Stranger Things. Narcos. House of Cards. What do these all have in common other than being awesome shows? These shows were masterfully created and engineered to be the most-watched series on Netflix.
Having a system that tracks user behavior and data is pointless unless you actually use the information you collect to improve your business. Analyzing user behavior is exactly how executives at Netflix created hit series that they knew would captivate their consumers.
This was not by luck or chance. User behavior helped Netflix to make calculated and data-driven decisions that catapulted their business to unbelievable success. With the same notion, implementing user behavior can catapult your real estate business to success as well.
What Real Estate Can Learn From Netflix
Home sales in the Information Age has provided agents with an endless supply of tools and advanced technology that focus on getting your services in front of more consumers or streamlining the sales process. All invaluable to the savvy salesperson. Yet these tools pale in comparison to the concept of data and user behavior.
The idea is certainly not new. We are surrounded by custom content, curated based on our user behavior, like advertisements based on our internet browsing or suggested content based on our social media behavior. But what about using the behavior of a customer in a way that they feel they came to a decision organically, on their own volition. That is a level of mastery few companies and even industries have yet to achieve. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is Netflix’s streaming services and original content.
How Netflix Leverages Data
Collecting (and leveraging) data is not new. With the success of dotcom businesses and the rising power of analytics, many assume “user behavior” has been limited to interactions online. But that’s far from the truth. Collecting data isn’t only for large corporations and website-driven companies. It’s for anyone.
Wal-Mart used data obtained from barcode scanners (which were new in the 1990’s), and gave it to their suppliers. Wal-Mart and their partner factories analyzed their shoppers’ behavior. With this, they gained price advantages, streamlined shipments, and improved operations … all to beat K-mart.
Netflix utilized data they had been collecting since they were a DVD rental-by-mail company. This allowed them to carry lower inventory on less popular movies and TV Shows. The data points they collected on users translated incredibly well when they added streaming services, lowering their overhead costs and streaming content they knew users would watch.
Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, took it a step further. He used current and historical data from streaming users — and then had his team build an entirely new show destined to succeed … because it was based on data.
The data points told them which genre would be most widely received, which directors were most watched, and which plotlines were popular. They threw this all together and came up with a political drama loosely based on a popular British TV show, directed by David Fincher. It also allowed them to cast the right actors. At the time Kevin Spacey was wildly popular with their users. This data helped them build the framework for a show, but they kept leveraging data to define the finer points, like plotline, mood, and scenery. This resulted in the groundbreaking Netflix original House of Cards. And we all know how successful that was.
Other companies have since caught on. Now, leveraging big data and user behavior to curate content and predict future behavior is almost commonplace.
How You Can Leverage Data
The way that tech giants like Netflix, Google and Amazon collect massive amounts of data and user behavior to influence an action is not entirely divorced from the real estate industry. In fact, agents have many tools at their disposal that allow them to leverage this data and, in some cases, even predict a prospect’s future behavior. This process can be so nuanced that clients often think an agent is reaching out by happenstance or that they have come to a conclusion on their own, when in fact the agent used the data to point them down the right path and into a home.
There are many tools out there, of which many agents are already properly using. Listing Alerts, website usage, IDX searches, mortgage calculations, online property views, favoriting or saving properties online, online home valuations, just to name a few. All these tools are invaluable to data collection and making sure a prospect is primed and ready to buy.
For agents looking to adopt the concept of big data and user behavior, they need to find solutions that leverage and collect it properly. When looking for solutions, it’s imperative for agents to find something that marries the user’s experience with their backend solution or CRM. This way, the data is not only collected but also actionable. When shopping for new solutions ask yourself the following:
- Does it collect user behavior?
For instance, your IDX website should collect everything a visitor does on the front end of the website. From property views all the way to what device they used. The more data the better.
- Where is the data fed?
Getting a user’s behavior sent to you in a registration email or notification is not useful. It needs to be collected, aggregated and organized.
- Is the data actionable?
It is true that big data focuses on capturing everything, in the off chance it could be used in the future (think Netflix). However in home sales we want to focus mostly on the immediate to 12 month buying cycle. Still, everything else is useful to identify trends.
- What is the value of the users data?
Not all data is created equal, and can be distracting at times. A prime example is the collection of location based off IP addresses. While common, they are rarely a true indicator of the location of that buyer, and can actually confuse an agent.
- Is it easy to use?
Does the solution take out the guesswork? If the tool can provide the best opportunities based off the user behavior, you have a winner.
In this below video, data scientist Sebastian Wernicke delivers a TED Talk titled “ How To Use Data To Make a Hit TV Show. In it, he discusses how to use data the right way to make strategic data-driven decisions while avoiding common pitfalls.
We have also created a side by side comparison of the behaviors that Netflix tracks, and similar behaviors that agents and brokers can track to help the convert and close more leads.
Big data and user behavior should be on every real estate professional’s mind right now. It is changing the face of the industry. Embracing and mastering it will skyrocket your sales opportunities. Leveraging user behavior should always be at the forefront of your sales process. Find out how the BoomTown system tracks every action to empower you and your agents with insights they can act on.