Property portals know that their success depends to a large extent on the strength of their brand. It's not enough to simply have more inventory or just have a narrowly better user experience than your competitor. Being 'top of mind' and top of Google's search results is everything, and every piece of advice gleaned from occasional missives from the search giant for the last few years have all hinted that big brands need to build trust by showing why they are a relevant source of information.
Releasing the numbers they collect and positioning employees as housing experts makes perfect sense for property portals but, as we've seen in previous editions of this feature, doing that is the bare minimum for portals these days. For a property portal brand to truly enter a national zeitgeist (as Zillow proved it has), it needs to be almost omnipresent in the media. The way some companies are going about this is fascinating...
In Online Marketplaces' adopted home city of Madrid, the regional elections are almost upon us and are being hotly contested. One of the big bones of contention among the 6 parties disputing the elections is that of housing. Adevinta-owned Fotocasa is taking advantage of housing being at the top of political agendas in the region in a big way.
Why it made the list this month: A press release was circulated to journalists along with a blog post this month saying that the property portal would not only be sponsoring a debate among the six main political parties but indeed was organizing it and broadcasting it on its YouTube channel. Perhaps the portal is making the most of its new appointment of ex TV News Anchor María Matos. This is the first time, that we know of, a property portal has not only sponsored but created and broadcast political content.
For anyone interested in the debate, it's being broadcast on Fotocasa's YouTube channel tomorrow (27th of April at 12:00 local time).
The Madrid elections are really causing a stir in the housing market. Fotocasa wasn't the only portal company to release some interesting content that caught our eye this month...
Why it made the list this month: Portals are now overtly political and are even fact-checking politicians in blog posts. When Pablo Iglesias (leader of the left-wing Podemos party) claimed that rent prices in Madrid have risen 57% in the last five years, idealista countered the claim with its own data suggesting that the figure was 23% for the city and 33% for the region.
The fact that a property portal run by very rich people might be against left-wing housing proposals is not really a surprise, but being openly political on a company account is a rare thing.
Mexico is a good example of a market where portal companies have started to dedicate resources to content creation but also a good example of one whose incumbent property portals have yet to really reach the levels of more developed markets when it comes to execution and use of data. Navent-owned Inmuebles24 is one of two leading portals in the country and has its own news section filled with advice articles and articles about the houses of celebrities among other things. For now, content built around data is slightly more hard to come by on the site.
Why it made the list this month: Inmuebles24 deserves some praise for trying to build out some content backed by numbers. This month the portal carried out a questionnaire of its users which asked if they were looking to move house, and if so, what were the reasons behind their decision. Articles from the portal's news section are often picked up by Mexican real estate publication CentroUrbano, and in this case the online magazine latched onto the results of Inmuebles24's questionnaire and wrote it up with the anodyne headline "A questionnaire revales that most people are planning to move".
Unfortunately, aside from the glaring issue around asking people who are on a property portal if they are looking to move house, there was no mention of the number of people surveyed and an infographic that was too small for anyone to see. The version of the article on Inmuebles24's own site was not much better and was pretty tough to find either in Google's results and on the site itself. Gathering data and making infographics are great, but the rest of the content process needs some work.
The Aussie market leader has been praised in this column several times and is now firmly establishing its content as the gold standard for property portals around the world. Always well researched and excellently presented, other content departments are bound to be taking note.
Why it made the list this month: Realestate.com.au's blog posts have always been well written and backed up by well-presented data, but now many of them are featuring a video commentary from the REA Insights' Editor John Healy complete with TV level background production. Two excellent examples published this month include this report on prices in student areas and this one around price increases in out-of-town suburban areas.
OnTheMarket has a long way to go to unseat the two incumbents at the top of the ladder in the world of British portals. Refreshingly, the company's new CEO knows this and is not afraid to admit it in an interview.
Why it made the list this month: Having a well-known, friendly, independent interviewer ask you some tough questions to which you give honest answers just seems like a good idea for any business, especially one whose customers might be starting to doubt its credentials in the wake of new market entrants. Jason Tebb came across as an enthusiastic, honest and, most importantly, agent-friendly portal boss in an engaging interview with well known UK industry figure Peter Knight this month. Other portal PR departments would do well to suggest a similar strategy.
The content marketing strategy was just right as the video was designed specifically for agent customers to see rather than the general YouTube frequenting public and the tone set by the interviewer and interviewee found the balance between friendly and examining.
Wondering where we get to see all this content produced by property portals around the world? It's all on our regional property portal Twitter lists which you can follow via the links below: