• Mobile apps and social media will continue to be important outlets for real estate agents; portals and search advertising were considered less important by respondents.
  • Respondents plan to invest in predictive analytics and big data; fewer planned to invest in artificial intelligence or virtual reality platforms.

Mobile is still ultra-hot and marketing automation is still on the rise — but real estate leaders aren’t as bullish on the future of virtual reality (VR) or artificial intelligence (AI) emerging technology in the industry.

Those are a few of the findings from Imprev’s annual Thought Leader Survey, a biannual survey that the marketing automation company conducts on the “key challenges top real estate industry executives face.”

Imprev CEO Renwick Congdon noted in the study’s introduction that brokers are starting to hedge when it comes to investing in new technology.

“Leaders have mixed confidence as to which — if any — of today’s hot technologies will truly deliver the ROI [return on investment] they need to see,” Congdon wrote. “Most are planning to take a step back from the ‘next new thing’ and look for opportunities that have proven potential for growth.”

What’s the next new thing — and what’s disappearing?

Almost half of survey respondents (48 percent) said that mobile apps will be an important communication channel five years from now, and nearly equal numbers were as convinced about social media (45 percent) and videos (44 percent).

Search advertising and portals captured less enthusiasm — 24 percent of respondents thought that Google Search Ads or other search advertising would be among the most important in five years, and only 20 percent of respondents thought real estate portals would be among the most important in five years.

And the future of print and display advertising is dismal, per Imprev respondents.

Imprev also asked respondents about how important they anticipate emerging technology will be to their business in the next five years, and whether they are likely to invest in different technologies in the near future.

Brokers were most compelled by predictive analytics, big data and marketing automation — and not quite as excited about the opportunities that artificial intelligence (including chatbots and automated virtual assistants) and VR hold.

Imprev conducted the study between June 1 and 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,” according to the company’s release.

“Real estate leaders looked into the future and became very pragmatic,” said Congdon in a release. “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.”

Email Amber Taufen

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