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Agents set to target consumers by tapping into the ‘digital environment’

The change in customer behaviour driven by technological developments is the biggest trend that marketers believe will offer the greatest opportunities and challenges in digital marketing, and that largely explains why 65% of estate agents plan to harness social media to promote listings in 2020. 

New research by Zoopla has revealed changing consumer behaviour means digital marketing is set to be a major focus for agents in the year ahead. 

This, along with other findings about how homehunters are searching for property, are highlighted as part of Zoopla’s annual State of the Property Nation survey - a nationally representative consumer sample of 6,000 people, and more than 650 agents, from across the sales and letting landscape.


The study found that 12% of house hunters now use Facebook to browse for residential properties, a 50% increase on the 8% recorded 12 months ago. 

While social media is increasingly important, 47% of consumers are aiming to stay on top of new properties coming onto the market by setting up email alerts via property portals. 


Across the UK, email alerts are most popular with Londoners, where 64% are signed up to receive these, reflecting the increased competition for properties in the city. 

Portals remain important to agents and house hunters, with 77% of consumers surveyed using portals to conduct their property search. 

Unsurprisingly, two thirds - 65% of renter and buyer leads now originate from a property portal, according to the agents surveyed.

A fifth - 20% - of consumers now have a property app installed on their digital devices, whether active in the market or not.  

Andy Marshall, chief commercial officer at Zoopla, said: “The industry is adapting to changes in consumer behaviour and looking to capitalise on the amount of time that prospective buyers and vendors spend in the digital environment. This is nowhere more apparent than in the research stages of buying, selling or renting a new home; agents know this, which is why more of them are embracing digital marketing than ever before.

“Indeed, 53% of agents are looking to boost their digital and email marketing capabilities this year, which means our focus on driving digital excellence is business-critical.”

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Poll: Do you use social media to browse for residential properties?


  • Phil Priest

    I am still shocked at how little money is being invested by agents to target new listings.

    In the 'good old day' several pages of the newspapers were fought over by the local agents in order to maintain their branding and awareness within the postcode territories they were fighting over.

    Since the portal arrival, they have switched off completely and as the cost of the portals have risen astronomically in the past decade the cost spent by agents on brand has declined.

    A simple question we ask all agents is:
    1. If you were buying a house, where do you go?
    A. Portals

    2. If you were looking to sell a house (and under the age of 40yrs old), where do you go?
    A. Google, look at reviews, look at content etc

    Agents should partner with those who can bring their brand to life across all platforms and offer good, exciting, engaging content which in turn will lead to more instructions.

    Please do not consider your social media strategy as posting every house you have for sale or getting the youngest person in the office to manage this for you, just because they have an Instagram account.

    4 x per week per channel
    mix of video, industry info, advice, tips and tricks, photos of the office dog etc
    You must also be on page 1 of google, ideally No. 1

    this can all start with the above for £1,000 pm, allot cheaper than RM, but also targeting seller, not buyers.

    As a note, only 11% of buyers use the same agent to sell through.

    Tip 2, if you change the way you look after the buyers, you might get more repeat business too, this includes not shafting them for huge referral fee's to your solicitors.

    I see the future of RM limited as more data, clever data is available for those agents who are smart enough to move with the times and be pro-active and not Portal Lazy.

  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    Wise words Phil Priest - Property Portals Rightmove, Zoopla, PropertyHeads, OpenBrix etc are to the exit lounge for property and rental property.

    Social media is the import lounge for gaining vendors and landlords. Back in the day your newspaper advertising was both the product, houses, lets, and your brand - that huge masthead brand name of your agency that hung above all of your advertised stock.

    On the property portals your brand is removed and your product is diced into tiny digital squares used to re-inforce the brand of the portal.

    Question - does ASOS post its products on a portal with other competitors, or does it use targeted social media to sell its products. The beauty of social media, is that in the same household you can send a different message to different people, so unlike a newspaper advert - universal in its reach - but a blunt instrument - a bespoke piece of social media can really engage the correct target audience.

    This is why new estate agents (this term includes letting agents) who are of course using social media are killing the market, overturning established legacy businesses in medium sized towns. Customers - vendors and landlords - are being influenced by these companies.

    That is why I in my consultancy spend a large amount of time talking about having a bespoke social media solution, and maybe cutting portal spend and using social media to get the brand out there, so when you sit with the landlord or vendor, your brand is already inside their head.

    And just posting on your Facebook, twitter or Instagram account may be doing very little to grow your digital footprint, you need to pay for a digital marketeer, to ensure that 'copy' which also needs to be produced gets in front of the correct people at the correct time. For those who think social media is for children, here is a fact, half the globe is now populated by Generation-Z.

    This is your up and coming client, they look at Tik Tok, they speak on mobiles only 38% of the time using social media for all their other communication, if your business is founded on the telephone (Alexander Bell's invention in the 19th century) you are going to be increasingly out of the loop.

    If you want some sound advice on this topic contact me estate-agency-insights-strategies.co.uk it might just increase your profits by 35% over the next 12-months.


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