Tracking usage data across web-based tools has become an essential process for modern organizations to gather business intelligence. More than just a tactic for technology companies, Internet data tracking has become a valuable tool for MLSs, associations, brokerages and their technology partners.
The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Internet Tracking Workgroup has been hard at work creating a national tracking standard to streamline the process of providing quality data to industry stakeholders. Workgroup Chair, Chris Lambrou, Chief Information Officer for Metro MLS in Milwaukee, is one of RESO’s most ardent volunteers. He also is an award-winning software architect, a customer service activist and a self-described “IT mongrel.”
In a recent conversation with Lambrou, he spoke about the RESO Internet Tracking Workgroup’s development of a standard to improve the business intelligence that real estate organizations can derive from their digital tools.
“The goal of the workgroup is to provide a standard on tracking metrics in real estate products, giving us the ability to benefit everyone involved in different ways,” said Lambrou. “We identified the Internet tracking methods currently being used in the industry and adapted that in our spec.”
Tracking Data Through Standard Reports
According to Lambrou, the Internet tracking standards are being refined to create metrics and reports for professionals to clearly analyze data for insights that reach across the technology spectrum. “This year, the Internet Tracking Workgroup has been focusing on the metrics,” said Lambrou. “As part of this effort, we created a new Internet Tracking Summary Report – a template – for participants to use and provide to their customers / members.”
Continued Lambrou, “The report includes a list of the fields for Internet tracking that we feel are ‘must-have analytics’ in real estate products. The idea is that real estate products should be able to provide this data in their normal usage reports. If they don’t already provide usage reports, it’s time they did!”
With a fully baked Internet tracking and reporting standard in place, MLS executives, brokers and agents using digital tools will begin to expect and demand these kinds of data-driven reports for their businesses, said Lambrou. “We believe participation and implementation should grow and snowball.”
Plug-and-Play Analytics Dashboards
“Once the Internet Tracking Report is commonplace, we can begin to look at its data set for something even more profound: plug-and-play analytics,” said Lambrou. “This is a concept where dashboards can be created that display the same metrics from various platforms, via API.”
Continued Lambrou, “Much like a CRM that lets you import contacts, an analytic display would import the Internet tracking data of your listings. You would just enter the API info needed from any vendor that supported it. This ‘create your own dashboard’ style, would save the stakeholders hours, if not days, in gathering and compiling the metrics from various vendors and let them focus, instantly, on studying the data.”
Tracking and Sharing Data Seamlessly
Having a way to track data was an important goal. Being able to share that data in a common standard was also essential to making this easily usable for industry participants, according to Lambrou.
“We then looked at a transport method so those who wanted to track the data could share that data with each other, and that’s where the RESO Web API came into play,” said Lambrou.
This is a critically important part of the RESO process. Standards are shared and vetted across workgroups to ensure that they work well with one another.
When a standard for Internet tracking works seamlessly with standard data sets (the RESO Data Dictionary), data sharing standards (the RESO Web API) and other workgroup standards, the industry can ensure more interoperability between tools. Quality data and insights can be passed seamlessly between countless technology systems.
The new Internet Tracking Report is part of the upcoming RESO Data Dictionary 1.8. release.
Lambrou’s dedication to RESO comes from a belief that collaboration under a broad umbrella is the only way that a truly valuable standard can reach a critical mass of adoption.
“This powerful concept can only be delivered via a national real estate standards organization like RESO,” said Lambrou. “This is a beginning of a movement in the real estate industry, and it is movements like this that will help create the interoperability that we need from real estate products.”
About the Internet Tracking Summary Report
The RESO Internet Tracking Summary Report is designed to help working professionals in the RESO community streamline the analysis of how their products are being consumed by their users. It provides an outline or template of analytics that the Internet Tracking Workgroup recommends be provided to customers of real estate-related software products in an easy-to-read summary of tracked events.
There are four Internet Tracking Summary Report types addressing different business sectors and needs. These include a listing-centric report, a report that tracks the activity of a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) report, a summary that tracks property showing events and a system-tracking report.
- The listing-centric tracking report summarizes total listing views and total properties favorited, shared and emailed.
- The CMA tracking report provides a summary of total CMAs/reports created, run, shared and emailed.
- The showing report summarizes total showings requested and completed.
- The system-related report provides total logins, unique logins and mobile logins.
Get Involved with RESO and Internet Tracking
The RESO Internet Tracking Workgroup welcomes input and invites every interested RESO member to participate in its workgroup meetings. These meetings are held remotely throughout the year and in-person at RESO’s Spring Technology Summit and Fall Conference.DLU January 27th, 2020