This post was originally written by Brandon Hollembeak, Product Manager – Advertising Products & Services
You’re not alone. However, adoption of smart phones is rapidly growing. But don’t take my word for it, these numbers speak for themselves:
- Nearly 18.5 million Americans own an Apple iPhone.
- Over 54 million other Americans are using smartphones running on Google Android, Microsoft Windows, RIM (Blackberry) and Palm operating systems in Q1 of 2011, up 15% from Q4 of 2011.*
- Three out of four Americans ages 13 and up have a mobile phone now.
How are these new mobile phone owners using their phone?
It’s a split between people browsing the web and downloading apps neck-and-neck at 38% each, while almost 70% of them have a texting plan and use it actively.
Still wondering if “mobile” is something you should be involved in? As the conversation continues to grow and change dramatically over the last few years—thanks in large part to Apple, and now Google—it’s good to start off by looking at how the landscape is shaping up today.
Today’s Mobile Landscape
More and more people are accessing the web through their phone than a computer, so is your website “mobile-compatible”? Sure it may work on YOUR phone, but what about MY phone? Your friend’s phone? Even your mom’s phone?! There are several tools online now to help you start answering this question, but with 3/4 of Americans with mobile phones today, the easy way to do this is to have people test it for you. Buy them a Starbucks, take them to lunch, whatever you have to do, but finding this answer is as easy as asking a friend or colleague to test it for you!
You definitely want to find out what renters see when they find your site through a search on their mobile device in order to keep them interested and to contact you. Make sure they can!
Be Accessible Via Text
The most important part of getting people to know about your community, in the door, and most importantly, as a resident, is to be available in the way they feel most comfortable communicating. Just Iike our focus on Live Chat, texting continues to be a growing way for renters to contact people and businesses. Can renters text you for information on an apartment?
Start by keeping it simple. Mobile keywords are the easiest and most effective way for businesses to setup texting to reach users on the go. They are also a great way to turn print, voice and outdoor advertisements into truly interactive experiences. A phrase like “Text APTS to 29999″ (our texting demo) is easy to use and remember, where APTS is your customizable keyword (like an email address before the @) and 29999 is the short code you send the text message to.
With almost 3/4 of mobile users texting today, this continues to become an even more important method of talking to renters, getting them in the door and into your apartments!
Ever heard of a QR code? A QR code is essentially a link that you define, so you can use the image anywhere you advertise, print or online, although print ads are the most effective place to include them. How are people using QR codes? Nearly 1/4 of smartphone users scanned QR codes in Feb 2011, looking for specials and coupons (53%), accessing more info (52%), entering a contest (33%), signing up to receive more info (26%), and more.**
Just like mobile keywords, QR (Quick Response) codes are slowly building, as businesses and consumers find the best way to use them. The mobile operating systems are also making an effort to make it easier for users to scan codes. Google recently built a barcode scanner into its operating system so no separate app is needed, and Apple is rumored to be doing the same. Once it’s inherent in the mobile phone, like texting, you’ll start seeing people use it MUCH more.
You can find free QR Code generators by a simple search online, which will give you a QR code once you give it a URL. Even better, if you’re using a vendor service to generate and maintain the code for you, you can even change the URL if you need to, without having to reprint or republish the code!
As you can see, technology is reinventing how consumers access information including looking for an apartment. Harnessing these new online trends will help you extend your reach to renters by creating even more access to your content. Not only is this imperative to staying competitive in today’s ever-evolving technological climate, but it’s also key to remaining relevant with how renters are searching and viewing information.
We’re trained to keep a pulse on all things mobile (and it’s pretty much an obsession of mine), as it’s becoming so ingrained in all of our daily lives, so stay tuned for more info about how to use mobile to advertise and connect with renters. After all, if you don’t have an iPhone…you may need one soon.
Have specific questions about using mobile to advertise? Ask in the Comments below, or email me at email@example.com!
* comScore March 2011 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share
** MGH, Inc. QR Code Usage and Interest Survey, Feb 2011