How Australians search for property in an ever digital world

Every day, agents make decisions on how to allocate marketing spend for their vendors’ properties. With the rise in digital media consumption hitting all the headlines lately, you might be asking now more than ever, "where will the spend have the most impact and get the best results?"

Domain recently commissioned research company Millward Brown to confirm how Australians look for property and which sources they trust in the current media environment.

The results are in. The research, conducted in April 2014, with participants from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, clearly shows there is a broad range of sources being used by Australian consumers investigating property.

The top sources they turn to are property search websites such as and agent websites.

That being said, it might surprise some to see just how heavily relied upon non-digital media still is. While online property search websites are used most often in the search process, newspapers are used more than once a week and 38 per cent of respondents ranked newspapers in their top three most important research sources. One in 10 nominated newspapers as the most important source for them.


Top 5 property information sources:

Property search websites


Agent/builder websites


Recommendations from friends or family


Search engines





Other sources relied on by property seekers identified in the research include agent recommendations, email alerts, mobile apps, brochures, direct mail, signage, TV and more.

In the younger age bracket, Australians aged 18-39 use more sources overall and we see a skew towards social and mobile apps, although both still rank lower than websites and newspapers in the property search process.

These results prove that agents who adopt a broad multimedia campaign approach will ensure the widest audience sees their vendors’ properties.

We also know that Australians are very thorough when looking at such an important investment. Property buying is a considered a competitive decision with high risks involved; consumers consider any and every piece of information as valuable in their decision-making process. They will search for whatever information they can find to help them prepare to buy.

It is interesting, however, to compare the sources consumers placed most of their trust in. Around 55 per cent and 32 per cent of property seekers agreed property search websites and newspapers respectively are the most trustworthy sources of information, followed closely by recommendations.

Additionally, while online sources were found to provide more details about specific properties, newspapers are rated second at providing market context – they are credible, trustworthy information sources that help buyers stay abreast of trends.

Non-digital sources also continue to stimulate enquiries about a property. Ninety-five per cent of property buyers will take some further action after seeing a print advertisement that interests them, although 63 per cent of users agree online property search sites would be the most likely source that would prompt an enquiry.

For those who need extra convincing, we also know from additional Millward Brown research that both print and online tend to perform well beyond their level of investment, therefore taking a holistic approach – incorporating both – remains the ideal strategy.

All of this research reinforces and highlights the complexity of modern property marketing. It shows agents need to balance multiple media (both digital and non-digital) and continually assess where they will place a limited marketing budget to make the greatest impact for their vendors. This is particularly relevant knowledge to have right now, given that almost 2.1 million[1] Australians are looking to purchase a property in the next 12 months.


[1] Source: ^emma™ conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, people 14+ for the 12 months ending June 2014, Nielsen Online Ratings June 2014, people 14+.

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Tony Blamey

Tony Blamey

The Domain Group encompasses brands such as Domain, Commercial Real Estate, Australian Property Monitors/ PriceFinder and MyDesktop and offers real estate media solutions and services to real estate agents across Australia.
Tony joined the business in 2001 and has held a number of senior roles in the commercial business in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Tony has previously held senior sales management roles at Lawlex – an online regulatory publisher and compliance management business.

Tony’s media career commenced at Yellow Pages where he was involved with many of the early internet directory and search engine products.

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