Anyone in advertising will tell you that is in important to track where your leads are coming from- a task that is sometimes easier said then done. ListHub recently commissioned a white paper to try to tackly this task,and figure out which web channels they distribute to, are providing the best results.
In case you aren't familiar with ListHub, they offer a service that will syndicate your listings for free to approximately 21 various Internet sites. They work with over 110 MLSs and have about 65% MLS market coverage. It is a great service to their clients that they put this report together, as it helps them better understand which sites are working the best. This is good to know if you are going to spend addition marketing dollars online.
The full report can be found here. If you are affliated with a MLS, it is a must read. The Northern Nevada Regional MLS was used for the case study. If you are an agent, the results section of the study are of particular interest. Here are the highlights:
First they looked at where traffic for the NNRMLS's 8700 listings was coming from.
Then, from this traffic, they looked at who actually turned into a lead for the listing source.
Big props to Yahoo! for taking top honors in both measurements.
From my perspective as a Zillow employee, these numbers line right up with what I hear from Brokers and Agents, regarding the spread between the number of clicks we generate (12%, ranked 4th) and the number of leads we send (21%, ranked 2nd). The survey says, “It was interesting to note that Zillow’s lead conversion numbers are proportionally higher relative to their referring traffic volume. Not all traffic is the same; some sites attract customers who are closer to making an actual purchase.”
I believe a lot of this has to do with how much content is presented on a site. For example, on Trulia there is minimal information presented and only one main photo, you need to click over to see the rest of the listing details. So of course they are going to drive more traffic, but the quality can be lower.
Conversely, Zillow has very rich content on the site- up to 50 photos per listing. So while we may send less clicks, when the person clicks over, they quite possibly are further along in the shopping process.
DavidG does further analysis on the numbers saying: "By dividing the second metric by the first, it’s possible to calculate the relative ratio of leads per visit for each site. With that ratio, you can compare the relative value of traffic referred by each site on a conversion rate basis. Only Yahoo! comes close to referring traffic that converts as well as traffic from Zillow does - at 71% of Zillow’s rate. That’s far better than average. For all other sites combined, referred traffic converts at a dismal 40% of the conversion rate of traffic from Zillow. And some sites faired even worse. Trulia, for example, would have had to refer 5 times as much traffic as Zillow to generate the same amount of leads (they didn’t.)".
If you are not syndicating your listings, you are definitely missing out on some exposure opportunities. ListHub has a great product to help you gain this additional reach and quite possibly save you some time if you are manually entering listings today. And now, their current clients have a better understanding of just how their product is performing, very helpful in building an online marketing campaign.