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Mobile Devices Fuel Today’s Home Search

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Commentary by Jeremy Wacksman

home_search_on_tabletYou see smartphones and tablets all around you. From business executives in airport lounges to teenagers on buses to distracted drivers waiting at red lights, faces everywhere reflect the glow of a screen. People check their phones 150 times per day, according to a recent study.¹ Mobile device usage has become ingrained in our daily lives, empowering us to get immediate answers, make use of otherwise unproductive time, and interact with others whenever we want through phone calls, video chats and social media.

And mobile users love their apps. As smartphone and tablet users, we spend 89 percent of our media time on mobile apps, compared with just 11 percent browsing mobile websites.² For businesses, apps have become an instrumental medium to interact with consumers.

At Zillow, we realized early on that real estate information could be optimized for a mobile environment. So we focused heavily on developing great mobile apps and, as a result, now operate the most popular suite of real estate apps out there with more than two dozen across the major platforms.³ Mobile changes the consumer expectation in home shopping—mobile shoppers expect information immediately, and that the experience is personalized for their needs—so we’ve made those benefits core to the Zillow mobile experience.

Our data shows that consumers love shopping for homes on mobile devices. In March, more than 460 million homes were viewed on Zillow Mobile—that’s 173 homes per second.4 This figure has nearly doubled in one year.

So what does the consumer’s obsession with mobile mean for the real estate agent?

Today’s house hunters can integrate their mobile shopping with their Sunday drives, allowing them to immediately expand their knowledge about what’s on the market, who the listing agent is and where the next open house is located. With a few texts or emails between buyers and agents, a real estate deal can originate through a mobile device.

This integration of mobile with the home search means agents need to be on mobile to stay competitive. It means a mobile strategy is crucial to an agent’s marketing plan. It means listings and agent contact details need to be on mobile, because that’s where the consumer is looking.

Zillow helps agents fulfill their mobile needs by publishing all listings and agents on both desktop and mobile for free. Regardless of whether agents advertise with us, they’re visible to consumers on our apps if they’ve set up a free Zillow profile. This helps everyone involved in the home-buying process—buyers, sellers and agents—be more successful.

¹ 2013 Internet Trends, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, May 2013
² The Cross-Platform Report, The Nielson Company, Q4 2013
³ Zillow Internal, March 2014
4 Google Analytics, March 2014

Jeremy Wacksman is vice president, Marketing and Product Management, Zillow. For more information, visit www.zillow.com.

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