The Rise of the Mobile Internet

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How does your website look on your mobile device? How are you targeting mobile consumers? More importantly, are you targeting mobile consumers?

It’s funny: I set out on this rainy Sunday to write about how and why we are using QR Codes in our marketing at Sage Real Estate. It didn’t take long for me to start chasing a squirrel (anyone who has seen Up should understand this reference). I quickly realized that before I can talk about QR Codes, I need to tackle the underlying trend that makes QR Codes relevant, and that trend is the rise of the mobile Internet.

According to Bloomberg, mobile device sales (think smartphones: BlackBerry, iPhone etc.) will eclipse PC sales by 2012.  By 2011 they will be nearly at par, as the graph below illustrates:

Morgan Stanley is predicting that the mobile Internet will overtake the fixed Internet by 2014 (see chart below):

So what?

I know that many of you see that and say, so what? Why should I care? The answer is simple: THESE ARE YOUR CONSUMERS and their behaviour is changing.

We already know that 90% of buyers use the Internet during their search for a home. This is old news. What is important now is to recognize that these people are not just using the Internet;  they are now using the Internet on their BlackBerrys, iPhones, and iPads, and they will only continue to do so with greater frequency in the coming years. Just because you have a website does not mean that it will be legible on a mobile device; in fact, chances are that it will not be.

When people want information, they want to be able to get it instantly. They want to know the details about the property while they are standing in front of it; they do not want to wait until they are back home and sitting in front of their PC. This means that to effectively serve clients who list with Sage Real Estate, we need to be catering to today’s mobile Internet-using buyers. We need to provide them with the information they want, when they want it. This could be information about aspecific listing or it could be details about a neighbourhood.

The mobile Internet is being used by sellers as well as buyers. In fact, we have an ad going to print in the North Toronto Post in the next couple of weeks addressing this. The main call to action is to go to a mobile-enabled landing page which talks about how Sage Real Estate digitally markets all of our listings. We have even integrated a QR Code.

There is tremendous opportunity here as very few agents and brokerages are effectively leveraging the mobile web in Toronto…well, until now. At Sage we understand this trend and are making key landing pages mobile-enabled and marketing them in such a way that mobile consumers are easily able to find them. This is where QR Codes and short codes (think bit.ly) come into play.

In my next post  I will be digging in a bit deeper as to how we are targeting the mobile consumer using QR Codes.

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