By Kim Evered, Solutions Marketing Manager
It’s no secret that mobile is transforming the way prospective residents are searching for a new place to call home. With the rapid change of mobile search comes the opportunity to differentiate yourself or be left behind. Keep these key points in mind as you review and execute on your mobile strategy.
Mobile is Everywhere
Ever look around a crowded restaurant and realize that at least half the people in the room are doing something on their mobile device? Mobile devices have been outselling PCs since Q4 2010, and according to Garner, smart phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide by 2013. The way consumers are using mobile devices is changing too. According to Pew Research, 59% of American adults are now wireless Internet users and mobile data applications have grown more popular over the past year.
Multifamily websites are seeing an exponential increase in traffic from mobile devices. In Q2 2010, G5 tracking data showed about 3% of our clients’ website visitors coming from mobile devices. In that same time frame in 2011, that number increased to 9%, a 300% increase from the previous year. Clients with Student Housing in their portfolio are seeing numbers that are significantly higher.
Where to Start: Mobile Optimized Website
The first step in creating a mobile strategy is having a mobile optimized website. This means paying attention to the user experience, which is vastly different from a PC. When creating a mobile website, G5 recommends paring down content and arranging it in a smaller space to match the reduced screen size. The user's intent when searching on mobile is also very different from a PC user. The mobile user is in a hurry, on the go and has an immediate need for relevant information. He or she may be driving around looking for an apartment and needs an address. A website that is optimized for the mobile user can make the difference between capturing your prospective residents and losing them.
Here are some key features of a mobile optimized website:
- Primary information should appear on the first page and should include company name, address, phone number, location finder
- Secondary information that is easy to navigate should be one click away from the main page and should include access to unit pricing, availability and amenities
- Interactive calls to action such as click-to-call, an address that pulls up a map, and simplified email forms should be easy to find and easy to use.
Don’t forget Mobile Local Search
Earlier this year at the ThinkMobile conference, Jason Spero, Head of Mobile at Google, gave a presentation revealing four key emerging trends in terms of how consumers are using mobile. Mobile phones are most frequently used for entertainment, immediate answers, local queries and as a shopping companion. Among these four emerging trends, local queries is growing the fastest. In fact, 33% of mobile searches are local and according to real estate industry data, a mobile device lead is three times more likely to convert to a lease than a lead from other sources.
Anticipating the mobile momentum, Google changed their Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to display local search queries in a more mobile compatible format. In addition, Google has added mobile-specific targeting to the Adwords Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising platform and are offering a host of new display advertising options specifically geared toward mobile devices in their AdMob network.
Many of the same principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for the full version of your website apply to your mobile website. The on-page content needs to be consistent and relevant to your keywords and branded name. Claiming and completing your Google Places listing will help the search engines recognize you as a real business and help people find you – especially when many mobile users start from a map when searching. Running targeted PPC advertising campaigns specifically for a mobile user will help keep your listing at the top of the screen – especially on the smaller mobile screen.
G5 believes so strongly in the mobile revolution that we have spent considerable development resources to release our own mobile optimized website platform. For more information on capturing more leads with mobile, download our Free White Paper or watch our Webinar: The Importance of User Intent on the Mobile Web.