In a way, RE Technology is a sand box for WAV Group. We get the opportunity to look at patterns of behavior and communications among real estate agents and brokers on a macro level and a micro level. Recently, we began to modify activities to determine how it may impact RE Technology readership. Our latest test was to change the time that the RE Technology daily digest goes out.
The RE Technology daily digest is an interesting communication tool. Only agents who opt into getting the RE Technology newsletter receive it. Most agents choose to access RE Technology content through the message of the day in their MLS system. I appreciate that many agents do not want any more email. Regardless, our staff came up with the idea that the digest should go out in the morning before Inman News and RIS Media. RE Technology is not a news site, but we do publish press releases in the digest. The notion was that our audience would get our newsletter first; read it first; and think that we were closer to the pulse of the industry. It sounded like a good argument, so we set it, and forgot about it.
Recently, we made upgrades to the daily digest. Readers wanted to be able to share the digest with others, and wanted to be able to access past newsletters as a reference. We added this functionality and when we pushed the new newsletter to our production servers, we once again discussed the timing. Traditionally, the digest started sending at 3 a.m. PST; 6 a.m. EST. We developed a new theory based upon personal habits that, when an agent gets to their computer in the morning, their inbox is stuffed with newsletters and they scan them and delete them as quickly as possible. That is what I do. Why would an agent or broker be any different? The team agreed to move the time to 8 a.m. PST, 11 EST to see how our traffic would change. Presumably when you send tens of thousands of emails at a different time of the day, user behavior will change…. Guess what…. Here is the illustration
As you can see from the chart – we compared 5 days of traffic in June (250,000 visits) to another 5 days of traffic in July (250,000 visits). We only looked at Monday through Friday. Monday is our biggest traffic day where we reach about 4000 concurrent visitors around 11 a.m. EST and that runs through about 3 PM Eastern. We see a fast ramp in the morning and a slow drag in the afternoon. Time of day makes no difference in click through rates for our daily digest.
The only thing that changed during these two periods was the time that the daily digest gets delivered. Time of day did not change the behavior. In fact, the behavior was almost exactly the same. To control our test, we did not launch any new MLSs in June or July because we needed to collect some baseline behavior for A-B testing. The data we collected during the past two months is instrumental in informing our second generation eCommerce application (SEE Success Store) along with Version 2 of RE Technology which is set to launch before NAR in November. Now that the data is collected, we will be launching RE Technology to 60,000 more agents in the next few weeks, so the growth will begin again!
Key Take Aways:
- The MLS Message of the day is the best way to reach agents and brokers.
- Sending email before office hours or during morning hours makes no difference in readership or click-through rates.