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The trend that industry experts believe will provide the greatest challenges and opportunities in digital marketing continues to be changes in consumer behaviour. In recent years, this has been largely driven by innovative technological developments, and is why the majority of letting and estate agents, at 65 per cent, are planning to utilise social media in order to promote property listings in 2020. 

This new research, which has been compiled by property platform, Zoopla, has revealed that the changing behaviour of consumers will be likely to make digital marketing the major focus for property professionals in the forthcoming year.

The results were gathered as part of a State of the Property Nation survey, an annual study from Zoopla, which collected various information on how home buyers are searching for and purchasing property. The survey is a consumer sample which is represented nationally, and it questions over 650 agents and 6,000 people across the lettings and home sales landscape. 

The research also discovered that 12 per cent of those searching for a home now use Facebook for browsing residential homes for sale. This is an increase of 50 per cent from the recorded figure of 8 per cent 12 months ago. While social media continues to be significantly important for consumers, 47 per cent of consumers also set up email alerts from property portals to keep up to date with upcoming properties being put onto the market. 

According to the research, email alerts prove the most popular with residents in London, compared to others places across the UK. 64 per cent of the Londoners questioned stated that they signed up to receive property email alerts, which reflects the huge amount of competition for homes in the capital. 

Property portals also remain vital to house hunters and agents, with over three quarters of consumers, at 77 per cent, claiming that they use these sites to conduct property searches. According to the agents questioned, unsurprisingly, almost two thirds of buyer and renter leads, at 65 per cent, now begin from engagement with a property portal such as Zoopla or Rightmove. 

One fifth of the consumers, at 20 per cent, stated that they currently have an app for browsing property installed on their smartphone or digital advice, whether they are actively searching the property market or not.
Zoopla’s chief commercial officer, Andy Marshall, explains that the property industry is adjusting to changes in the behaviour of consumers, while looking for ways to capitalise on the large amount of time that potential vendors and buyers spend within digital environments. This is far more apparent during the research stages of renting, selling or buying a new home than any other process in finding or selling property. Letting and estate agents understand this, which is why an increasing number of them are utilising and embracing digital environments and online marketing more than in previous years.

This is also the case for the management of rental property. Property inventory software and other technical innovations have proved crucial for both landlords and letting agents in saving property professionals time and streamlining the more mundane tasks involved in managing rental homes. Managing multiple rental homes without software proves difficult, and choosing the correct software for your business is crucial.

Software must not simply be able to view and edit documents, such as office software. Software solutions must also manage financial processes as well as accounting requirements for managing property.

In fact, according to the research from Zoopla, over half of agents, at 53 per cent, are searching for ways to boost their email and digital marketing capabilities in 2020. This will mean an increased focus on delivering digital excellence, which has become critical to businesses across the property sector.

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