By Seth Kaplan
The recent release of the iPhone 5 and the fact that Apple has replaced Google Maps with their own proprietary mapping system has brought a lot of attention to just how important the mapping feature on mobile devices has become.
A recent report by comScore found that traffic to map websites on desktops has been steady now for quite a number of years, averaging between 95-100 million unique visitors during any month. This represents approximately 40 percent of the US population. However, in the past six months, the number of smartphone visitors to map websites and apps has jumped 24 percent to 92 million unique visitors a month, representing 83 percent of the smartphone population, leaving a ton of room for growth.
These statistics are indicative of much of what we know about mobile users and their mentality. Mobile users are motivated by the here and now or, as it relates to maps, the “I’m here and want to get there.” This further signals the aggressive nature of the mobile user, not just looking for information (i.e. the map) but simultaneously using it to actively get from point A to B.
Maps and real estate sites go hand in hand. Map search is the primary focal point of many real estate websites. In addition, many of the most popular real estate apps highlight their map search feature for users to find properties in specific areas of interest or around their actual location. As mapping shifts from desktops to mobile devices, don’t be surprised to see “map search” integrated into mobile websites in the near future.
Over the past 15 months, search traffic on desktops across the big five engines, with the intent of mapping/navigation is down 41 percent (comScore). It’s not that people are searching less, just from a different device: their mobile device. Why spend five minutes at your desktop printing up a map when you can pull it up from the car. The same shift has already occurred in real estate as people are shifting from the map search on desktop to map search within apps. Now, as more and more local real estate brokers build out state-of-the-art mobile websites to meet the demands of their mobile consumers, transferring the “map search’ ability from desktop to mobile device will be vital.
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