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.”