Just 4% of sales leads from the portals are resulting in an accepted offer, while only 2.9% of lettings leads convert into a tenancy.
Software supplier Reapit describes the sales figure as “surprisingly small” – but says it is actually a slight improvement on the 3.2% it recorded last year.
It urged agents to look at the rate of return on investment when looking at marketing costs.
The firm says that Rightmove continues to dominate the source of sales leads overall (largely due to more of the agents included in the analysis using Rightmove), with an average of 165 per office, against 112 from Zoopla and 25 from OnTheMarket.
Zoopla did better with lettings leads with an average of 198 per office, but still lagged Rightmove with 210. OnTheMarket averaged 29.
Despite the low overall percentage, Rightmove’s leads generated the most sales, with 5,269 successful leads compared to Zoopla at 1,330 and OnTheMarket 225.
The percentage of applicants that converted to instructions rose significantly from those recorded last year, but still represents a modest one in every 61 inquiries received.
The Reapit analysis also shows that over half (55%) of internet inquiries to agents are made outside business hours, and that almost one third (29%) of lettings inquiries are ignored.
Weekday evenings after 9pm remain the busiest periods of the week for both sales and lettings internet registrations, a pattern consistent with Reapit’s 2016 analysis.
This spike coincides with many agents becoming unavailable to contact via telephone, but also when television audiences are at their peak and portal advertising has the widest reach. Sunday afternoons also see a large amount of activity.
Although a relatively small proportion, lettings activity between midnight and 6am totals 7.2%, slightly higher than sales at 5.5%, reinforcing the fact that business happens out of hours.
According to the data, approximately 29% of lettings inquiries and 20% of sales inquiries were not processed, with no corresponding contact record or activity related to the original registration.
This has slightly improved from 2016 (32% for lettings and 24% for sales).
Simon Whale, director at Reapit, said: “These leads may well have been contacted, but no record of them in the database limits what can be done in the longer term.
“The need to respond to a significant volume of inquiries on weekday mornings from registrations that have come in during times when offices are closed remains.”
Whale added:“The lead conversion ratios are a key metric for every agent to establish for their own portal leads when considering an ROI from their spend on the ever-increasing prices and options offered for marketing properties.”
When it comes to lettings, a total of 2.9% of registrations generated an arranged tenancy. Like the sales leads, this figure was slightly up from last year when the proportion was 2.3%.
Each office in the analysis arranged an average of 7.5 tenancies from 253 registrations.
There are several hurdles to cross between an initial registration and an arranged tenancy, but just the duplicates and unprocessed alone reduce the funnel by 41% in total. The very best-performing office in the analysis was generating tenancies from their portal leads almost five times more effectively than the average.
It is also noteworthy that all of the offices in the top ten had no unprocessed registrations.
Whale said: “Many of the statistics in this research demonstrate that the way in which agents serve clients at first point of contact needs to be modernised.
“Not only do many inquiries go unanswered until normal working hours, but many more never actually result in successful contact.
“Moreover, the time to deal with these registrations manually represents a significant administrative burden.
“It really is crucial that agents find ways of communicating out of hours in order to meet the demands of today’s consumer.”