National Survey Reveals Renters Are Shying Away from Social Media During Their Apartment Search

More Than 70% of Users Are Active On Social Media, But Only a Quarter Use It to Shop for a Place to Live

Dec 07, 2010, 05:00 ET from

CHICAGO, Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking websites and blogs, according to research released from The Nielsen Company (1). This is a 43 percent increase up from just a year ago. Given this rapidly growing audience of social media users, surveyed nearly 850 of its national website visitors to find out how active they are with social media, how it affects their apartment search and where they choose to live. The survey results revealed 71 percent of visitors are active on social media, but only a quarter use it during their apartment search. Additionally, less than 10 percent of those respondents are connecting with their current apartment community via social media.

While the majority of renters indicated they are not checking out social media websites to find a place to live, this does not mean renter search behavior online is not trending toward this direction. Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents who said they do not use social media during their apartment search indicated they would either consider using it or are on the fence.

Like most savvy shoppers, renters consult multiple online sources before choosing where to live. Of the 71 percent of apartment hunters already active with social media, obtaining supplemental information including recommendations, visuals and special offers topped the reasons they tap these websites during their apartment search. These survey respondents ranked the top five benefits of using social media during their apartment search as: 

  1. Finding additional apartment community information and recommendations (58.1%)
  2. Seeking photos and videos of apartments (54.7%)
  3. Searching for apartment listings (52.7%)
  4. Hunting for special incentives and offers (46.8%)
  5. Sharing apartment information with friends and seeking feedback (20.7%)

In addition to the absence of social media during the apartment search, more than 90 percent of survey respondents said they are not connected to their apartment community on any social media website. Reasons for why this number seems high can be attributed to the lack of apartment communities participating in the social media space, or not getting the word out to residents, and the growing number of new renters hitting the market. Nearly half of all respondents said either their apartment community does not have a social media presence or they simply do not know. More than 40 percent of survey respondents said they do not currently live at an apartment community.

"As social media continues to evolve online communications, we believe more apartment communities will follow suit and become more visible in this space," said Chris Brown, vice president product management at "Residents will likely be receptive to interacting with their apartment communities in this way, especially if the content is meaningful. Our survey tells us that residents want to connect with their apartment community through social media to receive special offers, gain access to other residents and to keep current on community news and events."

While nearly two thirds of all survey respondents said they are social media users, most are only active on Facebook® (2). Nearly 35 percent indicated they check Facebook as often as every couple of hours and 32 percent visit at least once a day. This is a sharp contrast compared to activity on other social media websites. On average, more than 65 percent of survey respondents have never logged on to Yelp! or Foursquare and more than half have never visited Twitter or MySpace.

Apartment shoppers who would like to bring the full apartment search experience to Facebook are encouraged to visit the page ( and click the "Find a Place" tab to begin their social apartment search. Without leaving Facebook, apartment hunters can shop for a place to live from millions of apartments nationwide while sharing the details of their search with their social network for feedback they can trust. advertisers interested in gaining exposure on Facebook are encouraged to contact their Advertising Consultant to ask about Facebook Designer, a recent enhancement to the MyMedia product.

As part of its monthly "What Renters Want" research series, surveys renters on various topics. For more information on these surveys or to receive a copy of additional survey results, please contact Tammy Kotula at


  1. Nielsen Online, June 2010
  2. Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.

About ( is a leading national apartment Internet listing subscription service with more than 50,000 unique addresses representing millions of rental units from managed properties, newspaper classifieds and for-rent-by-owner properties. By incorporating the most relevant products to reach renters including personalized searches and highly visual ads featuring live chat, real-time rent, online video walk-through demonstrations, professional photography, a mobile website and iPhone app, creates easy access to its listings.  Providing unmatched exposure to its advertisers through an intuitive name, strategic search engine placements, featured partnerships including Zillow, Yahoo! Real Estate, Univision and more than 120 newspaper websites and innovative emerging media, reaches millions of renters nationwide, driving both qualified traffic and highly-engaged renters to leasing offices nationwide. is a division of Chicago-based Classified Ventures, LLC. The network of apartment rental websites includes Apartment Home Living (, a leading social media apartment website distinguished by a "live for fun" community experience, proprietary lifestyle matching and local living guides to help renters find their perfect place to live.