What if you could save listings on real estate websites to your Facebook account with one click? Thanks to a website plug-in recently unveiled by Facebook, real estate sites can now stitch that functionality into their listing search experience. Property sites serving Pakistan and United Arab Emirates have already done it.

  • Agents, brokers and listing portals can add Facebook's new save button to their websites to provide more convenience to consumers.
  • But some integrations of the Facebook save button could potentially undercut a real estate site's ability to capture leads.

What if you could save listings on real estate websites to your Facebook account with one click?

Thanks to a website plug-in recently unveiled by Facebook, real estate sites can now stitch that functionality into their listing search experience. Property sites serving Pakistan and United Arab Emirates have already done it.

Just how many other real estate sites will follow suit remains unclear. The feature might provide additional convenience to consumers, but it could also undercut some real estate sites’ existing save features, which are part of how they entice consumers to hand over contact information.

The ‘save’ button — boosted

Facebook users have long been able to save Facebook posts to a folder for future reference (click the downwards arrow at the top-right corner of Facebook posts for access to a save option from a scroll-down menu).

But with the recent introduction of Facebook’s “Save Button” plug-in, websites can tack a save button onto pages so that users can file pages, such as article or product pages, into their Facebook saved folder. The feature is no longer restricted to Facebook posts alone.

Listing portals operated by the The Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), including Pakistan portal Zameen.com and United Arab Emirates portal Bayut.com, are the first to bake Facebook’s Save Button into their search experience.

Diagram explains zameen.com's integration of Facebook's save button.

Diagram explains Zameen.com’s integration of Facebook’s save button.

The integration is simple to complete, according to Justin Tracy, chief technology officer of Kunversion, a provider of real estate brokerage and team websites. That suggests that the feature could easily be added to many listing portal, broker and agent websites.

Tracy says he’s thinking about building the feature into Kunversion-powered websites. “It’s like 10 minutes of work,” he said.

Any drawbacks?

But adding the save button isn’t necessarily a no-brainer. While it might be handy for consumers, it could also conceivably deter them from registering accounts with real estate sites.

Kunversion-powered listing pages include a "save" feature. Unregistered visitors who click the button are prompted to register accounts with the site.

Kunversion-powered listing pages include a “save” feature. Unregistered visitors who click the button are prompted to register accounts with the site.

Visitors to Kunversion-powered websites are prompted to complete this registration for after clicking on a listing's save feature. Kunversion could add a checkbox to this form to allow users to save a listing to their Facebook account upon submitting the form.

Visitors to Kunversion-powered websites are prompted to complete this registration for after clicking on a listing’s save feature. Kunversion could add a checkbox to this form to allow users to save a listing to their Facebook account upon submitting the form.

Zillow and realtor.com have long made their own save features available to consumers who sign up for accounts by handing over some type of contact information.

That contact information allows the sites to send out communications to draw past users back to their sites. Many broker and agent sites capture leads in the same way.

Add a competing save button to listing pages, and consumers no longer have to sign up for an account to save listings. They can just save listings to their Facebook accounts.

One way to leverage Facebook’s save button without undercutting the ability of an existing save button to capture leads could be to only make it possible to save a listing to Facebook upon registering on the site, according Tracy.

For example, if an unregistered user clicked on a save icon on a listing, the user would be prompted to fill out a registration form for the ability to use the feature.

The registration form would also include a Facebook save checkbox. If the user clicked the checkbox and submitted the registration form, the listing would then be saved both to a user’s newly-created website account and to their Facebook account.

At the same time, that would restrict the utility of the Facebook save button to consumers by not explicitly offering it up as a feature on listing pages.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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