The Real Estate Marketing Blog team woke up this morning on the 13th floor of the Chicago Hilton, but it doesn’t look to be an unlucky day so far as we’ve cracked the wifi access network (they gave everyone the wrong password) and can send you live updates from the Search Engine Strategies conference as they happen. Or at least as we deem newsworthy.
John du Pre Gauntt (eMarketer) started off the talk this morning called “Mobile Search Battle Royale.” This was a mobile search discussion. Here are some key/interesting points he made:
- In Asia, most of first-time search users are using a mobile screen (as opposed to desktops). This is interesting in the US because people here probably won’t jump to mobile search as aggressively.
- Telecoms are still duking it out over compatibility and implementation of standard practices. This means that your current mobile ad campaigns will have to be done in separate agreements with separate carriers / ad platforms.
- Mobile search works best when there are tools to back up the accurate result; making it so that people can easily act upon whatever they find is crucial. So if people are looking for homes to check out while on the road, they better be able to easily download a flyer or give you a call, or else they may just wait until they go home to act upon their search.
- Global mobile search ad revenues were at 6.8 million in 2006, but will grow to 221.3 in 2008, and then explode into ten times that by 2011. So it’s really going to take off as an advertising platform.
- The sooner people can just simply port their normal computer habits over to mobile devices, the sooner mobile advertising will become more relevant. Right now a lot of mobile devices still have clunky user input and display capabilities.
Are WAP versions of sites really necessary since most phones are moving to being fully compatible with HTML?
WAP will diminish in value as HTML is more widely accepted on phones and other mobile devices. This means that developing a separate website that targets phones may help more right now than any time in the future. Eventually, all phones should be able to access the main web language, which currently is HTML.
Jeff Torgerson (Idearc Media Group) then stepped to the podium to deliver us some more on mobile advertising. Here’s what he went over:
- Google Android, an open-source phone application development environment, will provide a lot of ad opportunities for mobile soon.
- Android may let us as mobile searchers actually finish transactions on the phone, as opposed to just getting standard contact information for a business.
- Similar problems with mobile search as there once was with regular search – mainly websites appearing differently on different browsers.
- People are mostly searching for on phones: large retail chains, dine in/out, and home improvement. This means that real estate is not something people are actively looking for on their phones – yet.
- Currently people are still browsing for stuff more on mobile phones than searching for stuff. That’s because the search capabilities are still pretty clunky.
What can someone with no search marketing experience do to advertise on mobile devices?
It’s pretty tough at this point because there’s no one player who can currently deliver a large amount of targeted impressions for your ads. Right now the only people with the resources to assemble a comprehensive campaign with most carriers and ad platforms are big companies. Mom and pop establishments will not be able to figure out how to manage the various interfaces and technical challenges.
Should small business even try to get into this game?
This isn’t something where it’s going to go away as an advertising platform, so any time is a good time. You just can’t have the expectation that setting up a mobile ad campaign is going to easily yield you a high amount of traffic like current web ad search platforms.
People in the audience said that they were largely unsatisfied with the amount of search volume available via mobile devices. That means that it’s probably difficult to get a large amount of really targeted traffic from a mobile device right now.
Some additional thoughts we have on how this relates to real estate:
GPS may allow realtors in the future to know whether people are close to an open house and send them a message to let them know.
An interesting panel, not a great deal of immediately applicable information for real estate marketers.
As a side note, it’s funny to watch people on the panel roll their eyes at people asking redundant questions.
Funniest line: (by du Pre Gauntt) “I’m John, and I’m a mobile search user.”