The good and the bad of realtor.com

by THE WAV GROUP on October 16, 2007

I consult with a broker client who pays $20,000 to Realtor.com for listing enhancements.

We have tracked the value of these over a period of 4 weeks to view the relative value.

There is a comon misconception in online advertising that I would like to unveil.



Just becasue a website is popular – like Google is the most popular search engine, or Realtor.com is the most popular real estate website – does not mean at it is the best for your business.

My Client has 400+ listings at Realtor.com and gets 28 visitors a week from that site,  7 visitors come from adimages.homestore.com, 2 from aol-homes.realtor.com

In other words – all of these efforts are providing minimal results.  The total traffic average on a weekly basis is 37.

The client is paying ($20,000/52) $384.62 per week of advertising at realtor.com to generate 37 visitors (384.62/37) or $10.40 per visitor.  The same number of visitors from google would average about $1 per visitor or $37 total.

Economics of the story – Realtor.com traffic comes at a premium 1000 times more expensive than google with a cost per click of $1.  Is it worth it?  Add this consideration – I would also expect that much of that traffic comes from Agents and Sellers testing Realtor.com – in other words, some portion of that traffic is likely to be “false positive” or not real consumers looking to buy a home.

There are a few website companies that track conversion – the one that I am most familiar with is Wolfnet – they estimate from their internal research that for every 500 visitors, you will get 10 leads (calls, e-mails or registered users) and 1 sale.

Applying these conversion rates, you should sell a home from Realtor.com traffic every 13 1/2 weeks and the realtor.com marketing cost for the sale would be just over $5197.

This same client also puts thier listings on Google Base and Trulia and gets less than 1 visitor per week from those efforts.

When I reveiwed this with the client – the response was – “Oh well, sellers make me do it.”

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