Mobile and the era of re-imagining


My two favorite takeaways from venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends presentation at D10 last week:

  1. IPad growth is three times that of iPhones.
  2. Everything is being re-imagined.

Meeker’s presentation was filled with huge observations and predictions about the growth and potential of mobile. Global mobile traffic is now 10% of Internet traffic and growing rapidly. Mobile apps and advertising present an estimated $12 billion in revenue. An impressive 29% of adults in the U.S. own a tablet/e-reader, up from 2% less than three years ago.

The opportunity is gargantuan, and not easy. Even Facebook hasn’t nailed it.

The speed of adoption is astounding. Moore’s Law at work. And we’re still in the early stages. Imagine the numbers we’ll record in five years.

Because of this speed of growth, I expected to dive back into the real estate industry and have to race to catch up with all the new dev shops pushing out mobile apps for real estate. Then I remembered: a) this industry is tough, b) the market has been a real shit storm the last few years, and c) mobile itself is hard to figure out (Meeker shows that average revenue per user on mobile is much lower than desktop – one-fifth in the case of gaming giant Zynga).

If Facebook has 500 million mobile users and hasn’t hit the ball in the hole, then what is real estate to do?

Think differently.

Mobile offers more than smaller, touch-friendly screens. It offers a shot at engagement and intimacy that’s absent from desktop. The user experience is inherently different. Mobile leans back on the couch with us. It rides in our pockets and handbags. It kisses our faces and holds our hands – all day, every day.

Real estate evokes similar intimacy. Homes are our lives, our dreams and our memories. There’s a creative, engaging experience in here dying to break out. There’s no shortage of problems that marrying mobile to real estate could address.

We’re not there yet, which is great news. That means the best is yet to come.

Don’t miss the opportunity, though, by not experimenting. Think big and think broad. This is more than apps and optimized websites:

Are you thinking about how to test Facebook’s sponsored stories in your business? These ads are rolling out to mobile now.

Are you thinking about how to monetize the mobile apps you’ve already built? Mobile advertising is expected to grow five fold in the U.S. to $10 billion by 2016, according to eMarketer.

Are you using paid search in your current marketing efforts? Mobile is forecast to comprise 25% of all paid-search ad clicks by the end of the year. Are you optimized?

Is your team looking into mobile SEO best practices and how they may differ from standard SEO?

Have you tested putting ads in apps? The iTunes App Store drives 46 million downloads a day. And Google said today that AdWords advertisers will now be able to run campaigns in the AdMob network of more than 300,000 mobile apps.

A new world is rapidly building itself inside the devices we carry in our pockets every day. It’s not just an add-on to existing web strategy. It demands exploration.

It demands some re-imagining.

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