The potential dangers of using market comparisons tool data incorrectly in local marketing campaigns were highlighted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today following a complaint to it about Bolton-based Harrisons Estate Agent.
A competitor, Miller Metcalfe, complained to the ASA about a leaflet distributed by Harrisons that urged potential customers to “join the fastest growing estate agent in Bolton” and that it was “first out of 79 agents… our results speak for themselves”.
The leaflet also included a pie chart showing Harrisons’ market share compared to other agents accompanied by text saying “sales agreed report” alongside a list of local postcodes.
This will all be familiar fare to any agent who uses the Rightmove Intel tool and its Market Share Reports, which come with a strict ‘user guidelines’ manual for agents using data taken from the tool in marketing activity.
This, among many points, stipulates that “report results are subject to the geographical context and property criteria which have been defined by the user, and as such this must be clearly referenced alongside any use of the data” and that data should be used in a “professional manner”.
Harrisons appears to have stuck to the guidelines except in one element, it was claimed by Miller Metcalfe, which believed that the data referred to in the ad was “out of date”.
“We contacted the advertiser who informed us the claims were based on Rightmove data that is valid for 90 days,” says an ASA spokesperson. “They also informed us the 90 days were now up and the claims had been amended in their new advertising.
“Because we understood the problematic claims were no longer appearing, we considered no further action was necessary and closed the case on an informal basis.”