Is Real Estate Going Mobile?

    "Four years ago when mobile was first coming out, mobile was the third screen. [Now] mobile’s the first, then TV, then the Internet. [People] trust their phones. It’s a personal thing. That makes it extremely valuable, but it also means you have to be extremely careful. Because of that level of trust, you can easily screw things up. You have to make sure you’re providing real value."- Alex Campbell, CEO, Vibes Media¹

    Hello blog readers. My name is Erica and I’m the ghost writer for many of the CityLiving Team blog posts. I’m also the Marketing Director of our team. It’s one of my jobs to figure out how best to reach YOU in the way YOU want to be reached. We’ve been loyal to certain channels of advertising and marketing for years, such as our weekly full page ads in the Scene and City Paper and our monthly e-newsletters. Why? Because they have proven tried and true methods to a) spread the word about the homes we sell and b) provide useful information that matters to YOU.

    I just finished an article in a national marketing publication about the rise of mobile marketing. I must admit, for the past few years I have been wary to test the waters with mobile marketing. It felt invasive to reach you in that way. I personally am not a fan of ads popping up on my new smartphone, and I have been wary of texting one of those six digits codes to a specific number that I see on a Graffiti ad. I know, a bit ironic, right? Seeing as my job is marketing and advertising.

    But, things are a’changing my friends. I finally jumped on the smartphone bandwagon a month ago, and I’m now a statistic. I’m part of the 48.9% that have a 3G or 4G mobile device (up 23% from 2009). I’m also a part of the 83.9% that have an unlimited data plan. And I’m also a part of the who-knows-what-percent that reach for my smartphone first thing in the morning to check blogs, email, and news feeds. (And let’s be honest, it is also the last thing I put down at night.)

    So, here’s my question that I’m throwing out into cyberspace today (does anyone even still call it cyberspace? I suppose the current term is "the cloud"): Is Real Estate going mobile? Or better yet, How is Real Estate going mobile?

    If our mobile screen is the new first screen, how will we use it to access useful real estate content? There are apps out there now that help you find homes that are for sale by just looking at a map. And certainly you can search mobile sites for listings as well. But it feels like there might be even more ways for real estate to go mobile that haven’t even been tapped yet, or better versions of what currently exists. I wonder when Google will release a real estate specific app. When will our local papers release mobile versions of open house apps? Should release a mobile version of our new MLS search section we will launch later this year? How do YOU prefer to consume your real estate info on your mobile device?

    ¹Quote and statistics from "Marketing in 2011," AMA Marketing News, 1-30-11.

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