According to the Pew Research Group, 77% of Americans now own a smartphone. Online marketers have been saying this for years, of course, but if you don't have a strong mobile presence you are not prepared to compete in the world of online marketing. And that's more true today than ever before. If you aren't convinced, here are seven stats that explain why mobile apartment marketing ought to be an essential part of your online strategy.
61% of people have a better opinion of a brand when they offer a good mobile experience.
This fits a bit with some of the sources cited above. Mobile is now so fundamental to the way people interact with businesses, shop, and research purchases online that if you fail to deliver it's noted and reflects badly on your overall business. On the other hand, if you have a really smooth mobile site that too will be remembered and can improve your reputation with prospective residents. (source)
91% of all apartment residents are likely to use mobile next time they are looking for an apartment.
This is perhaps the most important one of all for our industry. Given the sheer volume of people specifically shopping for our product who plan to use mobile next time they're shopping it is simply inexcusable to not have a strong mobile presence. This point also highlights the importance of your community's Google My Business listing as that listing will likely be the top result on mobile devices. (source)
Smartphone conversation rates are, on average, 64% higher than desktop conversion rates.
If you're not familiar with the term, conversation rate is a kind of short-hand marketers use to quickly explain what percentage of people who interact with a piece of marketing content than take the next step toward purchasing.
The most common conversation rate in multifamily is probably the percentage of leasing tours that convert into leases. If you gave 10 tours and got three leases from them, your leasing team would have a 30% conversion rate.
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What this stat means is that smartphone users generally convert at a much higher rate than desktop users. This isn't really a surprise though. Desktop users are probably on their desktop device precisely because they want to take more time to do research, they're considering a lot of options, etc. Mobile users generally are more action-focused: They're out and about, they pull up something on their phone, and they need to make a decision whether or not to act relatively quickly.
Of course, in one sense this means that mobile does not affect multifamily as much because a lot of the quick purchase decisions someone makes on mobile is with something like "what will I get to eat?" or "should I go to that movie?" These are quick, low-risk purchases—the opposite of a decision to lease an apartment, in other words.
That said, this statistic still matters for our industry for a simple reason: When someone is browsing websites on mobile, they are thinking about purchasing. Making a buying decision is at the front of their minds. So if you give them a bad experience on mobile, you've just alienated them at the worst possible time because they were specifically asking themselves "what apartment do I want to lease?" and you just gave them a bad experience. You probably aren't getting that lease. So even if our industry isn't based on low-risk, quick purchases, which is what most mobile purchases are, it is still important that you provide a good experience on mobile. (source)
57% of users won't recommend a business with a poor mobile presence.
Same story again with this stat. The point to take away from all this is that reputation management isn't just about handling online apartment reviews; it's about building a professional presence online that causes users to subconsciously begin to trust your entire business.
One other point to keep in mind: "Poor mobile presence" doesn't just mean "the site looks bad on mobile devices." Experience is a big deal too. If you have a pretty site but no one knows how to use it, then it doesn't do you much good and you may end up falling victim to this prejudice users have against companies with bad mobile sites even though you spent tons of money on your mobile site. Be sure you are providing an excellent user experience on your mobile site. If you aren't, it will cost you. (source)
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90% of smartphone shoppers use their phone for "pre-shopping" like finding directions, looking for product reviews, etc.
This is a key point that many in our industry are beginning to understand. In the past you could control how much information a prospect had because they got all of it directly from you or from a paid advertising source that you didn't control, format, produce, etc.
But now a signficant chunk of the buying process is completed before the prospect ever contacts your community. Helping those sort of prospects do the kind of research they're attempting to do is a great way to build your reputation with them—but that means you need a mobile-friendly apartment website. (source)
70% of mobile searches lead to an action on the website within one hour.
Again, this relates to the idea of the immediacy of mobile. Someone isn't browsing your site on mobile just for fun. They're doing it because they need some specific piece of data. So there tends to be a very strong correlation between mobile usage and actual business outcomes. (source)
84% of time spent in mobile apps is spent in only five apps.
This is a very important point to understand before you drop tons of money on a new app for your community or company: It's likely that basically no one will use the app. While it is true that people now spend more time in mobile apps than they do on desktop devices or a mobile browser, it is also true that 84% of the time they spend in apps is spent in one of five apps, on average. Those apps almost always include Facebook and Google, with the remainder coming from a small set of popular, interest-based apps like a Weather app, a News app, a Sports app, other social apps like Twitter or Pinterest, video apps like YouTube, and games and music apps.
What this means is that your adoption rate should you launch an app will probably be pretty low and your engagement rate with that app—people who download it and then actually use it—may be even worse. If you're one of the giants of multifamily, that may be OK. Creating an app that allows people to easily pay rent, report maintenance issues, etc. may be worth your time. But unless you're a massive company with a pretty significant budget, it probably isn't a good idea to invest the typically large amount of money required to develop your own app. People do use apps, to be sure, but they mostly use them for a relatively limited range of activities and these days have mostly settled on a small number of apps they like to use regularly. So be careful about investing in an app. (source)
Hopefully you didn't need convincing that mobile is a big deal when you started this post. But if you did, hopefully we've managed that. And if you're a property manager or marketing director who needs help selling others in your company on the value of mobile, we hope this post can be helpful. If you need additional help with your online marketing, do request a free consultation. We'd love to learn more about what you're doing and see how we might be able to help.