Seven in ten people surveyed who recently moved homes said their mobile phone was the only way to stay connected and reach them during the move. And seven in ten said their mobile phones were their main source of media entertainment during this period of moving houses.

Facebook IQ research into how people talk about and feel about moving home has found that for many people their mobile phone has been a lifeline. As part of our ‘Moments That Matter’ series, we surveyed more than 4,000 people across Britain, the Netherlands, France, Poland and the UAE who had recently moved.

Our research also highlights the role social media plays when someone moves home. And our conversion data allows us to see the sort of purchases people are making in the months, weeks and days leading up to and after moving day — useful for marketers looking to reach people in and around the moving moment, and not just with obvious products like cardboard boxes and home insurance. A decade ago, people became unreachable — by friends, family and advertisers, when they moved — but thanks to the mobile and social media, connections aren’t cut, providing an opportunity for marketers to stay in touch.

So firstly, where are people moving to? More than half surveyed had moved to another city in the same country, while 20 per cent moved overseas. People in Britain are the least likely to be moving overseas (15 per cent of those surveyed) versus the UAE, where 32 per cent say they’re moving to another country, or Poland at 20 per cent.

When it comes to researching a move, online channels dominate, with 57 per cent surveyed saying they use things like apps, social media, search engines, blog and digital maps. Word of mouth is also important, 24 per cent of people say they ask friends and family for recommendations on everything from where to live, to what moving firm to use.

For some people, moving house is just the start of big changes in their life. Once someone has moved, according to those surveyed, the top life events that follows is starting a new job... followed by ‘adding a relationship status’ to Facebook and getting married.

We asked people when they make crucial decisions in the home moving process, allowing us to create a timeline of activities. People often have a six-month window between when they decide to move and when they actually move, and you can see that many activities take place immediately before or after the move. However, our research suggests that prep starts earlier.

For all verticals combined, we can see purchases start to ramp up from about 60 days before people move. The peak day for purchasing happens one week before a person moves and continues for about four days afterwards.

One trend that we wouldn’t have seen just a few years ago is the big spike in the purchases in the entertainment vertical, particularly for those moving overseas. Our results show that people moving to the UAE from abroad make 3.53x as many entertainment purchases in the 60 days leading up to their move, as they do during the previous 60 days. Are people buying streaming service subscriptions to keep in touch with TV and culture from their home country?

So, if mobile phones have made moving easier, does that mean it is no longer a stressful event? Well, our survey found that people do still worry. Financial concerns are most likely to keep people up at night. However, people are also afraid of losing touch with old friends and family, and whether they’ll make new friends and have a good social life in their new neighbourhood.

When it comes to keeping in touch with old friends and making new ones, social media has an important role to play. Half of people surveyed said social media connections mean they no longer jump into the unknown when we move to a new house, and one-third agreed that social media helped to make their move go more smoothly than expected.

We see a spike in people using Facebook and Messenger two days before moving, and making or accepting friend requests peaks on the day before moving.

Recognise the power of the mobile lifeline. For the majority, their mobile phones are a crucial way to stay connected and entertained when moving. As they make new connections and keep in touch with old ones, your brand can be part of this experience. Think about how your brand can address people’s moving experience in a personalised way, using mobile.

Be mindful of the right moment to target people moving house. Our moving timeline shows that people may be receptive to moving messages up for six months before they move. Think about how your brand can reach the right people at the right time in their moving journey.

You can use Facebook’s detailed targeting to help reach people who are “likely to move”.

Help reduce the stress of moving. Knowing the top worries for people when they move, is there anything your brand can do to quickly and simply addresses some of your customers biggest moving challenges? A trusted brand can provide much-needed familiarity and make a new home feel less foreign.

— The writer is Head of Communications at Facebook Mena.