Real estate industry leaders anticipate big opportunities coming from newer technology like Predictive Analytics, Big Data, and Marketing Automation over the next five years, but show lukewarm confidence in Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Realty, and Virtual Realty 3D Tours.
These findings emerged from a new Imprev Thought Leadership survey asking participants to predict the future of real estate marketing and anticipate the effect on their businesses. The study found that two-out-of-three top real estate executives surveyed say they are more likely to invest in Predictive Analytics (65%), Marketing Automation (65%) and Big Data (64%), while less than half are likely to invest in Augmented Realty and Virtual Realty 3D Tours (46%). Only one-third are likely to invest in Artificial Intelligence (30%) by 2022.
This newest study from Imprev also uncovers some surprises. Perhaps the biggest one: Real estate execs appear to agree that the future is dimming for the power of the portals. A mere 20% of respondents rate real estate portals, such as Zillow or realtor.com, as one of their “most important real estate marketing channels and technologies” five years from now. They predict Mobile Apps (48%), Social Media (45%) and Video (44%) — the technology trifecta — will be more important in 2022 than portals.
“Real estate leaders looked into the future and became very pragmatic,” said Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev and architect of the twice-annual study that began in 2012. “They clearly anticipate investing only in tech that can provide a hard ROI, which means avoiding the latest fads. They’re under more pressure to deliver results and need proven marketing infrastructure to make that happen,” he added.
What’s the one innovation that more real estate leaders would like to see for real estate marketing in the next five years than any other? The study found the most common answer was “system integration,” mentioned by one-in-five participants (20%), followed by “automation” (17%), and a “Centralized MLS” (15%). Several top executives specifically mentioned Upstream, with a Pennsylvania RE/MAX broker-owner explaining “it puts the control of listing data in the brokerage/brokers hands.”
Among the other key findings:
- Prediction: Predictive Analytics will dominate the real estate brokerage’s future. That’s what the real estate executives tell us, with nearly three in four (74%) rating this service as the top emerging technology for real estate brokerages by 2022. As the CEO of one of the largest franchises in the U.S. says, “Targeted marketing using predictive analytics is crucial.”
- Big Data will still be big for brokerages by 2022. Second only to Predictive Analytics, real estate execs see Big Data as another powerful addition to their marketing arsenal. 71% place Big Data among top emerging technology for real estate brokerages in the next five years. However, the need for integrated systems is cooling their current use of Big Data. As a RE/MAX broker-owner from Central Florida observed, “We need the integration of different systems–or a system that allows for a significant improvement in aggregating data from multiple sources to allow us to work with it.”
- Marketing Automation sizzles for brokers: Real estate execs are also confident in Marketing Automation, as two in three (67%) this emerging technology will be among the most important technologies for real estate brokerages by 2022. What do agents really want from Marketing Automation? “Fully automated marketing on a click,” said a Keller Williams broker-owner from Pennsylvania.
- What’s next? AI, AR, and VR? Don’t hold your breath for widespread adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) 3D tours in the next five years. Real estate execs expressed their doubts by giving these emerging technology lukewarm ratings. In fact, AI was ranked highest among the emerging technology that executives were “least likely” to invest in, followed by AR and VR.
- Marketing ROI top priority for future. Executives were strongly united in their desire to measure the effectiveness of their marketing spend over the next five years. More than half said they hoped “to increase our ability to measure marketing spend effectiveness by 2022,” and 31% noted they “currently have tools in place to measure our marketing spend and ROI, and will increase infrastructure even more by 2022.” A Bay Area independent broker in California shared the number one marketing challenge he’d like solved is “Being able to effectively measure agent utilization (of marketing material) and consumer response so we can better judge ROI.”
- Untargeted print advertising is still getting pummeled. Brokers have pulled millions from newspaper and magazine ads, and their love for print ads has certainly diminished, if not completely died. Nearly 60% said mass print advertising (newspapers, magazines) would be the least important real estate marketing channels five years from now. But it’s not always easy to leaving mass print advertising behind. For one top executive, based in Massachusetts, what’s her biggest marketing challenge in the next five years? “Leaving classified print advertising in our rural areas,” she says.
This latest Thought Leader study was conducted from June 1 to June 30, 2017, polling nearly 200 real estate leaders who represent brokerages responsible for more than half of all U.S. residential real estate transactions last year.