and marketing at REAL Trends. He manages the REAL Trends technology consulting practice and has consulted with brokerages across the globe. He has great live experience working with brokerages on all systems related to technology and marketing. With over 8 years of consulting in digital marketing and technology systems/strategies he can be a great asset to your conference, organization, or internal brokerage meeting. Topics of discussion include but are not limited to: • Online Performance Study • Real Estate Technology and Marketing Consulting • Online and Social Media Marketing for Real Estate • Systems Integration • Lead Flow, CRM Management and Follow Up/Relationship Marketing • Paperless Technologies, Integration and Adoption • Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing • Real Estate Website Analysis
  26. 26. 26 GLOSSARY AND INSTRUCTIONS Technology Terminology Bounce Rate: A bounce occurs when a web site visitor only views a single page on a website, that is, the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-timeout occurs. There is no industry standard minimum or maximum time by which a visitor must leave in order for a bounce to occur. Rather, this is determined by the session timeout of the analytics tracking software. Unique Visitor: According to IFABC Global Web Standards, a unique user (UU) is “An IP address plus a further identifier. The term ‘unique visitor’ may be used instead of ‘unique user’ but both terms have essentially the same meaning (see below). Sites may use User Agent, Cookie and/or Registration ID.” Note that where users are not allocated IP addresses dynamically (for example by dial-up Internet service providers), this definition may overstate or understate the real number of individual users concerned. Unique users is a common measurement of the popularity of a website, often quoted to potential advertisers or investors, and measured over a standard period of time, typically a month. However, Greg Harmon of Belden Research says “may overstate” is a gross understatement. Remember, it’s just an identifier of a computer, not a person. And usually, the computer is identified by a “cookie” which is most often specific to an individual browser on that computer. Visitor: The total number of visits to a website counting repeat traffic. If someone visits a website several times in 10 minutes or less its only one visitor but if he comes back 5 times in 5 days that would be 5 additional visitors. Pageviews: The total number of pages viewed on a website. If a visitor views a site one time and clicks to 6 pages that would be 6 pageviews. Organic Search Traffic: This is associated with search engines such as Google. The organic aspect refers to the unpaid areas that are displayed and clicked on in search results. This term is commonly associ- ated with search engine optimization. Which is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines. Paid Search Traffic: AKA Search engine marketing, (SEM), is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion. Search engine optimization (SEO) “optimizes” website content to achieve a higher ranking in search results, for example, by incorporat- ing specific keywords or links associated with the website. Depending on the context, SEM can be an umbrella term for various means of marketing a website including SEO, or it may contrast with SEO, focusing on just paid components. Often identified by a shaded yellow or gray background on the search engines. Referring Sources: Any website not acting as a search engine that refers you traffic, i.e., Zillow, REALTOR.com® , Facebook, media sites, etc. Conversions: A term used within the constraints of Google Analytics. Conversions allow you to track how often a certain event or goal happens. There are a few types of conversions but the one most often used in real estate is the URL Destination Conversion. Typically when a consumer fills out a contact form the end result is a page that refreshes and displays a new URL. That URL is what is tracked in Google Analytics. Once you establish this goal you will then be able to see how or what people did prior to completing that goal. For example you had 30 people from Facebook yesterday fill out your contact us form or 20 people came from Google via the keywords Real Estate in Denver Co and inquired on listings. This is the type of detail you can get and use the data to enhance your site further.
  27. 27. 27 To set these up login to your Google Analytics and click on the admin tab. You will see another tab for goals. Add a new goal (name it) if you know the monetary value (or close rate) of the number of contacts you get enter in what each action is worth to you to track ROI. Go fill out your form and copy the URL and paste that in the field. Keep exact match selected, if you want to track variations of a link like on some listing contact forms then exact match is not used rather a head or expression match to pick out a piece of the URL you are tracking. Click save and you are done. Happy Tracking. e-Team: A collection of agents who handle leads within a brokerage. The classification for an e-Team was a subset of agents with special requirements that received general brokerage leads. Typically if a brokerage doesn’t distribute leads evenly amongst all agents they essentially had an e-Team. Sample Phone Study Survey Do you have an e-team for your sales professionals? Do you distribute all online leads evenly? If so how many agents are on your firm’s e-Team? Do you charge referral fees on leads you generate for your sales professionals? What is your referral fee for company generated online leads? What is your primary market? Do you have an online marketing budget? What percent of your overall marketing/advertising budget does this represent? In-house, Outsource, Combination or no SEO Strategy? Do you do SEM? Have you ever done SEM? Do you have a standard for response time prior to re-assigning? If so, how long? Do you have a mobile website? Do you have a mobile app? Do you track your gross online leads to closings percentage? Do you track your visitor to leads percentage? Do you spend money with listing aggregators? Budget with REALTOR®.com Budget with trulia Budget with Zillow® How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the Listing Aggregators? 1 being very unsatisfied and 5 being very satisfied. Do you force registration on your website?
  28. 28. Customer Success Story Shorewest REALTORS Achieves 50% Average Monthly Jump in Search- Engine Generate Visitors with VHT ImageWorks Customer Profile: Shorewest REALTORS Since its origin in 1946, Shorewest REALTORS has always been a family-owned company dedicated to helping other families in Wisconsin. The brokerage has grown from a one-person office in Wauwatosa to 23 sales offices covering a 12-county area. The Shorewest family now includes over 1,300 people as committed to Wisconsin as the day John A. Horning started the company out of his home over 65 years ago. Challenge According to the National Association of REALTORS, 94 percent of home buyers are researching properties online. They typically start their research on major search engines such as Google. Third-party aggregators such as Zillow, Trulia and REALTOR.com take brokersʼ syndicated property listings and have implemented massive search-optimization programs around listings data to achieve top rankings in search engine results. Shorewest was seeking help competing with big aggregators and other real estate sites for site visitors from search engines. The companies goal was getting to the top spot on the list of most popular real estate Websites, and maintaining such a position, in its target geographic market of Milwaukee and southern Wisconsin. Shorewest did not share listings with Zillow. In late 2010/early 2011, it turned off syndication to Trulia and opted out of REALTOR.comʼs Cooperating Broker Connection Program. The brokerage felt listing aggregatorsʼ advertising-based business models werenʼt compatible with its business. It did not want to pay for leads on its own listings and did not want to compete for search engine visitors with its own listings on third-party sites. The brokerage also wanted to utilize its library of property images to strengthen its search engine optimization (SEO) program. Critical Need: Attracting more visitors from search engines to Shorewest.com than any other reale state site Solution: VHT ImageWorks Results: • Significantly increased volume of keywords and search terms associated with Shorewest.com • 50 percent increase in visitors from search engines to Shorewest.com • Improved online experience for visitors to Shorewest.com • More closed sales transactions • Increased commission dollars to agents • No.1 on list of most-visited real estate sites in its target geographic market Joe Horning, President, Shorewest REALTORS: - “We looked at other providers but what they were doing wasn’t as encompassing as VHT ImageWorks. When we saw VHT’s platform, we knew it was what we were looking for and we liked the fact that it’s a turnkey solution.” “Implementing VHT ImageWorks wasn’t labor intensive. It was quick to roll out. And the results we’re getting are exceeding our expectations. I recommend VHT ImageWorks to any broker.” - 9500 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 650 Rosemont, IL 60018 www.VHT.com Kevin@VHT.com 800.790.8687
  29. 29. 9500 W. Bryn Mawr Suite 650 Rosemont, IL 60018 www.VHT.com Kevin@VHT.com 800.790.8687 Solution Shorewest chose VHT ImageWorks because of the platformʼs comprehensive, turnkey approach and the unrivaled online marketing expertise of VHTʼs team. “We were impressed with VHTʼs capabilities. We felt we could trust them as true partners. They were behind us in supporting the brokerage community.” The first digital marketing platform developed for residential real estate brokerages, VHT ImageWorks positioned Shorewest as the original source of its property listings information on the web and significantly increased the volume of keywords and search terms on Shorewest.com. VHT ImageWorks strategically leverages Shorewestʼs visual assets on the web and utilizes cutting-edge SEO techniques to connect the brokerage directly with home buyers researching properties online. The platform offers an improved experience to Shorewest.com visitors by digitally optimizing property photos on the web, creating videos with music and narration, and posting videos on YouTube, DailyMotion and other popular sites. Home buyers are directed to Shorewestʼs listing agents rather than to advertisers. This ensures that Shorewestʼs agents donʼt lose sales opportunities, and that inquiries on listings are being handled by experts. Results Implementation of VHT ImageWorks in November 2010 was quick and required minimal labor on the part of Shorewest. In 2011, on a year-over-year basis, the brokerage experienced a 273 percent average monthly jump in the number of keywords and search terms associated with Shorewest.com. The increase in keywords provided a significant lift in the volume of search engine visitors to Shorewest.com within three months (the time it takes for search engines to index the siteʼs increased volume of keywords). In 2011, search- engine generated traffic to Shorewest.com rose year-over-year by an average of 50 percent on a monthly basis. By comparison, real estate search traffic declined nationally during 2011. • • • • • In May 2011, Shorewest.com rose to the No. 1 spot as the most-visited real estate Website in Milwaukee, ahead of REALTOR.com, Yahoo! Real Estate, Zillow and Trulia, according to Hitwise. The additional visitors to Shorewest.com resulted in an incremental increase of 59 completed sales transactions per month that produced $166,416 in commission dollars per month to Shorewest sales agents. About VHTInc. VHT is a leading provider of digital marketing technology and services to companies offering unique properties, locations and products who need a comprehensive, cost-effective solution for customer acquisition and driving revenue on the web. VHT ImageWorks is an integrated and automated platform that includes a comprehensive array of tools that businesses need to increase site traffic, leverage their visual assets and improve sales conversion. The platform requires minimal effort on clientsʼ part, and has delivered measureable results to industry-leading brands by increasing the volume of visitors from search engines and engaging online visitors with alluring visual presentations of their offering. ImageWorks Start Date Number of Keywords from Seach Engines to Shorewest.com Increase in Unique Visitors From Search Engines to Shorewest.com (2010 vs. 2011) Jan.-’10 Jan.-’11 Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 80% 27% 27% 33% 37% 64% 57% 60% 71% 43% 61% 56% 57% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Feb.-’10 Mar. April May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan.-’11 Feb Mar April May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  30. 30. Call 888.212.4793 | Visit www.Terradatum.com/market-videos Follow facebook.com/terradatum | terradatum@twitter Welcome to Terradatum Market Videos! With video making up 50% of internet activity, Terradatum Market Videos takes the best of both worlds – Market Statistics and Animated Video – to create up-to-date market videos branded to YOUR brokerage that you simply“set and forget”. With our engaging and informative animated videos, you not only increase traffic to your brokerage website, you become THE expert in your market! Share the most recent statistics for Active Inventory, Price Days on Market, Median Listing, Units Sold, and Median Sales Price in EVERY video. You can even specify which key market areas you want to feature. From ZIP Codes to cities to MLS areas, our Market Videos will help drive more traffic to your website! Plus, with our video packages, the price per video is less than the cost of taking your family out to the movies! Scan to watch a sample video: Introducing the Power of Video to Drive Website Traffic

×