The Unconditional Blog

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Archive for the ‘Website news’ Category

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Voted Best Real Estate Site … Realestate.co.nz

Realestate.co.nz won Best Real Estate Website at Tuesday’s NetGuide awards. The awards are decided by the New Zealand public via votes on the Net Guide website. More than 200,000 votes were cast in this year’s awards

NGWebAward14 copy Realestate.co.nz CEO Brendon Skipper said the win shows that Realestate.co.nz are “doing a great job of building awareness of our site and building relevance for our customers”.

“We want to say a huge thanks to all the people who voted for us. This win would not have been possible without the huge support that we have had from the Real Estate industry in New Zealand and without the great team at Realestate.co.nz.

We have the most home listings in New Zealand and have a number of plans to further grow in the coming year” he says.

This year Realestate.co.nz have grown in a number of areas including launching a new app dedicated for finding commercial properties and further developing the residential app, which has now had over 250,000 downloads.

More information about the Net Guide Web Awards can be found here

 

By Paul McKenzie, Marketing Manager, Realestate.co.nz – 021 618 537

If you have any comments or enquiries about the NZ Property Market or about marketing your property online, please contact me via Google, or connect on Linkedin

 

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NZFarms.co.nz partners with Interest.co.nz

Posted on: June 13th, 2013 | Filed in Company News, Regional News, Website news

To ensure that your farm listings reach even more people, NZfarms.co.nz has recently partnered with popular news site interest.co.nz to display farming listings on a new Farms for Sale section within their site.

The new section appears on interest.co.nz within their rural news section.

Paul McKenzie, Marketing Manager of NZfarms.co.nz says, “This alliance is great news for New Zealand’s real estate farming agents; now together with interest.co.nz we can promote our listings to even more people.”

This is a great new way that we can ensure that your properties get more viewed by more people who are interested in Farming. It will also boost the public profile and awareness of NZfarms.co.nz

We are very excited by this development as a further means for NZfarms.co.nz to provide increased profile and advertising for our customers’ listings.

How it works: Interest.co.nz uses the API of Realestate.co.nz listings to populate their website. These include all the content of the listings including photos, description as well as agent contact details. By using the API the listings on Interest.co.nz are synchronised with Realestate.co.nz, so new listings and withdrawn listings are updated at the same time.

Keep an eye on this space. In the future we will be looking to feed other property types (such as Lifestyle homes, and commercial properties) to key partners within both NZ & Overseas.

NZFarms is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of farms and agricultural businesses on the market across NZ. At this time it features around 3,000 listings for all types of farms and agricultural land as well as over 10,000 lifestyle properties.

By Paul McKenzie, Marketing Manager, NZFarms.co.nz

If you have any comments or enquiries about the NZ Property Market or about marketing your farms online, please contact me via EmailGoogle, or Twitter

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New App features – sync your favourite homes between devices

Posted on: May 7th, 2013 | Filed in mobile, Other interesting reads:, Technology, Website news

You have been asking for it, and we have been listening! The Realestate.co.nz app can now sync both your favourite homes and your saved open homes between the Realestate.co.nz website and your mobile device.

Plus, view all of your saved open homes in a map, so that you can easily plan your open home visits.

And, when homes are withdrawn or sold we will keep these in My Property under an archived section for 30 days so that you can keep up to date on what is happening to homes you were interested in.

We have a lot of new ideas of what we can do to our app to make it even better in the future. But we would love to get some feedback from you on what makes our app great, and how we can make it even better.

Email your feedback & suggestions to mobile@realestate.co.nz and help us build an even better property app.

Visit Realestate.co.nz or click one of the below buttons to download NZ’s Favorite Property App to your phone.

iPhone Download Android Download

If you have any comments or enquiries about the NZ Property Market or about marketing your property online, please contact me via Email, Google, or Twitter

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NZ’s fascination for property comes alive through reality TV (Updated 20 Aug)

Posted on: August 14th, 2012 | Filed in Featured, Media commmentary, Website news

The Australian reality series “The Block” is certainly being warmly embraced by the kiwi’s who are according the weekend papers camping out in their lounges on Wednesday and Thursday nights to watch the latest weekly challenges for the willing and able group of 4 couples. Ratings have seldom been as good as for this series with audience shares around 30% of 25 -54 year olds.

The format I don’t need to explain, nor do I need to reference the fact that the competition seems to be more about couples and the reality TV component than it is ever about DIY, but that is not important – people love to watch others toil in DIY work just as they have done, only this time they can laugh and kick back on the couch.

The series is well advanced and in real life the houses are finished and prospective buyers are being given private tours. As the properties are now “on the market” our role at Realestate.co.nz as the official website of the real estate industry really comes into its own to promote and advertise these 4 properties online and on mobile.

We decided we would do all we could to assist the sellers find the best buyers so we have upgraded all of the 4 property listings on our site on behalf of our customer Bayleys Real Estate Ltd to a full premium campaign to maximise profile and traffic online. In addition we have featured the properties on our Facebook page with links to the listings and the opportunity for comments and likes to provide feedback.

As you can see from the extent of the viewings of these properties online – they are very popular with over 8,000 views in just the first 4 days across the 4 houses, that total was surpassed with over 9,000 views on Monday the 13th alone!

In addition to promoting these houses we thought it would be fun to do a poll to see just how people are judging the houses and the teams. The poll was set up on Friday on our Facebook page and is already showing some clear favoritism towards Libby & Ben who are way out in the lead in terms of votes.

The properties go to auction live on TV3 on Thursday 6 September – over the next 4 weeks we will track the performance of the viewings for each house as a surrogate for the voting; we will also combine this with the Facebook poll to come up an aggregate scoreboard which we will update regularly.

Here is the result after 5 days – a clear lead for Libby & Ben. Check back on this page over the next days to see how things progress.

Update 15th August

The performance of these listings is demonstrating the connection between TV and social media. In the space of just 2 days the viewing total of the 4 houses has gone from 17,499 to 31,487 – an extra 14,000 viewings in just 2 days! The NZ Herald ran an article on this phenomenal interest headlined with me quote of ‘mindblowing’ in the context of this scale of traffic. Key to driving this incremental traffic is the profile we have given these properties on Facebook and the comments that are engaging people around discussing these properties.

As the weeks go by more and more of the images of these houses are being posted to the website of Realestate.co.nz. As well as over 20 photos per listing we also now showcase interactive floor plans. Check out the latest images:

This incremental traffic and the added votes on our poll on Facebook has not made a huge difference to the voting sentiment of the public of NZ. As the chart below shows Libby & Ben are still way out in front – although slipping 2 percentage points, Rachael and Tyson have edged up by 1 percentage point to snap at the heals of Ginny & Rhys for the #2 spot.

Update 20th August

The weekend saw a further surge in viewings for these properties taking the total viewings to over 41,000 since the listings went live. Further voting on the Facebook poll covering both overall and the views of the kitchen has taken Libby & Ben further out in front, now with 45% of the sentiment from the public. This gain has come at a cost to Sarah & Richard (slipping from 17% to 15%) and Ginny & Rhys (21% to 19%). Buoyed along by a surge of sentiment Rachel & Tyson have increased from 20% to 22% to overtake Ginny & Rhys to take second place.

 

 

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Change of ownership for Zoodle

Posted on: July 2nd, 2012 | Filed in Website news

Effective from the 1st July the ownership of Zoodle transfers from the current joint venture between Realestate.co.nz Limited and Terralink to a 100% ownership by Terralink International. The previous shareholding structure of the company was 45% Terralink, 45% Realestate.co.nz and 10% Alistair Helm (CEO Realestate.co.nz).

Zoodle was launched in January 2009 to provide the consumer with an online property information website delivering property reports on all of the 1.8 million homes in NZ. During that time Zoodle has grown to become the most actively visited property information website in NZ, regularly receiving over 120,000 unique browsers  per month who download over 4,000 property reports a month.

During the 3½ years of operation Zoodle has not only gained a significant audience and business in the sale of property reports, it also has made a significant impact on the key competitor in the market – QV. As shown in the chart below Zoodle surpassed QV in audience measured by Nielsen online as market share of real estate weekly browsers back at the end of 2010. Subsequently Zoodle has gone on to further reinforce its lead over QV now representing 5% of the total weekly browsers to the real estate category of website in NZ compared to QV with just over 3%.

The core data that powers Zoodle is Terralink sourced data as it relies totally on their property information database and their valuation model for online reports. The initial concept of the joint venture was to reflect the skills of Realestate.co.nz in online marketing matched to the rich data from Terralink. This relationship between Realestate.co.nz and Terralink is now very well established and this decision by the board of Realestate.co.nz to sell the shareholding to Terralink in no way detracts from this relationship between the two companies which is likely to continue to grow in the future as property data becomes more important to consumers and the real estate industry.

The realestate.co.nz website will still continue to link to Zoodle and content sharing will continue as each partner mutually benefits. The decision by the board of Realestate.co.nz to sell its shareholding is a reflection of the fact that Zoodle was not seen as needing to be owned to afford the website of realestate.co.nz the benefits of providing integrated property data. Terralink are well placed to integrate Zoodle more fully into their own operation which is solely based around property data. They currently provide a market leading solution of property data to real estate agents in Property Guru which delivers some component of its service using realestate.co.nz listing data.

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Latest listings now highlighted on the app

Posted on: June 18th, 2012 | Filed in mobile, Website news

A much requested feature has just been added to the mobile app – a flag to highlight the latest listings.

Every time you investigate property for sale or rent around you, you will see a Red Flag to highlight the latest listings. These flagged properties are listings that have come onto the market in the past 7 days.

In addition you can now “Refine” your search to set a parameter to just properties listed in the past few days or past week. Thereby ensuring that you can focus on recently listed properties.

We have also detailed on all listings on the app the listed date for the property – a useful insight to the status of listings.

So take the time to update your version of the app and start discovering those latest listings before other catch up to this great new feature.

We certainly appreciate the feedback on this feature and welcome other ideas if you have any you would like to share with us.

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Stats on viewing property now includes mobile

Posted on: May 31st, 2012 | Filed in mobile, Website news

Mobile is in my view a key part of the future of real estate marketing. Already in NZ our mobile visitors represent over 1 in 5 of our monthly traffic with people accessing information on smartphones and iPads via the web and through NZ’s Favourite Property app.

In the US the leading real estate website – Zillow reported recently that more half of all engagement with listings is occurring on a mobile platform.

Given the scale of usage it was natural for us to highlight the mobile usage on the stats that we showcase for every listing on the website – in case you did not already know how, just click the link under the listing number which counts the number of views.

Each day we now report the total for web viewings in blue and the viewing on the mobile app platform for Android and iPhone in green as shown below.

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Realestate.co.nz provides innovative solution for native speaking chinese property buyers

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 | Filed in Featured, International, Website news, Website searching

The appeal of NZ property is universal – we are lucky (some would say) to live in such a beautiful country, a place many people can only dream of living. Our property though is accessible and appealing to overseas investors and prospective new residents.

Just compare NZ to Australia, here there is no Capital Gains Tax or Stamp duty; additionally overseas investors are restricted in Australia to new builds as opposed to the far more limited restrictions here.

These circumstances are driving an ever growing audience to listings on Realestate.co.nz from overseas. Just last month over 110,000 unique visitors checked out property on the site from outside NZ, that represents over 1 in 4 of all of our visitors each month.

The most active viewers are those in the English speaking countries of Australia, UK, US and Canada, but Asia is assuming a greater and greater presence among this audience growing at 3 times the rate of growth of other countries. This certainly reflects the economic relations NZ is building with its Asia Pacific partners.

This audience though is not as well catered for as English language speakers. This is somethingthat we have focused on over the past year. The main issue facing us has been the ability for us to provide a Chinese language version of the site which can rank highly when Chinese based property seekers are searching for NZ property – especially as the major search engine in China is Baidu. As a company we have always invested heavily in Search Engine Optimistion (SEO) to drive our site and brand given the credibility this brings to our site, however optimising in English for Google is a very different issue from optimising for Chinese language search on Baidu.

This challenge has been solved through a partnership which Realestate.co.nz has established with a NZ/Chinese company HouGarden.com. The company combines the domestic Chinese technology team with the best of SEO capabilities in the Chinese market. Based in Auckland and Beijing, Hougarden has built a website that provides a rich information source for property seekers combining the full listings from Realestate.co.nz translated into Chinese with translated news stories covering the broad NZ economy and property news.

It was decided that translated listings in Chinese would be best presented on a separate website and domain name, rather than on a sub domain of realestate.co.nz and that is the rationale for the partnership with Hougarden.

So how does it work?

Hougarden uses the API of Realestate.co.nz listings to populate their website, all the content of listings including photos, description as well as agent contact details are provided on the HouGarden site in Chinese. By using the API the listings on HouGarden are synchronised with Realestate.co.nz so new listings and withdrawn listings are updated at the same time.

The site provides the great functionality and usability as Realestate.co.nz and the deliberate similarity in look and feel is a deliberate decision to reflect the true partnership relationship.

Property seekers making an enquiry through the HouGarden website by email can choose to respond in Chinese or in English. These email pass through Realestate.co.nz with a human translations service provided by HouGarden. The agent will receive the enquiry in English with a clear message detailing that the enquiry has come via HouGarden website from a Chinese enquirer and whether the original enquiry was written in English or Chinese.

We recommend that agents receiving these enquiries develop a relationship with a Chinese speaking colleague to assist in managing these requests, although clearly an enquiry written originally in English can be directly responded to. It is the plan for the future for Hougarden to potentially provide a return translation service.

The launch of Hougarden was marked this week by a presentation and official signing ceremony in Auckland. Pictured below is Sam Yin the Managing Director of HouGarden.com with myself after the signing ceremony.

We are very excited by this development as a further means for Realestate.co.nz to provide increased profile and advertising for our customers’ listings – reaching out to the massive audience of 1.3 billion Chinese both in NZ and in China.

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Floorplans add a true sense of a virtual open home to the website

Posted on: December 7th, 2011 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured, Website news

The presentation of property online has radically transformed over the past 5 years.

Back in 2006 when the new website of Realestate.co.nz emerged to provide a much improved user experience, the content provided on the site was by today’s standards pitiful. On average a listing had only 3 photos. The property seldom had an address, and the description was often copied from the newspaper advert. At the time the real estate industry in general judged the web as an after-thought, with the central focus being on print advertising in newspapers and magazines.

Skip forward 5 years to today and so much has changed. Today the first destination for almost all property seekers is online, on average property seekers spend over 3 hours a week on property websites. Their intent is to spend even more time in the future with more than a third of them say they will check out property online more frequently. (This data comes from the recent Nielsen online intercept survey carried out in July this year).

As this exponential growth of viewing property online has transformed the real estate industry; so at the same time the industry has adapted and recognised the need to provide more information with each listing. The average number of photos per listing has shot up to 16. The photos have got bigger, and to accommodate these we have added full screen viewing. Today more than 65% of all listings now have an address which allows property maps to be included on the website providing great context to the property location.

These improvements fit perfectly into the wish list of users of real estate websites as identified in the Nielsen survey – the table below tracks the most requested information presented on a real estate website:

Nestled firmly below the expected critical information on property listings – the address, the large portfolio of high quality images and maps is the desire for floor plans. 89% of those surveyed stated that they would like to see floorplans for properties on the market.

That request has now been answered on the realestate.co.nz website. Working with partners such as MyAgent and Open2view we have enabled the integration of interactive floor plans for properties on the market today on the website. These solutions which go further than just static image based floor plans adding in the context of the location for each images matched to the part of the house really add engagement to these listings which is so important for getting the maximum impact for the vendor’s property.

At this time this service of interactive floorplans on the realestate.co.nz is the unique in NZ and with several hundred listings already on the site featuring these floorplans, and more to come in the near future, we certainly see this as a compelling appeal of the website. Check out the example of a few current listing:

Click here to see the full listing on realestate.co.nz

 

Click here to see the full listing on realestate.co.nz

 

 

Click here to see the full listing on realestate.co.nz

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Recruitment in this digital age

Posted on: September 20th, 2011 | Filed in Online marketing, Website news

We have recently been recruiting for a new Marketing Manager. It is always difficult to replace such a key role in an organisation; we were sorry to see her depart, but equally we much appreciated what she had done for us as she headed for a new and larger career opportunity.

The recruitment process for her replacement is well under way now with applications for this role compiled and the interview rounds started. We very much hope to make an appointment shortly.

I just thought that it would be useful for me to provide some feedback on this recruitment process in terms of effectiveness of recruitment marketing which might be of interest to others thinking about how to approach recruitment in this digital era.

This role of Marketing Manager for our company is a very nearly pure digital marketing role (we do some offline media) and as such given the importance of the capabilities we seek in digital marketing and social media, I decided that more than any other role within the company the candidates must be living in the online space. As a function of this profile for the role I decided we would manage the recruitment process ourselves rather than employ a recruitment company.

Let me be clear (for fear of alienating recruitment companies) I value the role of recruitment companies and have utilised them extensively in the past. We have used their services in recent times to find for us sales and finance roles. They add significant value in candidate database search, as well as the initial stages of recruitment screening and objective reviewing the interview process, as well as reference checking. My motivation for not using a recruitment company this time was not to save money. It was far more the desire to better understand the recruitment process, especially as it so closely mirrors the property marketing arena.

I wanted to test the various recruitment websites (Seek and Trade me Jobs) as well as to see the value of using our own social media contact network. In addition I was also very keen to try the recruitment offerings on LinkedIn. I have to apologise to the team at Jobs.co.nz, it was my intention to use their services, however time was against me and I never got the advert established in time.

In total I received 50 applications for the role, of these I was able to immediately cull 14 as they were not able to work in NZ. They were from a variety of countries (US / China / Chile / India) and yet all had excellent experience and qualifications.

In terms of source of leads the most came from Seek (16) closely followed by LinkedIn (14) and Trade me (13); direct enquiries totalled 7.

However when accessing qualitative performance the outright winner was LinkedIn that delivered 13 credible and applicable candidates, Seek delivered 10, Trade me with 6, together with the 7 direct enquiries all being credible.

LinkedIn provide a great toolkit of solutions including a slightly spooky ability to “pitch” to prospective candidates who meet the specifications of the role and who live and work in Auckland. I chose not to use this service, preferring to act in a more passive manner. Their dashboard though is an excellent reporting capability that adds significant credibility and professionalism to the service they provide.

As ever, just as in real estate the recruitment process comprises far more than simply advertising; and this is the hard task we are currently undertaking to select a worthy new marketing manager. It is though very useful to have had the opportunity to evaluate the various methods of recruitment in the new digital age.

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