The attendees of Heartland Mobile Council’s MobiU2012 Summit, held in Chicago on September 24, expected to learn a thing or two about mobile. Despite the fact that I was one of the presenters, I can humbly say the event did not disappoint.
A few of the key takeaways included:
- Targeting Teens: Teens (your not-so-distant-future renters) are addicted to their phones and social networks (like, duh!) and wield $200 billion in spending power (like, wow!), according to Kim Luegers, Director of Mobile & Emerging Platforms, Pandora, and Sarah Bild, Sr. Marketing Manager, Gatorade, PepsiCo. So, you might want to think about how those behaviors are going to follow teens into their renting years, and how your marketing programs should evolve to meet their needs. In fact, I touched on this topic earlier this year.
- Mobile Leaves a Mark on Millennials: Another interesting stat from the same presentation, which was culled from a 2012 SymphonyIRI study, mobile advertising is 194% more likely to influence brand selection when shopping among Millennials. This stat more likely applies to shopping for, say, clothes, or whatever it is Millennials shop for, but, again, start assuming now mobile will have the same influence when shopping for an apartment.
- Showrooming: Nearly, 30% of consumers use mobile to aid their in-store shopping, and the younger the consumer, the more that number goes up. This phenomenon, known as showrooming, was discussed by presenters from Best Buy, Cars.com and others. Are you seeing this in the multifamily industry? Are prospects taking quick peeks of their phones mid-tour? If so, it might not be their text messages that they’re checking but comparing your apartment to others online.
- Phones to Trump Desktop: Obligatory stats on when mobile will overtake desktop for internet usage were peppered throughout the presentations during the day. In my presentation, I quoted data from Morgan Stanley that puts it at 2014, but one other presenter found data suggestion 2013. Either way, it’s happening and it’s happening soon.
- Mobile Moms: Kyle Mengwasser from Kimberly-Clark had some very interesting data about women, specifically moms, and mobile usage. They’re amongst the heaviest users of mobile, 67% of them own smartphones (the overall penetration is 47%, according to comScore), and moms spend two-times more time online than the general population. At Apartments.com, more than half of our users are women, presumably many of them moms, which is another reason why we continue to invest in mobile.
- Enviable Mobile Reach: Lastly, Michael Bayle of ESPN offered some jaw-dropping stats about their mobile usage, including that they have over 102 million users of their mobile products generating 14.5 million daily visits. Consider my mind sufficiently blown.
For more tidbits from the Summit, search #MobiU2012 on Twitter.
During my presentation, I was asked to speak about the differences we see in the usage patterns between our mobile offerings (which, to keep it simple, include our m.apartments.com mobile site, iPhone app and Android app) and our stationary, or desktop, Apartments.com site. Sure, I said, that would be no problem, if only there actually were major differences between the two.
When I compared the data, what really jumped at me were the similarities. Looking at usage by time-of-day, for example, shows renters access our mobile products at roughly the same times as our desktop site.
You don’t necessarily see the very stark differences that, for example, Google sees in searches, which is demonstrated in this chart:
Which, sure, might be a little disappointing (who doesn’t want to be like Google?), but ultimately it has more to do with when people conduct a very specific task like hunt for an apartment than it does with the Apartments.com product mix. (For the record, mobile usage, particularly on the iPad, bumps up noticeably on weekends.)
The point of my talk, in short, was that you don’t have to see radically different usage patterns in mobile vs. desktop to justify the expense. As mobile traffic grows, our primary responsibility is to make sure we can continue to deliver the same value and level of service to both our advertisers and the consumers who visit our sites and apps, no matter what the device. And that’s a message that was heard throughout the day.