[DRAFT] Portals' Use of Data in Content

January 1, 1970
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It seems that no self-respecting modern-day property portal company in a mature market would be without some similar sort of index, report or other use of data to draw in users and generate headlines.

Earlier this month I wrote about the British property portal website OnTheMarket's imminent launch of its Property Sentiment Index which will survey the site's users to generate insights into the British property market.

This got us wondering what the most common uses of data in their content are among these real estate portal companies. So instead of this month's Best (and Worst) of Portal Content column, we analysed the use of data in the content of 25 property portals from around the world.


What types of data do portals use to generate content?

We found that the most common type of content that property portals use to generate content is, unsurprisingly, price data which is much easier to collect, standardise, analyse and present than most other types of data.

These real estate marketplace websites are naturally the place that consumers come to satisfy their informational needs around housing market prices and they naturally have an abundance of this data with which to do it.

Another type of data that we found to be a common basis for content among property portal companies was information around listings volumes.

In many cases, the precise number of listings is not given but used as a relative indicator to show the change over time - no need to let your rivals know how many listings you have unless you absolutely have to.

Less common, but usually very interesting is the use of behavioural data related to how the portal's users have been searching on the website.

Showing, for example, your agent customers, what your portal's users have been searching for and how this demand has changed over time is a win-win situation whereby you look like the good guy and your customers focus on the type of inventory that's most popular among your users.

The least common type of data -perhaps because portals don't just automatically collect it- is opinion data. Typically collected via a survey of users on the portal's website there are only a handful of portal companies that collect this type of data and produce regular content around it.

OnTheMarket knows this and has deliberately gone down the sentiment via survey route to differentiate itself from market competitors Rightmove and Zoopla (which both use proprietary house price and listings data to do something similar).


What formats do portals use for the content they create around their data?


January 1, 1970
Edmund got to know the world of portals and marketplaces working at Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect after the buyout in 2018). He worked directly with hundreds of portals across the world in his role in the content department for three and a half years before transferring to the SEO department to understand the inner workings of listings sites. He joined Online Marketplaces as Head of Content in March 2020.

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