An estate agent that claimed Rightmove and Zoopla have different audiences has been scolded by the advertising watchdog.
East midlands firm Kirk Estates used a Venn diagram in local press advertising, with intersecting circles showing how property listings were distributed across the two giant portals.
The circle representing Rightmove properties was slightly larger than that representing Zoopla properties.
The diagram showed “properties unique to Rightmove”, “properties unique to Zoopla” and “properties on Zoopla and Rightmove”.
Under the diagram, a table gave the number of visitors, agents and properties available on each, and said that 554,000 properties were on Zoopla and 727,000 on Rightmove.
A headline on Kirk Estates’ advert said: “Different audiences use Rightmove & Zoopla, that’s why at Kirk Estates we use BOTH to market your property.”
A footnote quoted theadvisory.co.uk* as its source.
Spicerhaart complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, saying that the Venn diagram presented the data in a way that implied Zoopla had a larger share of available properties than was the case.
Spicerhaart specifically challenged whether the claim that distinct segments of the property-buying public were exclusive to specific portals was correct and could be substantiated; and whether the way in which the data was presented was misleading.
Kirk Estates told the ASA that it had taken the number of properties from the home pages of the portals themselves. The diagram had been sourced from the third-party website which it described as a highly credible and recognised impartial advice site.
Regarding the claim “Different audiences use Rightmove and Zoopla”, Kirk Estates stated that it carried out a survey on Facebook and other social media platforms, and also sent letters to their clients and other members of the public.
It said that some individuals preferred one portal and some the other, but that the majority use one first and then the other, in order to benefit from functions on both sites.
It stated that a documented survey was not required because it was a fact widely reported across property news.
Kirk Estates also provided an email from Rightmove, which post-dated the publication of the ad, stating that on January 29 there were 973,951 properties for rental and sale on the site.
However, the ASA upheld both Spicerhaart’s complaints.
It said that Kirk Estates had not provided the results of its survey, and had not produced evidence to demonstrate that the portals each had an exclusive audience not shared by the other.
Of the Venn diagram, it said that Kirk Estates had not provided evidence to demonstrate that the numbers quoted in its advert were correct when it went to press. The email from Rightmove which gave a figure for listings post-dated the advert and did not break down the number of sales properties.
The ASA noted the source was credited to a third-party site, but Kirk Estates had not provided details as to where the diagram could be found or the veracity of the data. It was the responsibility of the advertiser to provide evidence to substantiate the accuracy of the diagram.
Kirk Estates, whose registered address is in Poole, Dorset, has been told not to use the advert again.
*Eye note (not part of ASA ruling):
www.theadvisory.co.uk is a website which advises sellers how to sell fast, including sale and rent-back. It also advises sellers on how to avoid estate agents’ fees, and strongly promotes online agents – specifically Tepilo, Hatched and Housenetwork.
The site tells users that the key to selling a home is to put it on the portals. It names the top five as Rightmove, Zoopla, FindaProperty, Propertyfinder and Primelocation, giving figures alongside each of “unique buyers” per month. Neither FindaProperty nor Propertyfinder operate any longer as brands. The site displays a Venn diagram updated in January to show OnTheMarket.
Below is the Venn diagram now displayed