The Syndication Debate: What a Difference a Week Makes!
I recently posted an introduction to our “Real Estate Syndication Compromise“. Named from the notion that we, as the brokerages, are willing to contribute our content to the syndication sites that end up outranking us, making them the first point where users begin their search, in return for an easy flow from their site to ours when it is that content that the user is looking for.
I was excited to look at the data to see if our strategy yielded any results and while hopeful I did not know what to expect. The results were significant and though only a week has passed the trend is very clear.
On a side note, at the time of writing this, the sample listing from my last post has expired. McGuire’s site reflected this immediately. The major syndication sites still show this as an active property.
So let’s dive into the stats!
Below is a Google Analytics graph showing the overall visits from Syndication Site A to McGuire.com.
You can see a clear spike and continued elevated traffic once the new strategy was implemented. In fact, traffic grew from an average of 100 to 500 weekly visits! Furthermore, bounce rates dropped from an average of 61% to 49%, pages per visit grew by nearly 30% and time on site increased by nearly 10%. Meaning that not only is there significantly more traffic now, but it is also staying longer and diving deeper into McGuire’s site.
When we broke this data down, we found that the new Virtual Tour>Individual Property Website (IPW) link accounted for 25% of the new traffic and that previously we had no traffic at all from this source to McGuire’s IPWs.
We also saw an interesting increase of nearly 100% in entry via the listing detail pages. We would have expected a significant increase to the homepage as an entry point (and we did, from 15 to 200 avg weekly visits) but not to the detail pages. The reason being that the new image, instructing users to visit McGuire.com for more info does not include an embedded link.
This means the typical user has to go to McGuire.com and then search for the property again rather than link directly to it. While this is not the ideal usability approach, we are limited by the syndication site’s constraints and this approach is better than losing the traffic completely, especially when seeing just how significant that traffic is.
With further analysis we concluded that the increase in direct traffic to the listing detail pages was as a result of users making the connection between the image (maybe even the arrow) and the link provided on this syndication site linking directly to the details page (this was a fluke on our part).
Below is a Google Analytics graph showing the overall visits from Syndication Site B to McGuire.com.
There is an even sharper spike resulting from a substantial growth from 40 to 400 avg weekly visits. That’s 10 times the traffic! Prior to the new strategy the traffic from this source was also steadily lower in comparison to source A. Bounce rates are nearly halved from 62% to 32% and time on site increased by nearly 25%.
The underlying reason for this source’s substantial stats and trends differences from the previous source, is the fact that on their listing detail pages your site link is buried at the bottom of the site (and that is quite a scroll away). This is further validated by the fact that property detail landing page traffic from this source has remained the same since implementing the new strategy, while homepage landing page traffic has grown by 2,482% (from 9 to 241 avg weekly visits) from this source.
As a result, we are thinking about optimizing the 3rd image graphic per syndication outlet with custom additional information for the user on how to link directly to the details page (e.g. “Click the link to our full property details page at the bottom of this page”).
It is time to start making our syndication feeds work for us rather than against us!
Are you still leaving this much traffic on the table?