Tag Archives: Apartment Finder

Yelp for Apartments

A while back we introduced a cool social media integration feature on the ApartmentFinder.com site – any of our advertisers can have their Yelp reviews displayed on their property details pages. All they need to do is let us know and we have integration already built. VERY FEW of our advertisers have signed up for the service.

Geoff Donaker, the COO at Yelp, was speaking at a conference that I attended in December and I mentioned to him that many of our customers were still on the fence with how to deal with review sites. Specifically I told him that when it came to our two company’s integration, no-one seemed to want to be “First”. Both of us agreed that there needed to be more industry outreach in order to establish a comfort level in incorporating these unfiltered consumer sentiments in marketing materials.

To that end, NCI is scheduling for February 5th a joint webinar for anyone of our advertisers to hear directly from Geoff and the team at Yelp about how their product works and their understanding of how consumers use their site. It should be a great educational event, and I am thrilled that we can bring it to the industry.

In advance of that session, I thought that it made sense to describe the WHY behind our integration with Yelp.

1 – For the CONSUMER…

We look at the downstream sites for all of the ILS’s on services like ComScore and HitWise. The rating sites (Yelp, ApartmentRatings, etc.) are always in the top 10. The consumer is actively seeking this information and making them run around to get it does not make sense. Yelp, in particular, does a good job of screening out the bogus reviews so that the review content is particularly useful. We like the way that they can catch a competitor trying to seed bad sentiment and delete those posts. We also like that they can catch businesses that write “pretend’ reviews, promoting themselves. Here is more about the Yelp Automated Filter.

2 – For the ADVERTISER…

We looked at the reviews on Yelp, and they are remarkably positive. I think that it is a credit to the screening algorithms that overly negative, spammy reviews don’t seem to be a significant part of the content mix. According to Yelp, “Yelpers have written over 8 million local reviews, over 85% of them rating a business 3 stars or higher”.

I am very interested to see if we get a big turn-out for the event and most importantly to see what kind of questions our industry has for the guys at Yelp.

Is Print Dead?

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a panel that was asked the question, “Is Print Dead?”.  It is a leading question, filled with presumption.  The answer is certainly an emphatic “no” for the multi-family space.  Print revenues remain solid.  Print lead production remains solid.  Online traffic from print is meaningful and important and efficient (cost effective).  But I saw some facts today that showed me that integrated media is stealing share from internet only players.

I took a look at ComScore data for the past year.  This time last year, ComScore showed about 69% of all unique visitors going to the online only players of Rent.com, MyNewPlace.com and Apartments.com, with 31% going to integrated media players ForRent.com, ApartmentGuide.com and ApartmentFinder.com.  Over the course of the past year, the shift has been continuous and somewhat dramatic.  Today the mix is 61%:39% with integrated media cutting the gap significantly.  Here is the chart

The details of where share went are also interesting.  In the chart below, the integrated media players on on the bottom and the online only players on the top.  Apartment Finder and Apartment Guide seem to be taking share from everyone else.

While we have done a ton of work with online marketing, SEO and partners – direct traffic (people typing in http://www.apartmentfinder.com) continues to grow as does brand natural search (people typing Apartment Finder into Google).  Both of these are traffic sources that have everything to do with print.

So, while the question to the panel was “Is Print Dead”, the data seems to indicate that integrated marketing is gaining ground.