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6 minute read

In the hustle and bustle of the digital age, where clicking a mouse or tapping a screen has often replaced face-to-face interactions, a quiet revolution is taking place in Australia’s real estate market. New data from our social media advertising platform, Advance, reveals a surprising and thought-provoking trend: open home attendees are now outnumbering email enquiries.

But what does this seismic shift mean for real estate agents and property buyers alike?

A Sea Change in Consumer Behaviour

The landscape of consumer behaviour is changing, and it’s happening right under our noses. We’ve equipped Advance with groundbreaking technology that doesn’t just track the conventional metrics, such as click-through rates and email enquiries, but also notes whether someone who interacts with an advertisement actually turns up at an open home. What we’ve discovered is more than just another data point; it’s a revelation about consumer trust and engagement.

Historically, email was seen as a relatively non-committal way for potential buyers to express interest, ask questions, and even negotiate. It was the staple of early-stage interactions between agents and clients. Yet, the data paints a different picture for today’s market. Potential buyers are skipping the email stage altogether, opting instead to show up at open homes unannounced.

The Fading Echo of Email Enquiries

The underlying message of this trend speaks volumes. Consumers are effectively saying, “We don’t trust you to respond to our emails, so we’ll just come and talk to you in person.” It’s a telling indication that somewhere along the line, many agents have dropped the ball when it comes to email communication, perhaps deliberately to weed out low quality leads or inadvertently because they’re too busy and can’t possibly respond to every email.

It all offers an invaluable lesson: neglecting any touchpoint, be it digital or physical, can lead to a gaping hole in consumer trust.

The Ripple Effect: Implications for Major Property Portals

One significant consequence of this shift away from email enquiries is the potential impact on major property portals. These platforms have long relied on email enquiries as a valuable source of data—information that informs algorithms, tailors property recommendations, and ultimately enhances the user experience. In many ways, email enquiries serve as a lifeline that connects buyers, sellers, and the platforms themselves.

As buyers increasingly bypass the email stage and head straight for open homes, these portals could face a data drought. A lack of rich, actionable data would weaken their ability to create personalized experiences, offer targeted advertisements, and generally stay ahead of consumer needs. In essence, the dwindling flow of email enquiries threatens not only the portals’ intelligence but also their relevance in an evolving real estate ecosystem.

So, what’s the remedy? For these platforms, adapting to this sea change is crucial. They may need to explore alternative data points, like tracking the frequency of property profile visits, enhancing CRM integrations, or even partnering with social media platforms to gain a more holistic view of consumer behaviour. Staying static is not an option, lest these portals find themselves outpaced by more agile, adaptive competitors.

This change not only serves as a wake-up call for individual agents but also rings alarm bells for the larger players in the property ecosystem. It’s a ripple effect that signifies a broader industry shake-up—one that demands attention, action, and adaptation from all stakeholders.

The Silver Lining: A Golden Opportunity for Agents Across All Channels

While the dwindling role of email as a primary communication tool is startling, it serves as a broader wake-up call for agents to reevaluate their entire communication strategy. This shift isn’t a specific critique of email effectiveness; it’s an alarming symptom of potential shortcomings across multiple touchpoints. Whether it’s phone calls left unanswered, text messages ignored, or social media messages that go unread, each neglected point of contact sends a potent message to potential clients: “You’re not important enough.”

Now is the time to buck this disconcerting trend and offer something truly exceptional in a sea of mediocrity. It’s about embracing a holistic approach to client communication, one that doesn’t discriminate between email, phone, text, or face-to-face interactions. Each channel presents its own unique opportunity to delight your potential clients, to capture their attention, and most importantly, to earn their trust.

The rise in open home attendance vs. email enquiries signifies not just a move away from emails but perhaps a move towards genuine, transparent interaction, however that may manifest. And agents who understand the importance of every channel are the ones who will emerge as leaders in this new landscape.

Agents who are agile and adaptive, who see this not as a problem but as an opportunity, can move into this space and dominate it. Think of it as an open invitation to create a web of reliable, engaging, and memorable interactions that turn curious onlookers into committed buyers.

So yes, this is a call to arms that extends far beyond email. It’s a call to deliver a ‘concierge’ style service that treats every interaction, regardless of the medium, as a golden opportunity to build lasting relationships. This is the moment to reset the industry standard for client communication. And those who heed this call will not only regain lost trust but will set a new benchmark for excellence.

By diversifying your communication methods and demonstrating consistency across all channels, you’ll show clients that they’re not just another lead in a database, but a valued individual deserving of your time and attention. That is the silver lining in the shift towards open home attendance, and it’s a golden opportunity you don’t want to miss.

And whether that is through human resources of technology that can provide ‘smart’ responses to buyer enquiries, it doesn’t really matter how it gets done. It just needs to get done.

This nuanced approach to all communication channels could be the defining edge that sets you apart in a fiercely competitive real estate market.

The Power of Social Media Advertising: Beyond Brand Awareness

If the email enquiry is waning as an initial point of contact, where should agents focus their energy? The answer is digital advertising, and particularly social media platforms. Our Advance platform demonstrates that well-targeted ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram don’t merely raise awareness; they actively drive attendees to open homes.

Real estate agents need to consider social media as a robust lead generation platform, capable of doing much more than just broadcasting messages into the ether. With Advance’s unique features, agents can create custom ad templates, target potential customers geographically, and even retarget those who have shown interest on major real estate portals.

Broadening the Horizon

Given the dwindling role of email enquiries, it becomes critical for agents to diversify their digital outreach efforts. It’s not about replacing one channel with another; it’s about creating a multi-layered, interconnected web of touchpoints that guide potential clients from curiosity to commitment.

In closing, this shift towards open home attendance over email enquiries is not just a statistic; it’s a signal for change. Agents have a golden opportunity to seize the moment, to rebuild lost trust, and to redefine their relationships with clients. After all, it’s the agents who adapt to changing consumer behaviour that will emerge as the true pioneers in an ever-evolving real estate landscape.

The revolution is silent, but its implications are loud and clear. Are you listening?

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