ComScore data shows growing importance of mobile in real estate search

More than half of unique visitors to Zillow-Yahoo network were mobile users

New data from digital analytics firm comScore Inc. confirms the importance of mobile in the battle for audience share among online real estate sites.

The Zillow real estate network, which includes Yahoo Homes and HotPads, attracted more than half of all visitors to real estate networks in March. Of the 91.6 million unique visitors to all real estate sites in March from both desktop computers and mobile devices (including mobile apps), 53.1 million came to Zillow’s network of sites.

Mobile first image via Shutterstock.
Mobile first image via Shutterstock.

That’s 58 percent of the consumers who visited a real estate network that month and roughly twice the number who visited the networks of Zillow’s nearest competitors Trulia and realtor.com operator Move Inc., and approximately five times that of Homes.com, the fourth-most visited real estate network in March.

Top 4 real estate networks by Web traffic, March 2014

Real estate network Total unique visitors in March Desktop unique visitors Mobile unique visitors
All sites 91.6 million 66.3 million 48.8 million
Zillow (Yahoo) network 53.1 million 33.8 million 27.9 million
Trulia (RentPath) network 28.2 million 18.0 million 13.7 million
Move Inc. network 23.8 million 14.1 million 12.7 million
Homes.com (ForRent.com) network 9.4 million 5.9 million 4.1 million

Source: comScore

Unlike Web traffic data from Experian Marketing Services, which tallies Web traffic by specific Web addresses and total hits, comScore measures Web traffic by associated networks, unique visitors and includes mobile traffic (from both mobile apps and the mobile Web). A unique visitor, by comScore’s definition, is a user who visits the sites in a network at least once in the month in question from either a desktop computer, mobile device or both — multiple visits are not counted.

In addition, comScore’s tally reflects visitor overlap by network and by device, which explains why the total unique visitor count for real estate is less than the sum of the visitors to Zillow, Trulia and Move’s networks and the sum of desktop and mobile visitors surpasses the total visitor count.

Networks

Zillow, Trulia, Move and Homes.com each maintain networks of sites.

The sites in Zillow’s network include Zillow.com, Yahoo Homes and HotPads.com, the popular rental site Zillow acquired in November 2012.

Some would consider AOL Real Estate, which Zillow began feeding listings to last December, part of Zillow’s network, too. But comScore does not count traffic to AOL Real Estate or HGTV’s FrontDoor, which Zillow began powering listings for in February 2013, in its tally of the Zillow network, a comScore spokesman told Inman News.

ComScore’s grouping of sites into networks can depend on ownership agreements and partnerships that companies have with each other, or a number of other factors, including a firm’s wish to include or not include a certain site in its network, a comScore spokesman told Inman News.

(Note: Zillow reported 76.6 million unique visitors came to its network in March, but it tallies its visitors differently than comScore. For this self-reported total, Zillow includes visitors just to sites it owns like Zillow, HotPads and StreetEasy and not to the sites it powers like Yahoo Homes and AOL Real Estate.

Unlike comScore, Zillow counts users as separate visitors if they access its network from different devices — like a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet. Zillow also tallies a unique user each time its network is visited from a different browser on a device. In addition, Zillow does not account for overlap between its owned sites; a single visitor to its separate sites count as multiple unique visitors).

Trulia’s network of sites includes Trulia.com and those sites owned by RentPath Inc. (formerly Primedia) including apartmentguide.com and rent.com. Under an agreement forged in November 2012, Trulia receives all of its multifamily listings from RentPath and sells display advertising and media products on the firm’s behalf.

Networks according to comScore 

Real estate network Sites*
Zillow (Yahoo) network zillow.com, homes.yahoo.com, hotpads.com
Trulia (RentPath) network trulia.com, apartmentguide.com, rent.com, rentals.com, newhomeguide.com, rentalhouses.com, livelovely.com
Move Inc. network realtor.com, move.com sites, seniorhousing.net, listhub.net and realtor.org
Homes.com (ForRent.com) network homes.com, forrent.com

Source: comScore, Inman News

* Not a complete list of sites in the network

According to comScore’s methodology, Move Inc.’s network includes realtor.com, move.com, and listhub.net. Interestingly, comScore also counts the National Association of Realtors’ website, realtor.org, as part of the Move network, although it’s not used by consumers to search for homes.

On the other hand, comScore does not count MSN Real Estate, which attracted 5.1 million unique visitors to its network in March and was the fifth-most visited of any network that month, as part of Move’s network. MSN Real Estate gets for-sale, for-rent and new-home listings from Move under a content-sharing agreement that goes back eight years and was renewed last June.

If MSN Real Estate’s unique visitor total in March was added to Move’s tally, the Move network would have passed Trulia and recorded the second-most unique visitors that month behind Zillow.

The Homes.com network includes ForRent.com — both companies are owned by Dominion Enterprises.


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