It’s been a bumpy ride for OnTheMarket (OTM) since they launched and so far it seems that they are on a downward spiral to failure. There aren’t many that will be surprised at this fact, as when you enter such a competitive modern space with such an archaic, backwards approach, there can only be one result.
For a long time OTM has been judging its success on nothing more than traffic levels, as let’s face it, there is nothing else for them to shout about. However recently they have been trying to shift the emphasis away from traffic, as it has become increasingly clear that the goals they had set and promises they had sold agents on, were totally unrealistic.
We also stated previously that the traffic they have been so vocal about since launch, was in fact purchased and this was unsustainable given how poor the engagement metrics on their website are.
The shift away from focusing on their traffic is a clear indicator that OTM (and some of its most vocal defenders) do not understand the role of portals in the property market, or the role of digital marketing in their businesses.
Portals are a digital media channel, a means of connecting consumers and agents, which the large portals do well as they have huge audiences.
Without an audience of meaningful size, what use is a portal, and if not focused on its traffic, then what use is OTM?
Interestingly our prediction about OTM buying the majority of its traffic being unsustainable appears to have come true as they have significantly reduced their pay-per-click (PPC) activity recently and have seen a material drop in traffic as a result.
The data speaks for itself and shows that the majority of visits to OTM are bought and, raises obvious questions about the financial health of OTM.
And as a result, a bi-product of this lack of traffic is of course a lack of any meaningful leads for its member agents. There can be no argument that as the two portal powerhouses, Rightmove and Zoopla generate a vast amount of top quality leads. When you remove one of these and replace it with the pitiful offering from OTM, it’s clearly going to result in your leads being halved, or more. It’s the equivalent of removing a jet engine from one of the wings a Boeing 747 and replacing it with a wind powered windmill you’d buy your child at the seaside.
If I were a high street agent that had fallen foul of OTM’s hot air, I’d be rather peeved right now and probably be jumping ship like a number of their other members already have.
Mr Springett can continue to mislead his remaining members with talks of a big marketing push on the horizon. But honestly, what is the point? Claiming that actual data is “understated” is nothing but a scramble to further brush the reality under the carpet.
All I can say to Mr Springett is to thank him yet again for banning online agents from OTM. He claims OTM won’t have to “resort” to crowdfunding but my advice would be, don’t bother anyway. Unlike his high street member agents, the public aren’t so easily led and will need a great deal more than traffic figures before they’re convinced to jump aboard a sinking ship.