Could Facebook launch of social advertising engine for property be threat to UK portals?

Facebook has announced the launch of a social ad engine for property.

It will enable the listing of properties on its platform, where home hunters can easily search for them.

Announcement of the launch was made at the mind-blowingly huge Cartus conference in America last week, attended by 10,000 delegates including a handful of UK agents.

They included Richard Fowler, of Richard James in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, who are the current holders of the Relocation Agent Network agent of the year.

The visit to Las Vegas was part of the prize.

Fowler said that the announcement by Facebook was very thin on detail, with no mention of pricing, or whether the launch was exclusive to America.

Fowler told EYE: “It was announced to us as being hot off the press, and because the audience was overwhelmingly American, there were no specifics as to which countries it will be rolled out in.

“However, Facebook normally treats itself as one platform.

“This could be a game changer for the property portals – and that was certainly the view among the delegates.

“It could also potentially be the next stage of a private sales site.

“The main property portals in the UK should certainly see this as a threat.”

Also announced in Las Vegas was a new product called Ojo, to be launched soon.

This was held out to be the next development in Artificial Intelligence – ie, the tech world will be able to know when a customer is ready to sell before they know themselves.

Fowler said that in the US, realtors use video heavily. For example, a selfie video will be sent to a client to answer questions as this format is seen as more likely to express emotion rather than an email which could be read in the wrong context.

It has been suggested that Facebook will become a video-only platform in the near future.

However, despite American agents’ love affair with technology, Fowler said that the overwhelming message is that USA clients still value dealing with ‘real people’ above everything else, and are happy to pay for this.

Fees have remained consistent at 5.2%, and 98% of customers start their home moving experience online before engaging with a broker or agent.


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  1. Proper Tea & Meds

    I think Facebook does pose a threat to UK portals, but it has limitations.

    It will be more relevant in the US and the FSBO market in particular. And because it will allow private seller advertising it should be seen as a threat to agents too.

    There are many reasons Facebook cannot become the agents’ silver bullet to rising portal costs: agents organic exposure is very limited (your content is seen by perhaps 2% of your contacts), Facebook has trust issues that are not consistent with people making the biggest investment of their lives, property will need to compete with all of Facebook’s other content, people are not looking for property when they’re on Facebook, Facebook doesn’t have tools that a specialist property social network can provide….

    PropertyHeads answers all of these limitations. It’s early days for our Property Social Network but we are starting to see some growth. Two months ago we had maybe 5 people joining a day, that figure is now over 500 per week.

    1. Property Pundit

      Nice crowbarring of your ad there!

      1. crg

        Haha…… the site looks good though. Good luck to them.

  2. Property Poke In The Eye


  3. GPL


    Remind me what happened with that OTM Facebook link-up?



  4. smile please

    If its as useful as their integration with OTM we have nothing to worry about. ‘Marketplace’ features let properties that went months ago.

    People do not look for property on FB, and if you talk to the ‘kids’ of today they are turning their back on FB. Apparently we should be marketing to millennials (the annoying, self-intitled lot).

  5. Woodentop

    I’m going to go against the grain by the previous posts and say “look out”. There are many reasons why this would be a bad idea but there will be some, the DIY seller and the person who is so all in with FB and new technology, that they could upset the apple cart and be a disruptor. One of the biggest worries is chains that the DIY cannot control, not even have a clue what to do and will cause no end of grief. Will it fail? it will cause a headache for everyone until it does disappear.


    FB and the ilk are moving into new territories and have the money to develop further …. the question is, are they becoming a disruptor in everyone’s life and doing more harm than good? They are sold on “freedom to do anything they like” but more and more is needed regulating to protect society and business in all manners of things, just as any other business venture has to… FB are loose cannons, slowly but surely destroying society in all walks of life?

  6. OnlineEA

    eBay apparently originally dismissed FB’s marketplace but it has cost them millions in lost revenue….could be well placed to disrupt things again

  7. Property Pundit

    If this initiative has so much potential (allegedly), why have they waited so long?

  8. CtotheG

    It wasn’t that long ago that dabbled in the property market. They failed due to “low usage”, but it’s interesting to see how these enormous, data-driven companies are trying to inch into this market.

    I love the new forms of technology that are making property searches easier and faster. Estate agents are trying to find new and innovative ways to stay relevant in today’s instant info age. Portals like or already have a huge advantage over traditional agents like so it will be interesting to see how fairs in this race! That being said, if you have a great transaction from a friendly estate agent, you’re likely to use them again.

    Perhaps it’s not impossible to believe that eventually, estate agents will only be used for specific individuals who can afford the service and maybe, services like this from Facebook will become the norm. I still believe it’s a little ways away though!


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