Here we go again with another lighthearted look at the content being produced, endorsed or syndicated by property portal companies around the world. Every month my inbox and RSS feed filters get clogged up with the sheer volume of this stuff, so it only seems right to analyse some of it because just about any property portal with a pulse is producing something they want to be shared, linked to or covered in the media.
An upstart property portal company claiming that it is going to "reinvent the YouTube channel for property" is about as squarely in the middle of this column's wheelhouse as anything has ever been, so let's take a look...
The recently-launched British portal has been working hard at its PR and generating a lot of headlines in the industry press, not least because of who its founders are. The idea behind the company's recent TV ad campaign and this tilt at YouTube reinvention is clearly brand recognition and, as Boomin's selection of video host shows, they are especially targeting a younger audience.
The channel's flagship video sees YouTube influencer WillNE and his girlfriend have a look around a mansion in Surrey, commenting on how the other half lives. Looking at the 6 other videos the channel has put out over the last month, millennials gawping at big houses they'll never be able to afford seems to be something of a theme - and to some extent, it seems to be working.
Although a comparison is made difficult here by the fact that no other British property portals are into creating viral YouTube content, it seems that Boomin's channel is doing well enough in terms of views. Between the two Boomin videos they appear in, WillNE and his girlfriend have generated 272k of the channel's 291k views so far. Whether this represents value for money or not depends on how much it costs to have a YouTuber appear in your video and whether the generation targetted by this content is old enough to have enough savings to be realistic home shoppers and not just property portal perusers and voyeurs.
In any case, portal company's moving into viral video content is something that seemed a bit far fetched before but now seems like an inevitability. I'm sure we'll see more of them going down this route in the not too distant future.
There is a theory in politics that to win an election you need a simple, clear message and you need to repeat it over and over and over again at every opportunity. It doesn't matter if you're sick of saying it and journalists are sick of covering it, each voter may only get to hear your slogan once or twice.
Ever since CEO Rich Barton referred to the pandemic-induced desire for people to move house as 'the great reshuffling' on a Zillow Q2 earnings call in August 2020, the company has been trotting the phrase out to the media at every given opportunity. As someone who covers Zillow I am pretty tired of it, as industry insiders who read OMP you may well have read or heard the phrase several times but 'the great reshuffling' may have only trickled down as far as the average American homeowner just the once, and that's the point.
This month, Zillow COO Jeremy Wacksman was on an Axios podcast taking the company line about the housing market for a spin and refuting the idea that the market is in a bubble. He's not the first Zillow exec being wheeled out for media duties recently and he won't be the last to mention reshuffling either.
The French FSBO portal De Particulier A Particulier is seen by many in the industry as the bad guy. The company is playing the good guy this month though after releasing a study into the housing tribulations of a neglected demographic when it comes to property: students. The portal is particularly strong among France's student population a fact which is reflected in a sample size for its report (nearly 15,000) which is much healthier than I suspect many portal reports are based on.
PAP.fr's report (covered here in mysweetimmo.com) delves into student home hunting habits and makes some interesting points around how many students search alone, how many don't have any income and the average budget among students. All of these stats might well be useful to competitors and all of them could have perfectly easily been kept in-house. The good PR, domain authority and the thought-leadership that reports like this generate are clearly worth externalising some marketing demographic data points for, however.
This month there seems to have been a trend among some of the content that property portals around the world are putting their name to. Either giving quotes (in the case of Zameen), giving interviews (in the case of Zillow), giving explanations (in the case of REW) or writing columns (in the case of Lamudi Mexico), CEOs are have been popping up all over my content feeds recently.
Trust is the name of the game here. Human beings trust faces not corporations and having a named person who happens to be the leader, and therefore in the public eye also the embodiment of your brand values, deliver your message either explicitly or implicitly can only be a good idea. Company CEOs are typically a pretty well educated, effusive and engaging group of people who make excellent spokespersons and proxy brand ambassadors.
If you're a property portal company, you're no doubt looking to cultivate a brand that is friendly and trustworthy. If you've got a CEO who's as smooth and (apparently) affable as Rich Barton or as good on camera as Simon Bray is in the video around the launch of REW's new REW.one product, your content and PR people are probably going to want them in front of a camera or microphone as much as possible.
In the content marketing world, it is generally accepted that for most types of content the best day of the week to publish and distribute it is Thursday. At Online Marketplaces we have found this to be the case with our content and have long suspected that the same goes for housing listings as well - Thursday seems to be the day that we drift off onto our phones or to other tabs on our browser.
Our theory seems to have been borne out after a report from Zillow this month found that:
"Homes listed on a Thursday sell faster and are more likely to sell above list price than those listed on any other day of the week"
We knew it!