The Google Adplanner service allows advertisers more information on popular websites including demographic and traffic information. Now whilst I don’t want to advertise on any of these sites we can still use the information to compare the portals and major brands in our industry and the results throw up some predictable and not so predictable results at the same time.
This article will feature a focus on Portals but the followup article will focus on the major real estate groups.
Real Estate Portals
In Australia there really is three levels of portals based upon traffic levels. Tier 1 includes Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au. Tier 2 includes Realestateview.com.au, Homehound.com.au and Myhome.com.au. The last tier covers everybody else.
When you start looking at the results of the top two portals against the rest a few things really stands out . Both Domain and Realestate.com.au are far superior across all metrics but of particular note is the pages per visit and time on site statistics.
The clearest way to demonstrate this difference is by comparing the time visitors spend on each site. This really ignores traffic counts and looks at how each site engages the visitor and keeps them on the site. Generally the longer a session time the better. Visitors to Realestate.com.au spend nearly 16:20 on the site every visit in comparison to the industry sponsored Realestateview which can only manage to hang on to visitors for 7:50 .
Another metric that really shows the difference between the top two tiers is the number of visits each visitor has to the site. With Realestate.com.au the average visitors returns 8.5 times against Realestateview.com.au just under 4 times. This shows the effectiveness of the email alerts, property brochures and the general desire for visitors to return to continue their property search.
Google’s statistics also confirms that the Property Seeker stats trotted out by RealEstate.com.au are totally exaggerated but we all knew that didn’t we?. We have already discussed this a number of times but Google stats show the relationship between real people and unique visitors based on cookies is about 4:10 which means their claims of reaching as many as 6 million “Property Seekers is out by nearly 4 million. I guess if you are going to exaggerate you might as well do it with some gusto.
The last thing that really stands out between the top two tiers is their audience demographic. All portals have a predominant female audience but both Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au attract significantly higher levels (both at 43%) of males as a percentage of total visitors whereas the second tier all have just 38% of all visitor males.
Despite their similarities there are still significant differences between realestate.com.au and domain. Domain.com.au’s audience is not only better educated but also has significantly higher household income.
Despite keeping visitors longer and having them return more often the trend for 2010 is not a great one for the Tier 1 portals. Realestateview.com.au , Homehound.com.au and Myhome.com.au have all made significant increases in their traffic over in 2010 whilst Domain has stayed fairly stable and Realestate.com.au has dropped back significantly.
This loss in traffic started with the new site but has since stabilised. Overall though REA has dropped more monthly traffic from their peak in 2010 than all the Tier 2 Portals combined. Despite significant gains by the tier 2 portals percentage wise realestate.com.au is that far out in front that the gap seems hardly dented. The real damage will be caused if the trend continues and if it does it will make some people very nervous at REA as they have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
At the top of the article the total reach against all Australian internet users for each site was looked at. When you filter the audience down to those who are looking for real estate on the net the market reach becomes far more impressive.
What is incredible here is that homehound and realestateview.com.au are really closing in on Domain as far as market reach is concerned. With realestateview.com.au recently purchasing myhome.com.au they can start putting pressure on myhome if the can add their traffic to the mix and not lose it. Realestateview.com.au will also need to find out what they are doing wrong with session times, make their site more sticky and increase visitor loyalty.
So no matter what metric you use Realestate.com.au is by far the number 1 portal in Australia. It gets more traffic, more repeat business and is more engaging than any of its competition. So why they try and fake their Property Seeker stats is beyond me.
(edit: Had to fix up the Domain Education graph as it was pointing to the REA one)