Redfin vs Zillow: How Property Listing…

Redfin vs Zillow: How Property Listing Sites Can Compete

Redfin vs Zillow: How can national listing sites compete locally, and how can local sites compete on a national scale? In this post, we dig into strategies for both national and local listing services to compete in a fast-moving market.


Real estate listings are a big business — but website rankings for most of the top players (Zillow, Trulia,, etc.) have held steady for years. As you see below, the relative visit share for the top US listing websites has shown very little movement over the past year:

Visit Share – Top 10 Real Estate Listing Sites

Redfin vs Zillow YoY Line Graph

That being said, competition amongst listing sites is fiercer on a local level. Although Zillow gets more total traffic nationwide (since it’s the largest player in this space), below you can see several cities where other listing sites get proportionally more traffic (therefore have a higher visitation index). For example, Redfin has more relative engagement from people living in Seattle than any of the other listing sites do. With a better understanding of local website performance, national listing sites can effectively compete with each other by focusing efforts on their top performing cities.

Redfin vs Zillow DMA breakdown

Source: Website visit share for the top real estate listing sites charted from 1/17/2017 to 1/18/2018. Visitation index based on audience overlap between visitors to the top listing websites, and residents of Seattle, NYC, Detroit and Louisville DMAs, based on 4 weeks ending 2/10/2018


How can smaller listing sites survive in such a competitive market?

It turns out that there is plenty of room for smaller, more localized listings to succeed. Rather than blindly fighting for a bigger piece of the pie, smaller listings must understand how big the pie is, what piece of the pie they want, and how much of that piece they are getting.

For example, Reece Nichols, which is based in Kansas City and focuses on local listings, should not only measure how much traffic they are getting each quarter, but also these two KPIs…

Reece Nichols – Real Estate Benchmarking

redfin vs zillow reecenichols missouri

Target audience reach: What percentage of people are they reaching who are seeking real estate and live in Missouri?

Visit share in the real estate industry: What is their share of the real estate pie? This KPI enables them to know for certain whether website traffic growth is just part of an overall market spike, or Reece Nichols is genuinely winning more available business.

Source: Benchmarking chart based on reach (percentage of people within Missouri who have visited their website) and visit share (percentage of visits from within the Real Estate industry). Q3: 14 weeks ending 9/30/2017, Q4: 14 weeks ending 12/30/2017 and Q1 thusfar: 7 weeks ending 2/17/2018.


Continuing with our example of Reece Nichols, it intuitively makes that sense this local listing service over-indexes with people living in or near Kansas City. As you see below, has more relative audience overlap with people living in Kansas City and Topeka than bigger listing sites:

Audience Overlap Index

City Residents vs. Listing Site Visitors

redfin vs zillow local dmas

However, it’s more surprising to learn that also has a higher overlap index with residents
 of Pittsburgh, located 840+ miles away. It appears that people in Pittsburgh are more likely to research real estate specifically around Missouri, so it may be valuable for Reece Nichols to geotarget advertisements in this city. They also might consider digging deeper into other cities, to identify new out-of-state regions where they can attract prospective home buyers who are toying with the idea of buying property in Missouri.

redfin vs zillow pittsburgh

Source: Visitation indices based on the audience overlap between Kansas City, Topeka and Pittsburgh, against visitors to,, and Red, over 4 weeks ending 2/10/2018.

This report was excerpted from our 2018 Real Estate Report, which details the latest real estate market trends, competitive strategy for listing sites, and data-driven tactics for commercial real estate development.

Find out where you stand against the competition. Learn about competitive benchmarking here.

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