In Focus

What drives online engagement?

5 Shaftesbury Avenue Malvern 03 edited
David Sciola

David Sciola - Partner & Auctioneer

April 2024

Advertising a property for sale these days is not cheap. is the dominant player in Melbourne, followed by Domain.

To advertise a house in Stonnington today on these two portals alone costs nearly $7,000 for their best available digital packages.

For this you can expect roughly 3,000 – 6,000 listing views on REA and 2,000 – 4,000 views on Domain over the course of a 25-day campaign.

Engagement varies greatly for each property.

Listings views is just one metric. We also track listing saves (favourite/star), saved inspection, saved auction date, shares, and the different types of enquiry – email, phone number reveals, etc.

From my own observations, there are a couple of variables that most greatly drive online engagement, and by this I mean how one property performs in terms of the above KPI’s compared to a similar property.

An obvious one is property type. Houses get more views than townhouses, which get more views than apartments.

A rough ratio would be 3:2:1. So a house might get 9,000 views for a campaign, a townhouse 6,000 and an apartment 3,000.

This is purely due to demand – there are more buyers for houses than townhouses.

If you’re looking for a house you might not consider a townhouse. Whereas, if you’re looking for a townhouse you would probably consider a house as well, and therefore search for both property types.

Same goes for suburb. Armadale frequently has the honour of being the most searched suburb in Victoria.

Prestigious, larger and/or better know suburbs like Toorak, Brighton, Hawthorn and Kew get far more searches than smaller or lesser known suburbs.

For this reason you will often see Windsor advertised as Prahran, or Cremorne as Richmond, as agents recognize that listings often get missed when advertised as the smaller suburb of the same post code.

The biggest variable when comparing properties of the same type and suburb is what I would call ‘perceived value’, which is first and foremost a function of price versus accommodation (icons).

A four bedroom, three bathroom, two car house in Armadale priced at $2,000,000 – $2,200,000 will have multiples more listing views than a two bedroom, one bathroom, no parking house in Armadale at the same price.

The higher the price, the higher the expectation in terms of accommodation (number of icons).

Not many buyers would be attracted to a two bedroom house in Glen Iris without parking for $4,000,000, for example… Unless it was a development site or huge block.

This is why vacant land opportunities see very few listing views. There just aren’t many land buyers.

When you standardize for property type, suburb, price and icons, there are still a multitude of factors that impact engagement:

Street appeal is a big one. Houses with pretty facades always outperform unremarkable homes or ugly ducklings.

If you see an internal or rear shot as the main image online, it’s probably because the front doesn’t look appealing… or it might have been obstructed by a tall fence or hedge.

It could also mean the campaign is struggling and the agent suggested changing up the advertising to get higher online engagement.

Freestanding homes generally outperform semi-detached homes.

Period homes generally outperform contemporary homes, unless the architecture is striking.

Position is important. Many buyers search via map, so if you’re on a main road, close to a train line or back onto a high density apartment development, you will see far fewer views.

Presentation is crucial, as I’ve harped on about again and again. If you aren’t professionally styling your home in Stonnington, you could be leaving a considerable amount of money on the table.

Great presentation enables better photography, leading to more online engagement, higher numbers at inspections, more likelihood of competition and ultimately a stronger sale price, all other things being equal.

And then there are the property specific variables – a good floor plan, orientation, proximity to amenity, school zone, natural light, type of parking, streetscape, etc.

Interestingly, online engagement doesn’t always translate to genuine buyer interest upon inspection.

We’ve had plenty of examples of homes seeing huge online views, but low inspection numbers. Or high inspection numbers but little interest.

Sometimes we see below average views and inspection numbers, but strong interest.

We tend to prefer quality over quantity. But quantity still matters.

If we hit our KPI’s in terms of online engagement, at least we know we’ve given our vendors the best chance to maximize their outcome.

This is why we track our online performance daily via the portals and report back to our vendors and suggest changes where necessary.

If a campaign starts off on the wrong foot, it’s always best to take action immediately rather than wait and hope like many other agents would, and avoid the difficult conversations.

The only thing worse than bad news is late bad news.

Feature Property: 5 Shaftesbury Ave, Malvern

Posted in Melbourne Real Estate Boom

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