Did ListHub Hurt or Help Zillow, Trulia, and Builder’s Around the Country?

Posted by
Kevin Oakley
Date
 May 12, 2015

In early April, ListHub stopped sending real estate listing information to Zillow and Trulia – and everyone held their breath to see what would happen next. News Corp. owns both ListHub and Realtor.com, and among many other reasons seemed to hope that the move might increase Realtor.com’s popularity and recover some of the ground lost in recent years. Now that the dust has settled, how has the change impacted home builders?

For the vast majority of builders it seems to have made their results on both Zillow and Trulia (now united under the umbrella of the Zillow Group) increase significantly. More impressions, more clicks, and more leads than before. This seems counter-intuitive – as the concern was that fewer homes being displayed on the sites may make them less attractive to consumers.

There appear to be 3 things helping out home builders from the switch:

  1. Consumers are often slow to change their behavior

Without a massive advertising push by Realtor.com and ListHub, most consumers remain unaware that a change has even happened. Zillow and Trulia have also both been consistent on building and refining their platforms, and were rewarded with increased use by consumers. Since the user experience (the interface, ease of use, and well displayed listing info) wasn’t affected by the change, it was an easy change for most people to miss. This means that visitor traffic to both companies didn’t take a huge hit.

  1. Builders never really used ListHub anyway

Home builders generally either have their own feeds of data going directly to syndication sites, or they have used NewHomeFeed.com or the BDX to push out their data. This means that their data continued to appear on both sites after ListHub pulled the plug, and leads us to reason #3.

  1. Quality beats quantity – so far

From speaking with insiders at the Zillow Group, the quality of the data they are now receiving directly from MLS sources is better than some of what ListHub had previously been providing. This creates a better user experience for their visitors. While more direct MLS sources are being added every week (this is, of course, a big focus for the Zillow Group), there has been a slight, but significant, drop in the total number of listings on both sites. This leads to home builders having a higher share of voice because their data feeds were not affected.

A share of voice is what percentage of ads, listings, or other content you have compared to the total amount being delivered. For example, if Zillow serves 100 listings in an hour – and 10 of them are yours – you have a 10% share of voice (SOV). Of course, the real numbers are incredibly large, however the bottom line is that builders had little less competition from the resale market in April on both sites.

News Corp is planning a big advertising push for Realtor.com in coming months though, so this certainly isn’t the last word. For now though, you may want to send a thank you to ListHub… and make sure you give you data feeds a big virtual hug for all the work they do for you. Sometimes they feel (and look) like you neglect them.

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