The figurehead of the agent-lead Say No To Rightmove movement in the UK Rob Sargent has used a column in Property Industry Eye to remind agents of the power they have as kingmakers in the portal industry. Sargent’s column highlights three things agents can do to strengthen the #3 majority agent-owned portal: invest in OnTheMarket and become shareholders, support the portal’s ‘new and exclusive’ feature by posting listings on OTM before other portals, and increasing the length of time they post new listings on OTM before posting to Rightmove and Zoopla.
As the leader of the anti-Rightmove movement, Sargent has been front and centre in the so-called ‘UK portal wars’ throughout 2020 as he has backed newcomer Boomin, signed up as a paying member of Homesearch, re-signed with Zoopla and been forced to deny collusion with Rightmove rivals.
For its part, OnTheMarket seems to be about to embark on a change of marketing strategy after a trading statement on Tuesday revealed that the portal has had to cut its marketing significantly from £6.6 million to £2.2 million. This morning, acting CEO Clive Beattie admitted that his portal needed to focus on brand awareness to be able to compete with incumbents Zoopla and Rightmove.
“Obviously there’s more we need to do on brand awareness and there’s a high recognition of Rightmove and Zoopla because they’ve been operating for so long, but many more people have downloaded our app and are aware of the New & Exclusive feature”
In an interview with Estate Agent Today, Beattie revealed that OnTheMarket would be focussing more on social media in its marketing efforts:
“We’re going to be analysing more data and using social media to make greater impact on consumer engagement, but clearly many more people now know who we are.”