Industry Blogs, Mortgage, Real Estate

Zillow owns the real estate reviews marketplace. Here’s why it’s a threat to your brand.

Zillow has quickly become the most popular review platform for real estate agents, even surpassing Google, Yelp, and industry-specific review sites by Redfin, Realtor.com, and Trulia. If you are an agent, you likely have spent time asking your happy customers to leave you reviews on Zillow. With over 196 million monthly unique users, it is clear that Zillow owns the real estate marketplace. So why should your brand be worried?

In 2018, there were 7.182 billion visits to the site and a whopping 41% of people who visit the site in the past 12 months are planning to buy or sell a home in the next year. Building a strong number of reviews on Zillow.com makes sense – that’s where buyers and sellers are. But there are a few things to know about Zillow and reviews.

Zillow’s stated mission is to be the “end-to-end ecosystem” for a consumer’s real estate transaction. This was said by Zillow CEO, Richard Barton at Inman Connect Las Vegas, in 2019. 

As a real estate or mortgage professional, what exactly does this mission mean for your business? Well, by asking customers to leave reviews on Zillow, you’re filtering them into a ‘real estate ecosystem,’ and risk losing them. Zillow has their own agents that dominate the platform, and pay to run ads. Zillow houses a lot of competitors, and therefore is your competitor.

In the mortgage industry, we have what’s known as the “slow boil frog” effect. Instead of starting as a competitor, Zillow eased their way into the space as a resource for lenders to get business with leads or co-marketing with agents. Instead of trying to get you to jump into the hot water, they’ve slowly been turning up the heat. 

The more traffic you send to Zillow, the more data you give them, the more comfortable your customer gets with Zillow being their first stop, the more market share they gain. Zillow isn’t the only online lender competing for your business, so is it really in your best interest to continue to help them grow?

Here are a few key points to consider before sending your happy customers directly to Zillow to leave reviews.

1. Your reviewers are automatically Zillow customers

When you direct customers to Zillow.com to leave a review, they’re always required to create a profile. Once they do this, your happy customer will now be marketed to by Zillow, including all of the real estate agents that pay Zillow to run ads. 

Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey)’s robust review generation features send your happy clients to leave a review that is amplified to multiple sites, including your own SEO-friendly review page. We prompt your clients to push the review to Zillow – the difference is, you own your reviews. 

2. You can’t easily share reviews to your site

It can be difficult to push reviews to your website from Zillow, and there are limitations associated with getting those reviews published. Reviews of the Zillow share that in order to have all of your reviews posted to your own webpage, you need to pay for a higher membership tier on Zillow. 

There are many other review sites, including Google My Business, where your prospects are searching. The most effective way to boost your search presence is to capture reviews so they are amplified across multiple sites. Learn more about how Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey) captures your happy reviews and uses them as SEO fuel.  

3. Reviews can be delayed and hard to share

When a customer leaves a review on Zillow, the review is sometimes held for up to three weeks before publishing. There are also strict guidelines for the reviews that are posted. The reviews are also only indexable on Zillow.com, so there is a lot to be desired in terms of integration and review amplification. Ideally, you would be able to use your reviews however you like, and share them across multiple channels, to improve your SEO presence.

We think that your reviews should be available quickly for prospects to see. With Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey)’s workflows, you can request customers leave reviews, and those reviews are available immediately online, with the option to share on the sites you care about. 

4. Reviews can be rejected

There are certainly good reasons why an offensive post may be taken down on a site. But you need to be aware that Zillow has a few guidelines for reviews that they post. If the post is too short or does not have a lot of detail, it may be rejected. You may be missing out on some important reviews, positive or negative.

Negative reviews are just as valuable as positive reviews. While some of our competitors believe that negative reviews should be quarantined and hidden, we think that seeing ALL feedback can help you drive behavioral change. 

With the power of automation in the Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey) platform, your feedback requests are automatically sent at critical customer touch points, like listing, and final close, and your reviews are shared on multiple sites. With your own profile page, you can aggregate all of your reviews across all of your industry-specific sites, like Zillow, and the top social sites, like Facebook, Google, and more. By using a true experience platform, you are capturing more actionable feedback and sharing that feedback in more places. 

The reach of Zillow is wide, there’s no debating that; there’s a reason they get over 7 billion searches per year. We’re not suggesting that you completely cut out Zillow, rather to be cautious about the drawbacks that come with exclusively sending your clients to this industry giant. If you want to capture, store, and get the most immediate impact out of your reviews, we happen to know someone who can help you out. 

1 Comment
  • BRADLEY
    4:27 PM, 9 December 2020

    What a very helpful post it is. I have learned something new today.

Comments are closed.

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