Mary Meeker dropped her 2014 Internet Trends Report at the <code> conference in San Francisco today.
As always, it’s an invaluable look at the state of affairs in technology. If you care about the web, apps and where things are headed, bookmark it. Then find some time to dig in and digest it.
In the meantime, I pulled out a couple trends that I thought were most relevant to online real estate.
Meteoric growth of messaging
I installed Line on my phone recently. I have Snapchat and WhatsApp accounts. I use each periodically and, while I don’t find either of them particularly “sticky” in everyday use, I do get their appeal.
(That said, I do confess I really don’t understand the whole “sticker” craze.)
As Meeker presented, messaging is huge and growing. Especially rich media messaging that can cross platforms.
I think the reasons why are pretty simple. The very nature of voice communications – a phone call that interrupts whatever I’m doing and commandeers my time – is incredibly disruptive. And not in the good sense of the word.
“Texting” is far more efficient. It’s asynchronous and can be dealt with far quicker than email.
Funny then that so few real estate apps seem to recognize this. Save for Redfin’s recent integration with Facebook Messenger, most still default sharing to email.
Communication between agents, and from agents to clients, also seems very email focused in real estate apps – when the reality is that our inboxes are often the very last place we look to communicate these days.
Unbundling of apps
Meeker highlights Facebook as an example of apps – or platforms – that are pulling themselves apart to create new, distinct experiences on mobile devices. This is happening at a rapid rate.
Man, if today isn’t time for this to start happening in real estate too.
Most real estate software is so busy: clunky, laden with information, tools, services, filters, refiners, power searches, I could go on and on. And on.
Mobile real estate has become a very heavy experience.
Let’s take a deep breath and pull back.
Move’s recent Doorsteps Swipe app is a really good example of an app that does one thing (visual search) and one thing really well.
I suspect we’ll see more of this unbundling of services over the coming years. Especially as the really big real estate platforms – MLS crowd, I’m looking at you – continue to try to redefine themselves and their value proposition.
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There’s tons more in Meeker’s report to wrap your head around. I hope to check in on some of them over the coming months.