The next time one of your customers wants to browse listings on realestate.com.au, they may well reach for their touchscreen tablet or phone, instead of their computer.
In our house, for example, browsing the home market is just one of many things that my laptop no longer helps me with. Others are: reading the paper, reading magazines, reading blogs, reading books, online search, making travel arrangements, searching wikipedia and online shopping (is there any other kind?).
Page 10 of the REA Group’s most recent investor presentation reveals how fast mobile is eclipsing the web for Australia’s most important property portal:
34% of total visits to realestate.com.au are now from mobile devices, using the mobile site, the app and the normal website via a tablet
Traffic to realestate.com.au’s mobile web site (not the app) doubled over the last year to 1.3 million Unique Browsers. That’s more than homebound or any other portal competitors except domain receive in total.
Meanwhile, desktop traffic to realestate.com.au stayed mostly flat.
1.1 million copies of the mobile realestate.com.au app have been downloaded (including both tablet and smartphone downloads)
(As an aside for you commercial agents, the above data is for realestate.com.au. realcommercial.com.au just launched its first app, so it is just beginning this process.)
Why It Matters
You might not think it matters to you or other agents whether users of realestate.com.au prefer the mobile app or the the mobile site. But it does.
The two ways of viewing your property listings on smart phones and tablets are different in several ways, including the following three key ones.
The apps can let users do much more, and this can make it easier for them to contact you by phone and email. The nature of a mobile website means it will always have fewer features.
The mobile app gives realestate.com.au more room and flexibility for agent branding and promotion.
Expect the company to start offering advertising products that are exclusive to the app, and not available online. To wrap your head around this, look at the portal’s home page and notice the advertising opportunities there (mostly not for agents but for third parties, admittedly) that don’t exist in other parts of the site and require separate purchase.
Now, imagine unique ads that could appear in different parts of the mobile and tablet app that you would be willing to buy.
The app can serve more mobile ads and generate more revenue for the REA Group, which means there could be less pressure to raise subscription costs. That affects your bottom line.
All three of these distinctions directly and indirectly impact agents who are REA customers.
I’ll leave you with a prescient quote from Steve Jobs’ keynote speech launching the first iPhone, in which he points out the reason smartphones have so transformed online browsing for real estate.
“An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator… these are NOT three separate devices! And we are calling it iPhone! Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone. And here it is.”