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Vanity metrics are everywhere, even real estate

(MARKETING) It is often easy to fall for vanity metrics, everyone does it. But “being number one” is so stupidly subjective, don’t cave.

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How many times have you seen or heard “#1 in sales,” “x number of satisfied clients,” or “highest grossing broker?” Probably more than once. What do these phrases mean? Are they even really measurable? More likely than not, phrases like these come under the heading of “vanity metrics.”

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Vanity metrics are things and data sets that are easily manipulated. For tech, it can include things like the number of downloads, page views, and registered users; rather than components that are truly important, such as profits and customer retention.

Vanity Metrics in Real Estate

Real estate, like any other field, has their share of vanity metrics. “Being number one” is ridiculously subjective.

While some associates/brokers/offices have absolutely earned the right based on hard data, many have not.

“Being number one” could mean receiving an award from a random blogger friend, buying an award online, or just plain paying to have the title printed on business cards and in the newspaper; it really doesn’t mean there’s anything tangible or concrete behind the statement.

Nothing tangible

Take for example the person that might say, “over 2,000 satisfied clients.” Sure, that sounds great on the surface. They must be doing something right if they’ve made that many sales. Wait? Does that mean they’ve made over 2,000 sales, or does it simply mean they’ve met 2,000 people?

It doesn’t say, “I’ve successfully sold over 2,000 homes and I have the documentation to prove it.”

It’s also another vanity metric that is intensely subjective. You need more concrete information to make a judgement on the validity of blanket statement such as these.

Also, should you really choose a Realtor® based on something so subjective?

Show me a Realtor who has been in business for more than ten years with no marks on their record (ethical or otherwise) with their local association, and has the documentation to show they’ve successfully sold homes to “happy” customers (read: they come with many recommendations) and I’ll show you someone I’ll put my faith in.

What you can focus on instead

Every team is different. This isn’t to say that major (and minor) sales milestones shouldn’t be celebrated, because they should. Rather, this is meant to be a reminder to us all the vanity metrics are so easy to fall for; we’ve all fallen for these lines, likely more than once.

Instead of looking to data sets with no meaning, teams should focus on internal metrics.

How many clients do you have right now? How many of those clients have bought a home from you? How many showings have you done in comparison to sales? Are you getting positive recommendations and feedback? How much money are you making?

Things like this can tell you where you need to improve; it is concrete data (the recommendations might be a bit fuzzy, but you get the idea).

This isn’t to say that some vanity metrics, like Facebook polls and Pinterest posts aren’t useful, rather just be mindful of what you believe and where you invest your time.Click To Tweet

Listen to your team. Listen to your clients. Set attainable goals and reassess them as needed. Don’t worry about those catchy little phrases, because you know what you need to do to close your sale and keep everyone happy.

#MetricsManaged

Senior Staff Writer at The Real Daily, Jennifer Walpole holds a Master of English from the University of Oklahoma. She has long been a dedicated business and technology writer, and she holds real estate close to her heart, as she comes from a family of brokers.

Real Estate Marketing

Dark data may be the key to your locked potential

(MARKETING NEWS) The key to a solid marketing campaign could be dark data if anyone can figure out how to actually use it.

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One trend that marketers and entrepreneurs alike are trying to utilize is the mining of dark data from social media. It may sound like something a supervillain in a made-for-TV movie may use to “hack the mainframe,” but it may be the crux of your next marketing strategy.

Research firm Gartner defines dark data as “information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”

This data is frequently unstructured, making it difficult to utilize effectively. Structured data is easy to analyze, it populates spreadsheets after a customer enters their information on your website and other clear roads of analysis.

Unstructured data, in contrast, is information that may be collected but its not utilized effectively. Almost 90 percent of unstructured dark data falls through the cracks and is never put to use. One big source of unstructured data is social media posts.

Customers will share insights into your business and brand through their posts about their purchasing habits. This is frequently done through not just through the selfie, but the captions associated with the photo as well.

A picture can tell a lot of information to people (what times of items you sell, their quality, and their overall experience) but the caption can help you understand more what their attitude towards those events are.

A picture may show an attractively plated meal, but the caption may talk about how there was a long wait for the food as well as poor customer service. These captions, and subsequent comments, can offer a keen insight into what people like and dislike about your brand called sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis can be utilized to understand attitudes toward your brand, and there’s multiple ways you can go about this. One method of analysis is through the building of word clouds which examine the most used words in a few days of dark data. Pro-marketers can easily pull dark data from those who like or follow a business’ social pages into software which can do the legwork for you.

Small business owners have some options that are less sophisticated but can still do sentiment analysis of dark data effectively.

The IProspect blog suggests to use “a blend of monitoring tools,” many of them free, to complete a sentiment analysis.

A better understanding of dark data means you aren’t limited to just basic social media analysis tools. With these concepts, you too can illuminate your dark data and shine some light on future prospects.

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Real Estate Marketing

NAR’s ad campaign about Realtors must be better because it’s on a roll

(MARKETING NEWS) The NAR’s Get Realtor ad campaign has been live for a few months now and though there aren’t concrete metrics, overall reception is A ++.

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) wants you to not only just choose their members to sell you a home, but to change the public perception of who a Realtor is through their newest ad campaign. The NAR communications team says that the aim of the campaign is to “reimagine the R®” and to bring brand awareness to Millennials in particular, as the next generation of homebuyers “in today’s hyper-connected world.”

The Real Daily wrote about this advertising campaign launched in June, so we thought it would be great to check in with how the campaign is doing so far. Sara Wiskerchen, Managing Director, Media Communications at NAR told us that due to the campaign’s launch in June, the NAR does not have many hard metrics on it. However, they did say that first impressions of the campaign from Realtors and consumers alike was very positive and that there was a “significant lift in brand awareness and consumer intention to use a Realtor.”

The Real Daily reached out to several of our readers (7 Realtors, 3 brokers, and 11 consumers) and the response was extremely positive. One reader expressed that the campaign does more to modernize the Realtor and their line of work more so than “brand than any other in the past, and they were pleased with it.” A different consumer said watching them made Realtors more “relatable” instead of uptight and “unapproachably buttoned up.”

Throughout these spots, there is a theme of making the consumer aware that a Realtor is helpful for achieving the American dream of homeownership and that while homebuying is challenging, a Realtor can go above-and-beyond for making it happen.

“This campaign demonstrates how Realtors bring endless enthusiasm to the whole home buying ordeal.”

Big changes are sweeping the NAR, from the attempt to modernize their association through this campaign to the appointment of new CEO Bob Goldberg, still fresh in his first 100 days in the corner office. This trade association is committed to integrating itself into the American home buying process and is listening to the consumer to do it. “Getting Realtor” has never seemed so hip.

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Real Estate Marketing

Instagram is letting users pay for one of their most sought features

(MARKETING NEWS) Instagram is letting user pay for one of their most prized features. Can you say sketchy?

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Verification for sale

The “verified” checkmark that one finds next to the names of celebrities and public officials has become synonymous with trust. In a time of parody accounts and identity theft, it’s refreshing to know that you can look for that little blue mark and know that the profile you’re viewing is certified legit.

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So it’d be a damn shame if you were to find out that someone like, say, Instagram was allowing for the sale of verification rather than using a vetting system to ensure that those little verified checkmarks appear next to the correct names…wouldn’t it?

Check, Please

The little blue verification check is more than just a symbol of social media prowess. The perks for verification vary depending on the platform; for example, Instagram’s perks include things like higher search rankings and free promotion.

Naturally, this can create a bit of a sense of urgency for up-and-coming brands, figures, and companies that are just legitimate enough to merit a following, but (allegedly) not prestigious enough to earn the verified check mark.

The kicker is that, unlike on Twitter, one cannot request verification on Instagram—you must personally be invited to the cool kids’ club.

Pay to Play

As with any market ever, demand begets supply. In this case, however, the “supply” happens to be a black-market endeavor to purchase and sell those verified check marks for anywhere from three to five figures.

In Instagram’s case, the exclusivity of invite-only verification is exceptionally tantalizing for some, leading the average price to land far higher than pay-for-verification services on other social media accounts.

While Instagram’s official policy prohibits this kind of behavior (because of course it does), the frequency with which accounts are illegally verified is low enough that they seem to be treating it like it’s a non-issue.

Predictable Offense

Ultimately, though, paid verification is a dangerous precedent to set insofar as it gives people with money and the right circumstances an advantage over those hard-working brands that objectively deserve verification more than those paying for it—much like literally any other context in real life.

The bottom line is this: of course Instagram has a black market that sells something coveted and borderline unattainable, and of course people are going crazy for it. That’ll be the case in any market for as long as demand is a thing.

With that said, the next time you see that little blue check mark next to someone’s name on social media, treat it with a moderate dose of skepticism.

#PayToPlay

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