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Google Real Estate Part 3: Appealing to Mobile Users

by Peter Thomas Ricci

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The Internet is an eternally popular source for consumers, but more and more are turning to mobile devices for their home searches, as our Google Real Estate series found.

The first two parts to our continuing series on “Google Real Estate” dealt with Internet search behaviors from consumers, and all the data we cited in those articles dealt with an increasingly antiquated assumption – that Web browsers cruise the information highway with a desktop computer or laptop.

Of course, anybody who has been following technology in the past 12 months (to say nothing of our exemplary tech coverage!) knows that such a scenario is becoming more and more rare, and that visiting the Internet, whether by smartphone or tablet, is becoming more and more mobile. But where does this changing sphere of Internet interaction leave agents?

Google Real Estate: Mobile Web Browsers

Google’s joint study with the National Association of Realtors, which has formed the backbone of our Google Real Estate series, uncovered a number of interesting behaviors in how consumers approach mobile Web browsing:

  • First of all, mobile Web browsing is not a a niche consumer interest, but widespread – 89 percent of new home shoppers utilize a mobile search engine at some point in their home search.
  • Specifically, 40 percent of new home shoppers use mobile search engines throughout their entire homebuying process.
  • Mobile apps are gaining similar popularity, with 68 percent of new home shoppers using apps in their home search and 44 percent throughout the process.
  • The reasons for those home shoppers using mobile resources was interesting: 51 percent did so for general information about a house; 48 percent looked up directions to a house; 44 percent compared the home’s price with those of other homes; 35 percent compared features; and finally, 35 percent perused the listing company’s other properties.
  • Most fascinating of all, though, was where all these mobile consumers actually used their devices: 77 percent used their devices at home, by far the most popular location for mobile usage; 31 percent used their devices at work; 28 percent used them while waiting in line; and 27 percent used them at restaurants.

Attracting Mobile Consumers

To conclude: mobile use is becoming mainstream, mobile users namely investigate the main features of a property and they predominantly do so from the comforts of their own homes; so basically, all an agent has to do is get their listings on mobile sits and apps! But how can agents go about doing this?

Nancy Finley, an agent with Keller Williams Realty on Chicago’s North Side, said that given all the possible mediums for listings, agents should strive to have their properties featured in as many areas as they can.

“You want to get your listing exposed to as many websites as possible,” Finley said. “As much as you can put out in today’s market, the better off you are.”

And that does not mean, Finley added, merely adding your properties to the MLS. Though MLS listings are distributed across to different websites, Finley said they appear in an abbreviated format without additional photographs and descriptions; so to provide more information, Finley pays an additional fee to Realtor.com, which allows her to upload more photographs and writer more detailed descriptions of her properties.

Check out our earlier entries in the “Google real estate” series herehere and here.

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