Posts Tagged as Google Analytics

How Facebook is Cornering the Property Market

Facebook has more than 1.31 billion active users. According to NAR (the National Association of Realtors), 90.5% of real estate agents and brokers use social media to some extent. In a study of traffic sources conducted by Properties Online, using Google Analytics, single property websites received the most referrals (50%!) from Facebook.

Changes to Craigslist in late 2013 mean that referral traffic from the site can no longer be measured. This gives Facebook a boost in ratings, so to speak. And the social networking giant is doing all it can to maintain its place at the top.

Twitter has been growing, but hasn’t had the impact on real estate professionals that Facebook has. Still, at more than 645 million users, the social media site is a significant force, with a lot of potential. One problem for real estate listings is that Twitter is home to A LOT of information. Tweets can easily get lost and end up unseen. But there is something to the platform – something that has had Facebook on alert for a long time.

You may have noticed the subtle integration of some of Twitter’s features into Facebook this year. Actually, just before the New Year, Facebook began by renaming its ‘subscribe’ and ‘hide all’ options with ‘follow’ and ‘unfollow.’ Facebook is using an algorithm—based on your usage—that then controls the content that appears in your newsfeed.

Another Twitter-ish update was the move to ranking link posts from publishers higher in the newsfeed. This seemingly small change led to big things for Facebook, with publisher content referral traffic from Facebook rising 50%, to account for over 15% of all social referrals. At the same time, mind you, Twitter referrals decreased four percent.

Now, as we know, Facebook is great for sharing photos and videos (and this is great for real estate professionals). But Facebook saw Twitter’s edge when it came to user-generated content and changed its algorithm to rank text-only status updates from users higher in the newsfeed. Their research showed them that users respond positively to these types of updates, and that they prompt more of the same. So, that that and run with it – share your thoughts about a listing, the market, anything of interest, with your Facebook followers.

Facebook may never replace Twitter when it comes to real-time news, but it doesn’t need to. And while a full-blown social media presence is great, if you can pull it off, you don’t need that, either. Facebook is a fantastic option for busy real estate professionals, and it’s gotten even better in 2014.

 

4 Key Features of Effective Real Estate Sites

There are 4 key features of effective real estate sites that every agent should start with.

Creating a real estate site is an important step in establishing yourself as a savvy, experienced real estate professional that can add lots of value to their clients. But not all real estate sites are created equal. There are 4 key features of effective real estate sites that every agent should start with.

To be truly effective, a real estate site should include the following features:

1. An effective agent site should be optimized for Search Engines
To make the most of search engine traffic, you need to have control over your meta tags. Ideally, the company who hosts your website should submit it to major search engines to make sure it is indexed quickly and properly.

2. An effective real estate website should include built-in social networking tools
These tools enable you, and your website visitors, to easily add your website to social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. The best websites also enable you to build widgets that get automatically updated whenever you add or remove a listing. These widgets can be posted to social media outlets including a blog if you have one.

3. An effective agent site should include real-time lead alerts
Immediate follow up on website visits is extremely important. The best agent websites include tools that send your website leads, in real time, to your text enabled cell phone.

4. An effective real estate site gives you easy access to the website’s statistics
Websites are live creatures that require constant tweaking and monitoring. But the only way you can improve your website’s performance and its appeal to prospects is by having access to statistics that show you how people behave on your site. Quality agent sites include live stats that allow you to track where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your site. This enables you to tell if a marketing campaign is working.

In addition, your agent site should have a built-in Google Analytics tool that enables you to easily install Google Analytics on your website. This is an invaluable tool that can provide you with lots of info on your site’s performance.

Remember: it’s not enough to have an agent website. Make sure you sign up with a company that provides high quality, professional looking, effective websites.

Understanding Traffic to Your Property Website

Getting traffic to your property websites is step one. Understanding where that traffic comes from is a VERY important step two.

Getting traffic to your property websites is step one. Understanding where that traffic comes from is a VERY important step two. Traffic = visitors. Visitors = potential leads and clients. Understanding traffic to your property website is crucial.

Analyzing your website traffic is about more than counting your weekly or monthly visitor numbers. You should also review live statistics that tell you where your visitors are coming from. How are these visitors finding your property website, and where are they coming from? How can you maximize these visits and convert them into home buyer or home seller clients?

 property-website-traffic-report

[CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER VERSION]

The most recent statistical data from Properties Online [see graphic] tells us some very interesting and important things. We have compiled the traffic statistics from ALL Listings Unlimited and Listing Domains single property sites and found that:

  • 44% of traffic is direct traffic, meaning these visitors have gone directly to your site by typing in the URL. This includes both sign rider and word-of-mouth traffic.
  • 28% of traffic is referral traffic, and this is an important one to watch. Facebook currently refers HALF of all referral traffic to single property websites. Social media should be an important part of your real estate marketing plan.
  • Most visitors (56.8%) view your single property websites on their desktop computer, but growing numbers (28.7% and 14.5%, respectively) use their mobile phones or tablets.
  • It’s easy to increase your traffic. Property websites with Top Level Domain (555AnySt.com) AND sign rider drive 5 TIMES more traffic than those without.

It’s in your best interest to:

1. Promote all your listings through single property websites

2. Make sure your websites are optimized for mobile (here’s a hint and some reassurance: if you’re using Listings Unlimited, they are

3. Use Top Level Domains AND custom sign riders

4. Be involved in social media – start with a Facebook Business Page

5. Make use of the automated Facebook App, free with every Listings Unlimited site

Questions to ask:

  • Who are my visitors?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Where do they land?
  • How long do they stay?
  • Which referring sites send the most traffic my way?
  • How to custom sign riders and top level domain names affect my traffic?
  • What are the most popular pages on my site?
  • How many repeat visitors does my site receive?
  • How often are pages on my site shared (this can be viewed at a glance with social sharing buttons installed)?\

Once you start to do a little digging and applying, you’ll probably find your websites statistics fascinating. You’ll be able to compare your stats to the compiled stats we found, and look at ways to improve your individual site’s traffic. We’re good at that, so feel free to ask for help.

Measuring the Success of Your Real Estate Marketing Plan

Whether you’re marketing your real estate business online or by more traditional means, you need to be able to track the success or shortcomings of your efforts. The likelihood is that you’re using a bit of both, which is wise. Tracking your marketing efforts will save you money in the long run AND make you money in the long run. Read on to find out more about measuring the success of your real estate marketing plan.

Imagine if you could discover that 87% of your clients found you online, 65% through individual property websites, 18% through Facebook, etc. And that you could further see how those visitors ended up on your Facebook Business Page or individual property sites, or your blog, or agent website. Imagine how smart you could be about where you choose to invest your marketing money, and how you target new home sellers and buyers? Measure and analyzing your marketing plan allows you to do just that. It’s invaluable.

Traditional/Offline & Online Marketing Techniques

Keep careful records of your marketing endeavors. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A simple Excel spreadsheet that includes a list of your campaigns, the dates they ran, the cost involved, and the number of leads generated or listings sold will give you a quick and easy reference point for smart marketing decision making.

Using Google Analytics, it’s easy to see where your internet traffic comes from. So even if you list a house in the newspaper, for instance, you can use designated domains and landing pages specific to each listing or media type, to see which advertising areas draw the most interest and traffic. This is much like the “How did you hear about us?” tick box, except it’s automatic and unavoidable. You’ll need to set up unique URLs from the start, and include those with each print listing. These URLs are subpages of your main site – either your agent site or an individual property website.

Speaking of that tick box, don’t lose sight of how important it is to ask new clients how they heard about you. Every time. Cross reference the information you receive verbally with what you discover through web analytics.

If you have a significant listing that you expect to generate a ton of interest, you may consider call tracking. This involves either your phone service provider or a call tracking service provider. Each advertisement (different websites, lawn signs, radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, etc.) would be designated a different phone number. You can measure the success via number and quality of phone enquiries, by examining an itemized report of which numbers were called, at what times and from where.

Maximize your marketing spend and efforts by reinvesting in what works, and eliminating what doesn’t. Educating yourself about which is which is an invaluable business skill.

Measuring the Success of Your Social Media Efforts

Before you can accurately and effectively track the success or failure of your social media efforts, you have to start by knowing your objectives. What is it you hope to achieve by putting your real estate brand on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, a blog, YouTube and the like? To measure success, you need a goal. Measuring the success of your social media efforts is crucial. After all, free isn’t free if you’re wasting your valuable time.

Are you looking to increase traffic or something more specific? It’s a good idea to establish what a conversion is – is it a phone call, an email, a referral? Is it a new client? A home sale? Measuring your results takes understanding what it is you’re trying to measure.

Quantifying online connections is the easy part, but it’s only the first step. How that engagement affects your ability to generate leads is what ultimately matters. Internet driven marketing provides real opportunities for understanding, tweaking and perfecting your real estate brand marketing strategy. Social media provides the platform – for marketing and advertising, as well as customer service and retention.

Two of Your Best Friends are Free

When it comes to tracking and measuring the impact social media has on your bottom line, two of the best tools in your belt are free – Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.

Google is constantly tweaking and perfecting its social tracking tools, and you will find increasingly great ways of measuring your social media KPIs through Google Analytics. The Social Traffic Report will expose how traffic coming in from different social media sites are converting along the lines of average time on site, page views, and goal or ecommerce conversions.

Google’s URL Builder can help you identify which social media interactions generate the most traffic. You can also measure the impact of social media on your site’s SEO by correlating social media referral traffic with changes in the volume and quality of organic search traffic. This valuable insight can help you make significant adjustments to you content and strategy.

The internal suite of analytics tools offered by Facebook will help you better understand who “Likes” your brand and how they engage with it. You can access a breakdown of user and geographic demographics to see, at a glance, if you’re reaching your target market.

Returning to Google for a moment, setting up Google Alerts can be a great way to see if anyone else picked up your post or promotion. It can also introduce you to competition you weren’t aware of, which is always useful.