Rightmove finds a successful partnership home on Channel 4

  • Rightmove wanted to strengthen its position as the no. 1 property portal despite increasing competitor spend
  • With an ‘Own Property’ media strategy, Rightmove partnered with Channel 4 to have a presence in every property programme over four months
  • Web visits up 10% over the campaign period, followed by a record breaking month for site traffic in January 2015

The Challenge

In a nation obsessed with property, Rightmove had a tough challenge to remain not only the no. 1 property portal, but also one of the top ten biggest websites in the UK. Havas Media needed to ensure that, when it comes to searching for property, UK home buyers and renters were turning to Rightmove above all others.

Despite a healthy gap between Rightmove and its nearest rival, competitor spend had increased significantly. Havas Media therefore needed to spend its comparatively smaller budget as wisely and efficiently as possible to strengthen Rightmove’s market-leading position.

The TV Solution

Havas Media identified a primary target audience of 8 million people who visit property websites. This was made up of two key consumer audiences: active searchers looking to move in the next 12 months; passive searchers who like indulging their passion for property with a timeframe for moving longer than 12 months. In addition to property movers, estate agents were an important secondary audience that needed to be reached through the campaign.

January is a key month in the property market as it sees the highest volume of active buyers and sellers. Therefore, the four months leading up to the New Year are crucial for property portals – Rightmove needed to build site traffic across the final months of the year to be in the strongest possible positon to start 2015.

The strategy for this campaign was to ‘Own Property’ – diverting all funds into the select interest area of property programming, which was perfect for reaching both the consumer audience, as well as estate agents. The benefit of this singular strategy was that it allowed the budget to sustain visibility over a longer period of time than the previous TV strategy would have allowed. By focussing all spend in one area, it drove the perception that Rightmove’s activity was disproportionately larger than it actually was amongst a highly engaged audience.

Channel 4 was the perfect choice as it had a particularly strong selection of property programmes on TV, with some well-established, big rating shows. With the audience’s obsession with property, the media agency knew they would be regularly watching these shows. Sponsorship was the obvious route, but the strand had an existing sponsor, so Havas Media had to find an alternative route which would be just as effective.

The solution was an exclusive partnership with Channel 4 on the basis that the activity was to appear around property content only. This meant Rightmove would be in highly contextually relevant programming and would also allow it to be on air every week across the four months, delivering longevity.

The Plan

The partnership with Channel 4 was designed to get maximum stand out in property programming. The brand appeared in virtually every Channel 4 property show from September to December 2014, including hit shows like Grand Designs, George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and Location, Location, Location.

In addition to the 30” TV spot which ran across the majority of programmes, top-and-tail 10” spots also ran in the first centre break of a select number of broadcasts. These spots were bespoke to each programme format, mirroring the shows without infringing intellectual property. By aligning creative to editorial context in this way, maximum stand out was created by reflecting elements of the shows that the key audience was watching.

As the key target audiences were known to be time-poor, ads also ran in repeats on Channel 4+1, More 4 and on-demand on All 4. By using these repeat channels and the on demand platform, Rightmove could drive incremental reach by targeting time-shifted viewing.

The partnership allowed Rightmove to be on TV for 16 weeks, appearing in an average of 2-3 main channel property shows each week. Across those 16 weeks, the 30” equivalent ABC1 ratings were relatively low at 156 TVRs. However, to a property engaged consumer, the perceived weight would be considerably higher as they would have seen Rightmove week in week out in every Channel 4 property show.

This audio visual activity was then amplified on Rightmove’s owned social media channels. Social activity was planned to coincide dynamically with the shows’ broadcast times to maximise second screen interaction. This social content mirrored the TV creative - the bespoke nature of which harnessed earned behaviours. Havas Media knew that TV viewing and online search habits intertwined during the evening, so this was a great way to funnel engaged consumers to Rightmove’s website.


The campaign proved a great success, achieving both objectives.

Strengthen Rightmove’s position as the UK’s no. 1 property portal:

  • Across the course of the four month partnership to December, Rightmove saw a 10% growth in visits. Given that Rightmove is one of the biggest websites in the UK, that level of growth from such a significant base is very impressive.

Start 2015 in as strong a position as possible:

Thanks to the momentum built in the back end of 2014, January 2015 was a record month for site traffic to Rightmove, with over 100 million visits in a single month.

When people look for somewhere new to live, whether buying or renting, what they are really doing is looking for a place where they can feel happy…This Channel 4 partnership allowed us to speak to the most property-engaged consumers in Britain in a holistic and powerful yet cost efficient, way. That is what makes TV as a medium and property as a content strand on Channel 4 so powerful – it allows us to showcase that happy emotion straight into the homes of those who will be most interested in our offering in a very targeted manner

Iain Kennedy Head of Marketing, Rightmove



Sector: E-commerce

Brand: Rightmove  

Campaign objectives: To strengthen Rightmove’s position as the no. 1 property portal

Target Audience: All adults

Budget: Approx. £5m

Campaign Dates: The campaign ran from 3rd September to 31st December 2014

TV Usage: 30 and 10 second spots

Creative Agency: homebrew 

Media Agency:  Havas Media

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