OTM attracts more members but traffic dispute continues

first_imgHome » News » OTM attracts more members but traffic dispute continues previous nextProducts & ServicesOTM attracts more members but traffic dispute continuesOnTheMarket.com says traffic levels are growing, but Zoopla accuses the portal of ‘charging today on a promise of tomorrow.’PROPERTYdrum20th March 20150593 Views OnTheMarket.com (OTM) announces that it has now attracted more than two million unique users to its website since launched in late January 2015, but data from Hitwise claims that OTM has got off to a much slower start, while research by Home.co.uk suggests that it still ‘has a mountain to climb’ to overtake Zoopla as the second largest website in the property portal market.Ian Springett (left), Chief Executive of OTM, insists that it “can no longer be questioned” that OTM is now a major property portal as traffic levels to the website continue to grow. He also pointed out that the portal is providing “high quality leads” for its member agents “day in, day out”, which partly explains why it now has close to 5,000 contracted offices – 90 per cent of which have chosen to leave Zoopla, according to Springett.“We are confident in becoming the number two portal within a year to replace Zoopla/PrimeLocation,” said Springett. “We have more than 4,800 contracted offices – 90 per cent of which have chosen to leave Zoopla – and are growing in size as the impact of our multi-million pound advertising campaign hits home and our reputation as a cleaner, fresher and faster property website becomes firmly established.”But despite Springett’s optimism and the positive figures published by OTM, independent data for the month of February, published by Hitwise, show that daily visits to OTM averaged under 38,000 per day compared with over 1.25 million per day for Zoopla Property Group (ZPG) and 2.4 million per day for Rightmove (RMV).Hitwise figures also reveal that OTM’s audience size in February was less than 3 per cent of Zoopla’s and only 1.5 per cent of Rightmove’s and the market share for each of the portals as a percentage of all UK property internet traffic was 0.63 per cent for OTM versus 21.3 per cent for Zoopla and 40 per cent for Rightmove.However, Ian Springett doesn’t accept Zoopla’s version of the state of play, “The figures being quoted by Zoopla Property Group with regard to traffic levels at OnTheMarket.com are wildly inaccurate. We stand by every figure we have previously stated and there is no question that less than six weeks after our launch, on March 6 and 7, we passed the mark of two million unique visitors to the website. We reiterate that we are confident in becoming the number two portal within a year.“It is unsurprising that Zoopla has chosen to distribute these figures following the heavy losses it has suffered as a result of our presence in the portals market. We have more than 4,800 contracted offices, around 90 per cent have chosen to leave Zoopla/PrimeLocation. In September, Zoopla was claiming on its website to have more than 1.1M houses and flats for sale and to rent across the UK. Searching properties for sale and to rent in England, Wales and Scotland on Zoopla.co.uk shows that this number has reduced to just over 630,000 as at 27th February.“The latest inaccurate traffic figures are nothing more than a weak attempt by Zoopla to intimidate agents who have chosen to remove all of their properties and their corresponding advertising expenditure from them to list with OnTheMarket.com.The latest data for March also shows that ZPG’s audience has so far been largely unaffected by the launch of OTM, with Zoopla reporting that it actually experienced record traffic last Monday with more visits in a single day than OTM’s total visits for the entire month of February, according to Hitwise.ZPG’s Lawrence Hall (right) claims that these figures highlight that OTM is currently a very expensive proposition for its members, especially when taking its ‘one other’ rule into consideration, which prohibits member agents from listing on both of the top two leading portals, Zoopla and Rightmove.“OTM members are today paying 30 to 40 times more than they should be for their digital marketing whilst offering substantially less exposure to their clients, so they are being disadvantaged both competitively and financially,” said Hall.He continued, “Portals are no different from any other marketing channel that must deliver an audience to its advertisers and charge accordingly. If OTM was charging based on their audience, building traffic fast might be a less urgent priority. However, given that they are charging today on a promise for tomorrow, it is hard to see how sustainable it is to continue to force their members to spend more and get far less, effectively achieving the exact opposite of their stated aim of improving the portal value proposition.”Separate research conducted by the property search engine, Home.co.uk, claims that OTM is currently ranked fifth in the portal market – based on agent sales office data – behind Rightmove, Zoopla, Primelocation and Mouseprice, and just ahead of sixth-placed Nethouseprices.The figures also show that the day after OTM’s January 26 launch, Zoopla was used by 10,712 agency offices. But, by March 10, this had fallen to 9,072.Meanwhile, over the same period, the number of agents using Rightmove barely moved, with its January 27’s tally of 12,850 falling by just 138 to 12,712.Looking further back, the figures show that many of those who jumped ship from Zoopla did so before OTM’s launch.On December 15, Zoopla had 12,218 agents, which means the portal has suffered an exodus of 3,146 agents over the last three months. Over the same period, Rightmove lost just 144 agents.Ian Springett says that agents are happy with OTM’s progress, “We have been told by many member agents that having removed their properties from their less effective portal, it has become obvious just how many leads were previously duplicated and leaving Zoopla has had no impact on their business. It was and continues to be the choice of our member agents to decide from which portal to remove their listings. Many have joined OnTheMarket.com because it provides a better environment in which to bring their clients’ properties to market, without the unhelpful and potentially misleading additional information included by Zoopla on its full details pages nor the intrusive advertising for unrelated products and services which can distract users from the property being advertised.“Ultimately, the property-seeking public and the agents themselves will decide over time which portals deliver the most value.“It is over the longer term that OnTheMarket.com aims to reduce portal fees for agents. By restraining and eventually reversing the current rise in fees, this will create more potential head room for agents to compete more effectively, whether on price or service quality, which will benefit their clients and the property-seeking public in the long term.”However, based on the latest evidence, OTM looks a long way from its aim of breaking into the top two at the expense of Zoopla, according to Home.co.uk Director, Doug Shephard (left).He said, “OTM was recently launched with the purpose of breaking a perceived duopoly in online property advertising, namely Rightmove and Zoopla, although there are in fact many more true portals helping sell properties on the web, such as Mouseprice, Primelocation, Nethouseprices, MyHomesUnlimited and WhatHouse.“It’s not just bad news for Zoopla and several other portals. It’s bad news for the consumer too. Around 3,000 agencies now have a much reduced advertising reach for their clients’ properties. Vendors must be concerned that insufficient market exposure could cost them both time and money.”Meanwhile, Zoopla Property Group has reported that it has seen a 300 per cent conversion rate increase when listing properties by ‘travel time’, a platform that is accessible on mobile as well as desktop browsers, covering all of the group’s properties across the UK.Since May 1 2014 visitors to Zoopla and PrimeLocation have been able to search for properties based on their desired travel time to a point of interest such as a workplace. This week the success of the technology was announced, with the group reporting a sharp increase in conversion rates compared to a distance based search. A conversion is calculated as a house hunter contacting the agent.Matt Cohan (left), Chief Product Officer for ZPG, said, “We’re pleased to announce that our travel time tool has achieved an impressive 300% increase in conversions. We believe that because the results are more relevant the quality of leads we pass to our members is higher. We’re delighted that the tools and services we provide our consumers can deliver such commercial benefits to our members.”Home.co.uk OnTheMarket.com property portal Zoopla ZPG March 20, 2015The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021last_img read more