When it comes to advertising your property online, Australians will find their options generally come down to two major players: realestate.com.au and Domain.
But which is number one?
As it turns out, the two companies have been asking themselves the same question – and the dispute landed them in court. Back in February the Federal Court ruled that for at least some advertising, Domain engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct when it called itself the “number one” property platform for certain categories.
But legal battles aside, which is better for listing your property?
There are plenty of factors to consider - you want to make sure your property gets seen by the most number of people, so it makes sense to perform as much due diligence on these sites as possible.
We’ve done the hard yards and crunched the numbers to find out which is the better platform.
Let’s take a look:
This is the most fundamental question: how many people are going to each website? Clearly, both sites are popular – but one has the edge. The latest research from Roy Morgan, which tracked both websites from April 2015 to March 2016, found that realestate.com.au gets an average of 4.3 million unique visitors during an average four-week period, while Domain scored 3.1 million.
So, realestate.com.au has the slight edge with pure numbers. That should be the end of the story, right?
Not exactly. According to Roy Morgan, there are a huge number of people who actually visit both sites – 48% of REA’s audience goes to Domain, and 68% of Domain’s audience goes to REA. About 39% of the combined audience goes to both sites.
Source: Roy Morgan
You should also consider who is going to each website – they have different demographics. According to Roy Morgan:
“Of the one million people who access Domain and not realestate.com.au in a four-week period, over 30% are Mid-Life Households, aged 45-65 with no children under 16 still at home. For realestate.com.au, a similar proportion of its 2.3 million exclusive audience is Young Parents, aged under 45 and with kids.”
So while realestate.com.au may have more traffic as a whole, it’s also fair to say it depends on your target tenants or buyers when deciding where to advertise your property.
Number of listings
Clearly, traffic is just one piece of a puzzle. It also comes down to where your property is located. For instance, Domain might be more popular in certain cities or regional areas, even though realestate.com.au might be more popular overall.
The great way to figure out who is stronger in your suburb is simply compare the number of listings. Renters and buyers don’t want to miss out on a property so they’ll go where the most listings are.
We’ve taken snapshots of suburbs and regional areas in each state, selected randomly, to get an idea of where Domain and realestate.com.au really go head-to-head.
Each state has comparisons for both “for rent” and “for sale” listings. For instance, here’s a snapshot of Victoria:
If you download the report, you’ll see that the results differ from state to state, and from suburb to suburb. Though generally realestate.com.au has the edge with more listings, which lines up with the fact the site also has more traffic.
Simply download the report to find out how your state shapes up!
But as we all know, looking at one element only helps us so much. We have to look at the rest of the picture, and there’s still plenty to consider…
Advertising a property is one thing – but finding it is another. And as someone advertising a property, you obviously want to make sure that it’s easy to locate once people actually get to the website.
So how easy is it?
Searching on realestate.com.au is fairly straightforward. Both have a good range of search options but realestate.com.au has the edge again here, allowing people to search for properties in slightly more detail. However, both allow users to search with keywords which covers any particular search topic.
This also comes down to what you’re used to - some like realesate.com.au, and some like Domain. I prefer to use the map search on realestate.com.au to really hone in on a particular neighbourhood.
But let’s face it, using a traditional website isn’t the only way people search for properties these days…
Which app is better?
Both realestate.com.au and Domain have smartphone apps available – but just like the websites, it comes down to traffic. How many people are using them?
For this we can actually look to the court case mentioned at the beginning back in February between realestate.com.au and Domain. According to the ruling, realestate.com.au said its app had been downloaded 4.8 million times as of October 2015, and argued that Domain had only recorded 4.2 million downloads by that same time.
However, it also said that in the five months to February 2016, Domain only trailed realestate.com.au’s app by 19,000 downloads.
The judge in the case said the evidence showed that realestate.com.au had been downloaded more times in that specific period, which allowed the site to say it had the “number one app”.
Now, download numbers change all the time - and the leads could have changed. But the ruling does gel with the other traffic data from Roy Morgan which suggests as a whole, realestate.com.au is slightly more popular.
But again this could be due simply to the number of listings. I have spoken to many people who much prefer the usability of the Domain mobile app over realestate.com.au.
What about other features?
As it turns out, both websites provide a similar amount of information on their listings.
When it comes to these extra little touches, both sites come out on par – though Domain does have a slight edge when it comes to providing extra data about the suburb in which the listing lies.
The big question: how much does it actually cost to list on these sites?
Anyone can advertise a property for rent or sale directly onto Domain. Here are the prices:
These are for standard listings. If you want a bigger ad higher up on the search results you can pay extra dollars $$ and upgrade.
Realestate.com.au is a little different. In order to advertise you must be a licenced real estate agent and be registered with the site, which costs a subscription fee. Similar to Domain you can upgrade to a bigger ad and get it higher on the search results.
Realestate.com.au is more popular for upgraded advertising - who doesn’t want to be up the top of the listings, right?
See the three rental upgrades. (Buy listings look the same)
The prices for each upgrade are very complicated. They vary greatly depending on the subscription type of the agent has and suburb of the property.
For example, a Premiere Property upgrade for rent may cost any from $200 - $600 whereas a Premiere property upgrade for sale can cost you anywhere from from $600 to $5,000 for 45 days. Pretty crazy! But it does replace the huge print advertising costs in the local rag.
So which is better?
Based on all the metrics we’ve examined here, it’s pretty clear that realestate.com.au comes out on top for most metrics – whether it’s popularity or the number of features available to prospective tenants or buyers.
From my own real estate background over the past 10 years and working here at Cubbi I’ve found realestate.com.au to be stronger compared to Domain in most locations around Australia. However, Domain is still very strong in Sydney and Melbourne.
So it’s so tight race between the two. But I think it’s important to cast your net as wide as possible so you don’t miss out on any leads.
The other thing to consider is your tenants or buyers might be coming from interstate where one website is stronger than the other and they’ll continue to use the same site they always have. Just another reason to advertise on both.
We also don’t think it should cost a fortune.
That’s why we provide listing services as part of our offering that includes ads on both realestate.com.au and Domain…
...and it’ll be cheaper than if you did it yourself.
The best part? We act as a platform, not an agency – so you can bypass traditional real estate agents entirely and simply let us to advertise your property on all the websites.
And when you pay Cubbi to list your property, you pay one fee until it’s leased. No extensions, no per week fee - just one price and you’re done.