Digital Property

25th April 2013

Smartphones and YouTube are leading a digital advertising explosion, rising by more than 12 per cent in the last 12 months alone. This is now worth a whopping £5.42bn a year, up £607m from 2011. The biggest area for growth was mobile adverts (which more than doubled in the period), video advertising on websites such as YouTube, and social media services such as Twitter and Facebook.

The background to this dramatic rise is the emergence of 4G mobile broadband, which has enabled a new era of richer content consumption. One result of this is that tablets are now predicted to outsell PCs in 2013. The latest numbers, released today, show that PC sales have fallen somewhere between 11 and 14 per cent in the first quarter of this year alone.

This all makes sense; rapid improvements in technology enable potential customers to view media in more flexible and convenient ways (including using different devices at varying times of the day), offering potentially rich relationships to forward thinking companies.

Turned around the other way, brands can’t expect customers to just sit down in front of a box in the living room, or undertake dedicated searches on Google to seek them out; they need to work harder, and become skilled at engaging clients across a wide variety of media and communication channels – at times and in ways that make them relevant and ‘attractive’.

For the UK property market, over 30% of all searches (sales and lettings) are already conducted on mobile phones, yet most estate agents’ websites are not designed for small screens and can therefore appear ‘cluttered’. Once again, Google report that over 40% of potential buyers and tenants who have a ‘poor’ mobile search experience will inform their friends and not use the site again – so this is becoming very relevant for all vendors or landlords.

Forward thinking agents, such as members of The Guild, already offer a full suite of solutions to their clients – including mobile sites, Facebook, YouTube, Home style videos, Twitter, and even a Web TV offering. This helps to ‘connect’ properties with as many potential clients as possible by using the full marketing spectrum, not just print and the major portals. It is worth reflecting that the fastest growing users of Facebook are women aged between 40 and 55, who usually make the major decisions in the housing department!

There is a ‘ready buyer’ out there for almost every home (at the right price of course). Research tell us that 40% of applicants fall in love with their new property before they even get past the hallway; and the latest market survey says that four times as many people expect prices to rise in the next 12 months as to fall (45% versus 12% – Halifax). The mortgage market is also the most competitive ever seen in the UK.

So this could be a great time to take your property to market….but getting buyers to your front door is where technology can really help, and the best estate agents are using every technique available to give your home a competitive edge.

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