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Mobile First: What Real Estate Agents Need to Know in 2019


In August, the Telegraph reported that we now spend an entire day throughout our week using, looking, scrolling through our smartphones. Back in 2009, it was expected that by 2013 the global mobile population would amount to one billion users. In reality, that number was way under par, and current statistics from January 2018 show that the global mobile population has amounted to 3.7 billion unique users. Of those users, mobile devices account for 49.7 percent of web page views worldwide, excluding tablets. Almost half of all real estate searches stem from a mobile device, making it no longer an option whether or not you should tailor your real estate marketing for mobile devices. By building your site using the mobile-first mindset, you are giving your clients an enjoyable handheld experience. Fifty-seven percent of internet users say they would not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, the time is past due to start thinking mobile first.

The term ‘Mobile First’ was first coined by Luke Wroblewski in 2009. He states, “More often than not, the mobile experience for a Web application or site is designed and built after the PC version is complete.” Mobile first is the process of designing a website or application from the perspective of a mobile user before considering how a desktop user will interact with the site. Luke W. gives three reasons why Web applications should be designed for mobile first instead. That was back in 2009, Twitter was only three years old, Instagram hadn’t launched and MySpace was still semi-legitimate. Times were simpler then.

Building mobile first forces your team to focus on what’s important. Hand-held devices don’t always have the same screen resolutions like a laptop or desktop computer. Your website should be mobile responsive, which means if a client accesses your site on their mobile device it should automatically adjust the orientation, text size, and graphics to optimize what your user is seeing. When you design mobile first, you end up with a site that is key task focused. This gives your user a better experience, meaning it’s better for your business. For example, if someone taps on a phone number or email, the site should automatically initiate the call or open their email application. This may seem minor, but it’s crucial to narrow down the details that affect your prospect’s experience with your site.

Another reason Luke Wroblewski gave for building a site mobile first is, “Building mobile first allows teams to utilize this full palette of capabilities to create rich context-aware applications instead of limiting themselves to an increasingly dated set of capabilities.” One of those increasingly important capabilities being social networking. Eighty percent of social media activity happens via apps. According to a comScore report, nearly 20% of all time spent in the digital world is on social media channels. These platforms have completely changed the game in terms of how a real estate professional can turn their own device into a mobile-first marketing machine.

In an instant you can post photos of new properties; go live on Facebook or Instagram and host a virtual open house; through instant messaging you are able to respond to comments quicker and keep conversations moving no matter where you are.

The Real Estate Industry should be embracing mobile communication. Gone are the days of leaving a voicemail when you can connect with text messages, social media and landing page forms. Even when you or your clients are on the go, the expectation is that you both have your phones within arm’s reach at all times. People desire rapid responses, and mobile offers more ways than ever to deliver on that.

Be sure to keep in mind that “mobile first” isn’t the same as “mobile only.” Your website will still maintain a presence for those who prefer a more traditional internet approach. Interested to see how mobile friendly your current site is? Check out this tool created by Google. And keep in mind, if your site is not mobile first, that might mean you could come in last.

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