I know I may appear to be constantly bemoaning the decisions (or lack of decisions) made by Realestate.co.nz, but the latest decision notified by the CEO in an email today, to my mind is not smart.
The decision they plan to make effective from the 5th August is to stop displaying the count of page views on individual listings, and instead only report the metric they term ‘reach’.
Let me be clear as to what these metrics mean, where they are displayed and why they are important. Take as an example this local listing seen in the screen shot below. On Trade Me after 24 days on the market this property has been viewed 3,625 times and on Realestate.co.nz a total of 1,721 times. This common metric to both sites is the number of page views, the number of time a person has viewed the listing, that is the full listing page on either the desktop / mobile browser or on the mobile app.
This metric is vital; not so much in comparing the relative number of page views between Trade Me and Realestate.co.nz, but in comparing differing listings in the same suburb to identify relative interest for a property on the two websites. I often provide advice to vendors by comparing their performance of page views on Realestate.co.nz after 21 day to the average of all listings in the same suburb, this way I am able to demonstrate the value of the marketing campaign they are paying for.
This here is the announcement Realestate.co.nz made today via an email to agents:
So Realestate.co.nz will allow the listing agent to view the count of page views but not display this metric openly on the site. Instead they want to focus on the metric they call reach. To be clear Reach is the sum total of listing page views and search result views. This latter metric is the number of times the listing appears on a screen on any web pages. So if the listing is displayed as a showcase listing it will appear at the top of a search result page and if the user scrolls down and it is displayed in the search results, both of those ‘displayed listings’ will count towards search views and add to the total of reach despite the fact that the user may not have any interest in the property. Reach is simply a measure of how effective Realestate.co.nz is in displaying listings and bears no relevance to how engaging a listing is.
So going back to the above example Realestate.co.nz propose to state that after 24 days this listing has had a reach of 7,793 - made up of 1,721 page views of the listing and 6,072 times the listing summary has appeared in search result pages.
I recognise that in someways there is a correlation between reach and page views but why change. Listing page views have been the metric on Realestate.co.nz and similarly on Trade Me for over 13 years and is recognised and accepted by the industry and the consumer. Reach is such a meaningless metric akin to counting the number of people who walk past a shop rather than the number of people who come inside.
There is only one reason I believe that this action is being taken (in my opinion) and that is a naive fear that the page views on Realestate.co.nz are lower than Trade Me and therefore the use of obfuscation in creating a new metric which is larger, will in some way make Realestate.co.nz seem more valuable. This is dumb - everyone knows Trade Me delivers a larger audience than Realestate.co.nz and has always done so, this fact has not stopped the industry and the consumer seeing value in Realestate.co.nz and supporting it over the years. I have to wonder did anyone at Realestate.co.nz speak to their customers and ask how they used this metric of page views and if they found any value in the metric of reach? - i think not and that is why I have highlighted this issue.
I implore the team at Realestate.co.nz to re-think this decision. If this is the best initiative they can think of to implement after years of inactivity and poorly executed product development, they I fear that their relevance to this industry (consumers and customer) is fast diminishing and the competitive threat of OneRoof will likely sweep them aside.