Challenger portal OnTheMarket is “not attracting a meaningful audience or engaging with its users” and so is likely to fail according to eMoov chief executive Russell Quirk.
The online estate agency chief says portals are media businesses to which agents will pay money only if there is a consistent high volume audience to which properties are given exposure and then generate leads.
“Without an engaged audience there is no value in the agent being there” says Quirk in an opinion-piece contribution to the Industry Views section of Estate Agent Today.
He then sets out six measures that he claims indicate OTM may be failing:
“Whilst OTM touts its growth to 5m visits per month as being impressive, during the same period Rightmove has grown its already huge audience by 20m visits per month. Far from taking market share from the market leader, OTM has simply served to strengthen [it];
“Zoopla Property Group’s audience has been unaffected by OTM despite having lost 20 per cent of its inventory. Its users remain engaged and loyal;
“Based on its own recently released audience figures, OTM has grown at the rate of 200,000 visits per month for the last three months. At that rate of growth, far from overtaking Zoopla this year as stated it would take 19 years to catch Zoopla (in 2034) - assuming Zoopla didn’t grow at all;
“On a cost per eyeball or cost per lead basis, OTM is somewhere between 10 times and 30 times more expensive than the other major portals. Agents get more leads from PrimeLocation than they do from OTM;
“OTM’s repeat usage (based on its own stats) is two visits per user per month versus over four visits per user per month for each of Rightmove and Zoopla;
“OTM’s Bounce Rate (the percentages of visitors who immediately leave the site from page they landed on) is 33.7 percent versus less-than-25 per cent for each of Rightmove and ZPG.”
Quirk insists that it was clear from the outset that OTM “didn’t embrace the digital age” in terms of its strategy to exclude online agents and its insistence that members give up one of their most effective digital marketing channels through the only-one-other-portal rule.
He says it is interesting to speculate how OTM’s general estate agency members must feel about recent investments being made with their money “into pet projects for the founders” including international listings and marketing deals with the likes of CountryLife.
Quirk’s full article is here.