Facebook and Zoopla, sitting in a tree...

Richard Speigal

by Richard Speigal

Facebook announced it is using listings from Zoopla and OnTheMarket.com, and everyone's gone crazy. They should.

First a little shameless self-promotion: We predicted this back in March.

At the time we disagreed with leading analysts who saw Facebook's foray into property advertising as a threat to the main portals. A deeper look at the technical side made it clear Zuckerberg was cosying up to the big boys - not bashing them.

For a fuller explanation on Facebook's technology, and why it favours portals, read our original post here.

The deal

Zoopla and OTM's listings will now be shown on Facebook Marketplace, which is Zuckerberg's answer to eBay.

Facebook Marketplace
Zoopla and OTM listings are coming to Marketplace

Marketplace is distinct from Facebook's Dynamic Ads for Real Estate offering, which instead places property adverts in a user's main newsfeed. Dynamic ads are based on a user's property search history, allowing Facebook to make a pretty good stab at showing you the right property, at the right time.

While they're distinct products, it's hard to see how the two won't have massive overlap. The search data from both systems allow Facebook to improve the relevance of property ads inserted into newsfeeds.

The real shock is that Rightmove chose not to participate.

Perhaps being the UK #1 puts them in a difficult spot: Rightmove is the centre of gravity in the housing market, and using a third party for leads may be tough for them to swallow. Who knows.

If it works out, it's hard to imagine they won't be forced join the party.

Impact on agents

This deal currently only affects rentals, but it seems just a matter of time until they extend it to property sales.

At its simplest level Zoopla and OTM just found a new way to generate leads, and close the gap on Rightmove. Both portals charge less per agent, so any increase in leads from them only reduces the cost-per-lead to agents.

In that sense, it can only be a good thing.

On the downside, Facebook just cemented the power of the major portals. Marketplace is likely to be swamped with these new listings, and drown out the few independent vendors who currently use it.

If you're an agent who loathes your reliance on portals, it's not good.

Can we have the keys to your Facebook?

We're intrigued by Facebook's Dynamic Ads for Real Estate, and still think it offers a lot of marketing potential for agents.

Unfortunately we've not seen any agents successfully implement it, so it's hard to judge if it's a real game changer.

Do any tech challenged but adventurous agents want to team up?

We're happy to handle the tech side of Dynamic Ads pro bono, in return for getting a peak at the conversions data.

No catches. Let me know!

TBC are analytics specialists who turn data into action