… Ok, actually hand-raising may not be the best way to measure this exercise since we are having this conversation virtually. I think we can all agree on a few premises though:
1) Understanding your customers can help retain and grow revenue.
2) All organizations benefit from gathering data on their customer and using it to provide better (or even different) services.
3) The word “analytics” is a big scary word that is hard to get our brains wrapped around.
In real estate it seems everyone with a website has some type of tool they use for analytics. Google Analytics is popular because of the price (free), others like Webtrends are often included in hosting packages. More sophisticated and expensive products from companies like Omniture are also available. The bottom line is ALL of these products help you to better understand which content is popular, but tell you very little about your customer and their uniqueness.
I have been watching with interest, the trends with digital publishers such as newspapers and other paid subscription (SaaS) providers. I think of MLS organizations and other real estate service websites as being digital content providers with similar models. Some times the content is offered for a fee (MLS subscriptions), sometimes the content is free (real estate search sites) and sometimes the content is offered with a “pay-wall” where you have access to some information for free but additional information requires a “registration” process and often a fee (third party applications, VOW’s, and some real estate search sites).
Like other digital publishers, organizations in real estate can benefit from understanding not just what “content” is popular, but more about the actual “people” interacting with that content. Understanding the demand at the “user” level instead of the “content” level helps organizations to understand which users are getting value from your service and which are not. This information can be used to predict user behavior and open opportunities for revenue optimization.
I’m probably losing a few folks about now with all of these buzzwords so let me put this into simpler terms with an example. If I am an MLS organization, understanding my users’ behavior (based on their login activity combined with which content they find most valuable) I can make better decisions about future products and services. I can predict with leading indicators, as opposed to trailing indicators, changes in demand for my services along with changes in my market. Imagine being able to predict your own increase (or decrease) for demand to drive operational cost decisions ahead of time. Imagine being able to target sub-groups of your membership for additional product opportunities. Imagine understanding your user population well enough to consider the impact of a change to your pricing model.
These are just a few of the benefits of deploying “user based” analytics, such as those utilized in Clareity Security’s Scout for SAFEMLS product, to detect and report account sharing. We would love the opportunity to hear more about how MLS organizations, real estate website service providers, brokers and agents are using or would like to use analytics to better understand the health of their business, and we look forward to sharing success stories from other customers.
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