THE ‘ALWAYS ON’ CONSUMER

The rapid uptake of smartphones and tablets has revolutionised real estate advertising. Fairfax Marketplaces’ Tony Blamey, shares how his company has adapted

AT DOMAIN, we’re seeing a rapid shift of consumers taking up mobile devices.

Interestingly, it’s the 40th anniversary of the mobile phone, but the real impact has been the advent of the smartphone and tablet in the last couple of years.

This year, in Australia we’ll see about 84 per cent of the population with a smartphone and around 70 per cent with a tablet device, so it’s a very rapid uptake – technology research company Gartner is saying that more people will access the internet via smartphones and tablets than PCs.

We are certainly seeing that trend; around 50 per cent of visits to Domain are now from mobile devices, and that continues to grow every month.

There’s also a huge consumer trend in social media and mobile is really at the front of that. About 70 per cent of people have downloaded a social media app, so it’s huge uptake.

At Domain, we provide content via social media, whether that is Twitter or Facebook, and we post videos to YouTube as well. They’re the three key social media platforms in terms of consumer usage.

CONSTANT ENGAGEMENT
Consumers are ‘always on’. They’ve always got access to an agent’s listings and we’re seeing consumer behaviour change with the uptake of mobile.

In terms of access to listings via smartphones, this peaks on a Saturday morning and for tablet devices, peak usage is in the evenings – perhaps people are on their couch watching TV and multitasking. It means that from an agent’s point of view, your consumers are always going to be accessing your content.

With this in mind, Domain delivered some consumer enhancements recently. All our mobile devices now support video content, and as video is highly engaged by consumers on mobile devices, I’d certainly be encouraging agents to utilise this medium.

Also at Domain, we have introduced finger search on our iPad device, which is a unique piece of functionality to Domain, allowing a consumer to draw the area they wish to search on a map using their finger.

What’s more, we’ve recently launched more releases to personalise the experience, so now you can use our mobile devices and upload your own notes and photos against a listing. This really works well when someone is out and about at an open for inspection.

By using these techniques, you are not only enhancing the consumer experience, but adapting your business to a new environment in which the consumer is ‘always on’.

UTILISING PLATFORMS
Native apps, which Domain has also invested in, are purpose built applications based around the device and the operating system, allowing publishers to unlock the full potential of that device or system.

They’ve all got unique functionality, so by building native apps you can really unlock that functionality and provide the very best consumer experience, which means that agents benefit from greater engagement from consumers through the listings on those native apps.

It’s more costly to take this pathway, but it provides such a superior consumer experience that for a publisher who is trying to provide the very best consumer experience, it’s the way to go.

I believe the use of mobile devices will continue to increase in the future, so it’s importatant to continue to invest heavily in these in order to build new functionality and maximise client engagement.

With this in mind, there are two key things pending at Domain: we’re building a native Android tablet application, which will be released shortly, and we’re also building our new branding opportunity for agents across all our devices. This will enable agents to have priority and heavily branded listings so they can use mobile devices to differentiate their brands.

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