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Last summer in Chicagoland, Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) broke new ground by piloting a first-of-its-kind consumer engagement campaign to promote Homesnap, the consumer face of the Broker Public Portal (BPP). As one of the earliest Broker Public Portal MLS adopters, we launched an aggressive, two-pronged campaign effort to promote Homesnap. Our first focus was driving agent and broker adoption of Homesnap as an MRED member benefit. The second prong was to drive consumers to Homesnap.com and the Homesnap mobile app.

The results of our pilot are in, and they’re staggering: We achieved a 22-percent increase in Homesnap user sessions—nearly one million total Chicagoland user sessions—in addition to exceptional mobile app engagement. And, through our digital advertising efforts, our rookie campaign bested industry benchmarks for click-throughs and impressions.

The most important result is the value we delivered to our members through our consumer campaign. Industry research tells us that the average cost of advertising on a major real estate advertising portal in Chicago is about $300 per lead. By that calculus, MRED was able to deliver to its members an estimated $16 million in client leads. MRED members didn’t have to pay third-party advertisers a dime for those leads. This is a glowing example of how effective the Broker Public Portal can be at driving a cooperative alternative to the advertising portals.

BPP With Homesnap Delivers
When you go into your preferred app store, all you have to do is read the consumer reviews to see how in love homebuyers and sellers are with the Homesnap app. They’re more than just users; they’re avid fans.

One consumer will rave about the school map feature, while another will tout search by commute time. With our promotional activities, we found that consumers are still wowed by the fact that all they have to do is take a photo, and the property’s details pop up on their smartphone.

Agents describe using the Homesnap Pro app as being addictive—and it makes them look more professional. When agents use Homesnap Pro to walk a property with a prospect and show the property line live on their phone’s GPS, prospects tend to turn into clients.

Now a Million Agents Strong
In just a couple of years, BPP with Homesnap has become one of the most successful industry-born real estate initiatives. Most importantly, it has become a movement. Call it the Million Agent Movement, as a million agents now have access to Homesnap and Homesnap Pro through their MLSs.

The reasons are clear: Competition is important, and agents shouldn’t be forced to shell out hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars each month to buy client leads. They should have options. MLSs can play a vital role in helping directly connect more consumers with agents.

More Direct Consumer Outreach
At MRED, we’re at it again, working with all of our local REALTOR® Association partners in Illinois this spring and summer on an expanded consumer engagement campaign to show the incredible power that the BPP with Homesnap offers buyers and sellers. We plan to connect tens of thousands more consumers directly with agents.

The goal is to deliver more value to local associations and our agent and broker members, because making sure consumers have the best, most accurate data is what an MLS does best.

Rebecca Jensen is president and CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), with 45,000 real estate professional members serving Chicagoland and its surrounding counties. She’s on the board of the BPP, the Council of MLSs, and is the Board Chair of The MLS Grid. For more information, please visit www.brokerpublicportal.com or www.homesnap.com/bpp.