Ask the Experts: Google Analytics for Real Estate, Part 2
By Seth Price
About Web Analytics
We recently got in touch with three analytics experts to explore how real estate professionals can use Google Analytics to measure – and improve – website performance. These experts are: Jeff Bernheisel, Project Manager at 1000watt; Tom Flanagan, VP of Marketing & Technology at Residential Properties; and Peter O’Neill, Web Analyst & Founder at L3 Analytics.
Placester: Which 3 Google Analytics metrics are most important for real estate professionals to monitor?
Jeff Bernheisel: I think the number of new unique visitors is where I’d start. Without new visitors, nothing else really matters. Then I’d look at things like time on site and bounce rate. These are the very basic things to monitor. As you go down the path of wanting to track conversions, etc., you’ll begin looking at entrance and exit paths and setting up conversion funnels and goals.
Tom Flanagan: Eric Ries, startup guru and author of The Lean Startup, has written extensively on
the hazards of “vanity metrics.” Vanity metrics look good on the surface — up and to the right. However, these metrics can create a false sense of security.
This is applicable in real estate as well. I prefer to focus on metrics with more substance. Here are three metrics that I feel are important for real estate professionals:
- Configuring and tracking goals
- Audience engagement
- Visitors: New versus Returning
- Search Success Rate (Visits view a property post search / Visits that perform a search)
- Property Conversion Rate (Leads generated / Visits that view a property)
- Properties View Rate (Properties viewed / Visits that view a property)
P: Can you share an example of a time when you (or a real estate professional you know) leveraged analytics successfully and achieved a positive outcome?
Jeff Bernheisel: While I can’t give stats and figures to respect the wishes of our clients, I can say that one of the most powerful ways to use analytics is in combination with a keyword rank tracking tool. This allows you to monitor keyword positions and look for opportunities to grow very targeted traffic that converts well, based on the rankings and trends you can see from the analytics data. You really can’t go wrong with this type of approach.
Tom Flanagan: I moderated a data panel at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco last summer. The panel was entitled, “Analyze This: Developing the right digital analytics strategy.” Adam Wiener, VP of Analytics at Redfin, shared this interesting case study with the audience:
A/B testing requires scale. Be mindful of small samples:
“Redfin ran a famous email campaign that looked like it increased the contact rate of our registered users by 80%. We cheered. But we had called the race too early. The sample was too small and over time the control group’s contact rate caught up to the experimental group and the improvement was marginal. For example, if you have a website that gets 5,000 views a month and a 3% conversion rate, then if you split into A/B you’d need to see a 20-25% improvement in conversion to have a clear winner and run the test for a whole month. If you have 1,000 visits / month you need a 50% improvement. Getting those kinds of improvements is hard.”
Peter O’Neill: I once identified that a client had similar numbers of visits reaching the final stage of a booking process with Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 (biggest browsers at the time). But the completion rate for Internet Explorer 7 was five times that for Internet Explorer 8. We did some usability testing and discovered a pop-up resulted in an intimidating message when using Internet Explorer 8 – as the pop-up was not configured correctly. The data suggested this was causing £70k in lost bookings each week. The client was advised and the pop-up was fixed with a massive impact on performance.
Published on April 19, 2013
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Written by Seth Price
Seth is a brand and marketing strategist with 20 years of digital marketing experience. He’s a founding team member and VP @Placester, author of the bestselling small business marketing book, The Road to Recognition and host of The Craft of Marketing and Marketing Genius podcasts. As a speaker, writer, and marketing workshop leader, Seth brings levity, mentorship, and a dose of reality to the businesses and entrepreneurs he coaches.