Friday
December 19, 2014

Realtor.com®: New Strategy Will Give Us the Edge

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Realtor.com®: New Strategy Will Give Us the Edge

Realtor.com®’s plan to remove its listings from online real estate aggregators will not give its competitors the advantage, even if they do swoop in and take some of the traffic, the company says. That’s because the traffic that aggregator websites provide is minimal compared to mobile sources, now realtor.com®’s focus.

Move Inc., which operates realtor.com®, announced Wednesday that the site is pulling its listings from MSN Real Estate and other Internet portals, as it shifts focus to beefing up its portfolio of online and offline channels. The company began implementing this strategy some time ago — it ended an agreement to surface its listings on AOL Real Estate last December. Far from hurting, the decision helped drive realtor.com® traffic up. It’s now the industry’s second most-visited site, the company says.

When the news broke of realtor.com®’s move, some online news accounts and commenters questioned whether taking its listings off online portals would allow realtor.com®’s competitors to steal the traffic and further gain the competitive edge. The MSN Real Estate network attracted 5.1 million unique visitors in March, according to comScore. AOL Real Estate was the ninth most-visited real estate site from desktop computers in January, according to Experian Marketing Services, and Zillow began to power its listings as soon as its agreement with realtor.com® ended.

But Barbara O’Connor, chief marketing operator of Move, says mobile sources of traffic are far more reliable than online portals.

“We constantly optimize new acquisition approaches to maintain a portfolio of integrated marketing channels that efficiently and effectively drive traffic to realtor.com®,” O’Connor tells REALTOR® Magazine. “As a result, we’re now focused on other sources that perform better than some prior aggregator websites. Given the enormous growth of mobile users, mobile acquisition is becoming a larger part of our strategy.”

She shrugged off the notion that realtor.com® could be in trouble if competitors seize the traffic it is giving up from online portals.

“Our focus is achieving our goals and metrics — not what others are doing,” O’Connor says. “Our strategy has already proven successful by pushing us to the industry’s No. 2 spot for unique users in March.” 

Nearly 60 percent of realtor.com®’s listing views each month come from mobile users, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Mobile users also spend more time reviewing listings and photos in a single session than desktop users, which indicates that mobile users are more ready to buy or sell, the company added.

“The growing popularity of searching real estate listings across mobile platforms, coupled with the success of our brand and social marketing campaigns, has proven to be the most effective and efficient way to attract transaction-ready consumers to our services,” O’Connor said in the statement.

—By Graham Wood, REALTOR® Magazine

Read more:

Realtor.com®: Change Is Here
NAR, Realtor.com® Team Up to Launch Mega-Campaign
The Case for a REALTOR® to Lead Realtor.com®