ZPG Group Mid-Year Report
1st July 2019
In July 2018, Silver Lake completed the acquisition of ZPG in a Board recommended, take private transaction valuing the entire issued ordinary share capital at approximately £2.2 billion on a fully diluted basis.
ZPG owns and operates some of the UK’s most trusted digital brands that help empower smarter property and household decisions, including Zoopla, uSwitch, Money, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes. It is also one of the leading residential property software and data providers with a range of products including Hometrack, Alto, Calcasa, and many others.
Following the recent transition to a privately-owned company, ZPG has renewed its strategic focus on providing significant value to customers and consumers, underpinned by the ability to take a longer-term view as regards to investment decisions which may not otherwise be possible in a public market context.
ZPG has a talented and energised team in place to steer through this new era, as well as the support of Silver Lake and Red Ventures through their expertise in product, technology and marketing.
Key updates for the two divisions of ZPG (Property and Comparison) over the first six months of the fiscal year ending September 2019 are outlined below.
The last six months saw a plethora of innovative and exciting developments at the Property arm of ZPG, as Zoopla continues to focus on being the UK’s leading property destination.
This year, Zoopla increased advertising spend by 23% in Q2 FY19 when comparing the same period in 2018. This was driven in part by the launch of the latest ‘Crabs’ advertising campaign on Boxing Day which was seen by 90% of ABC1 adults, equivalent to over 26 million people in total. This highly prominent campaign helped drive consumer traffic to the websites, with visits peaking at a monthly high of more than 58 million.
In December, Gary Bramall joined as new Chief Marketing Officer, bringing extensive experience in marketing and branding and having held senior roles at mytaxi (previously Hailo), Microsoft, Skype, Apple and Orange. His appointment marks Zoopla’s commitment to differentiating itself from competitors whilst strengthening its marketing strategy.
Agents and consumers rely on Zoopla to offer invaluable insights into the property market. In January, Zoopla’s first monthly UK Cities House Price Index was launched, offering insight into the latest house price performance across the country, and indications are that it is being swiftly accepted as highly authoritative by industry professionals.
To further cement its dedication as a market leader in research and insights, in February Zoopla welcomed Richard Donnell as new Research and Insight Director. Richard joined from Hometrack and brings 25 years of property industry experience in data and analytics.
Product innovation was accelerated with four new senior hires in an expanding product team. Earlier this year, Holly Westall and Paul Hammond joined respectively as Head of Product and Head of Engineering for Portal, while Carl Olivier and Peter Sellwood joined as Head of Product and Head of Engineering for Software and Productivity.
Zoopla has also continued to invest in new tools and products, for example the new Property Valuation Report powered by Hometrack data delivers hyper-local insights to agents, allowing them to demonstrate their local expertise with information previously only available to banks, surveyors and industry professionals.
In addition, Zoopla launched a revamped AgentFinder tool which helps prospective vendors and home hunters find the best Zoopla agent for them, and has also made significant improvements to the consumer search experience by removing third party advertisements from listings detail pages, and improving website and mobile app layouts to enable fast and easy access to property listings.
More than 2,000 agent branches have joined since the start of July 2018. Significantly, Zoopla recently welcomed back Carter Jonas, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, Strutt & Parker, Humberts, and a number of other agents. More than one million properties are listed on the websites, and in London Zoopla lists more rental properties than any other portal, with over 49,000 homes available to rent. Reports have also confirmed that Zoopla delivered a 36% increase in valuation leads to agents when comparing March 2018 to February 2019 with the preceding 12 months.
In March, Zoopla led the portal pack by announcing the removal of ‘No DSS’ adverts from its listings. Others joined in the campaign to treat consumers fairly; Homelessness Minister, Heather Wheeler MP vocalised her support on Twitter for Zoopla’s stance along with Polly Neate at Shelter and Rhys Moore at National Housing Federation.
The Comparison arm of ZPG has remained focussed on growing and innovating its platforms to enable consumers to make better-informed decisions when managing their home and their finances.
uSwitch continues to lead the home services price comparison market, saving consumers approximately £139 million on their energy bills over the last six months and helping them navigate the introduction of the energy price cap and the ensuing flurry of supplier price rises. A fully integrated marketing push that included new Coach TV adverts seen by over 42 million adults, effective paid search and hard hitting PR, ensured our biggest ever energy switching month in March.
uSwitch also used its expert voice in the communications switching market to push for changes in regulation that will help prevent the significant overpayment experienced by consumers after their broadband, home phone, mobile or TV contract has expired - some £1 billion a year according to uSwitch’s campaign. From February 2020 suppliers will be forced to notify their customers before the end of their contract, with details on how they can make sure they remain on a good deal whether through their existing supplier or by switching to a new one.
Credit card and bank account switching has remained strong on Money.co.uk while the business seeks to restructure its financial services operations to maximise on synergies with uSwitch.com. Meanwhile a new team of personal finance experts, led by former Hometrack Director Piero Bassu, is building a new mortgage proposition. Bankrate, already a well-known brand in the US, has been launched by ZPG in the UK with a simple mission - to take the stress out of the homebuying process.
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Zoopla is the UK's most comprehensive property website, focused on empowering users with the resources they need to make better-informed property decisions. We help consumers both find their next home and research the market by combining hundreds of thousands of property listings with market data, local information and community tools.
At Zoopla we are fans of transparency and everything we do is aimed at making the market more efficient for both property consumers and advertisers alike. Zoopla has rapidly become the UK’s leading online destination for property consumers to search for homes and do their market research and the favoured online marketing partner for UK estate agents, letting agents and property developers.
Launched in 2008, Zoopla has since been one of the fastest growing websites in the UK, now attracting over 40 million visits per month and we are proud to have collected numerous awards and accolades along the way, including being named one of the Top 10 UK Tech Companies (Guardian) and one of the Top 10 Most Innovative UK Companies (Smarta).
Zoopla is part of Zoopla Limited which was founded in 2007.
Zoopla Limited, The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH
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