Elite AgentReal Estate Tech & Social

Conquering the digital frontier: Mary Meeker

The message has been consistent – real estate agents need to embrace video marketing, harness the power of social media and ensure their mobile websites are top-notch. Now a report from US analyst Mary Meeker offers new insight into internet use and the statistics that back these recommendations.

Each year venture capitalist and former Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker trawls the deepest, darkest depths of internet data to examine the state of play. The result is her seminal Internet Trends Report, and it informs the decision-making of small and big business alike.

This year Meeker’s insight confirms a series of big-ticket trends that digital experts have long foretold would affect real estate. And spoiler alert – they were major themes at AREC, Digital Live and Transform this year.

Oh, so digital
Yes, we’re a digital bunch and oh, how we love our devices, with time spent on the internet now rising to 5.9 hours each day. That’s more than double the amount of time we spent logging on, Googling and relishing the speed of ADSL just 10 years ago, and a 0.3 per cent rise on 2016.
In a major turning point, now over half the global population is online.

Key takeaway – Your website is paramount because – it’s a no-brainer – people are looking online.

We are mobile
Chances are that time spent on the internet is courtesy of a smartphone, with mobile devices now well and truly outstripping the use of laptops and desktops. We currently spend 3.3 hours each day connected to the net via mobile devices, compared to just 2.1 hours using desktop or PC.

That’s partly due to the ready availability and affordability of smartphones, but it’s also attributed to the rising infiltration of wireless.

Key takeaway – Websites must be mobile optimised.

Video marketing is an essential weapon in every agent’s arsenal.

Video is where it’s at
If any proof was needed to confirm video is a big deal, then Meeker’s data paints a compelling picture. She notes video consumption now takes up 30 minutes of our time each day, compared to just five minutes in 2012.

This year that figure is tipped to rise to 35 minutes, and new content types are emerging.

Key takeaway – Video marketing is an essential weapon in every agent’s arsenal. Importantly, it can span different mediums and content types like Facebook Live, professional videos and property walk-throughs.

Social media is huge
It’s not just you; everyone’s spending more time on social media, with 135 minutes each day devoted to checking that status and posting those updates.

That’s 45 more minutes than we spent on social media sites daily in 2012. Meanwhile, Facebook now has a global audience of 2.2 billion.

Importantly, social media is emerging as a major tool in e-commerce, with product discovery becoming a big trend.

Key takeaway – If you’re not leveraging social media, you’re missing a major opportunity.

Messaging mania
Messaging is massive right about now, with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Instagram usage skyrocketing. WhatsApp users have trebled since 2012, now sitting at a figure of 1.5 billion. Messenger has gone from 0.25 billion users in 2013 to about 1.3 billion in 2017, while WeChat has risen from about 0.2 billion in 2012 to around 1 billion.

Just under 80 billion messages are sent each day via WhatsApp and just under 40 billion by WeChat.

Key takeaway – Messaging is a valid and increasing way of communicating with prospects and clientele.

Getting vocal
If there has been one outstanding trend in the past 12 months it is voice technology, with Meeker noting it has now reached “lift-off”. In 2017, Google Machine Word Learning Accuracy hit 95 per cent. In other words, voice assistants not only understand you, but talk back like a human as well.

Meanwhile, in the US Amazon Echo is now installed in 30 million places, and her skills have hit the 30,000 mark.

Key takeaway – Voice could be an agent’s best friend, allowing you to seek and find information while issuing instructions on the run.

We now have the potential to understand more about our audience and prospective clients than ever before.

Data drives the experience
All this searching, socialising and engaging is serving up a smorgasbord of helpful data to assist in customising the consumer experience and tailoring search results.

We now have the potential to understand more about our audience and prospective clients than ever before, and there are improved tools to reach them.

Meeker explains “Near me” data queries grew by an astounding 900 per cent between 2015 and 2017. “For me” was up by 60 per cent and “Should I” increased by 65 per cent.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence continues to be the focus. It’s getting better at recognising images and big business has increased its spending on AI projects.

Users are also more willing to share their data. Almost 80 per cent will share it for personal benefit, and 66 per cent with family and friends.

A professional digital footprint on social media is non-negotiable.

As a flow-on effect, all this machine learning and AI is creating greater accountability. Meeker notes:

  • Eight million videos have been removed from YouTube and Google. Over 80 per cent of those were flagged by algorithms.
  • Over on Facebook, 583 million fake accounts have been disabled, with 99 per cent flagged prior to user reporting. A further 21 million pieces of lewd content have been disabled, with 96 per cent flagged by algorithms. And the list goes on…

Key takeaway – Use the force. You now have greater insight and tools to target your audience via social media, internet and advertising.

An advertising opportunity
While we’re talking advertising, Meeker also identifies an area of opportunity, noting some seriously interesting statistics when it comes to the media where we spend our time, and the money we dedicate to advertising on that platform.

A professional digital footprint on social media is non-negotiable.

She notes:

  • 13 per cent of time is spent listening to radio. It attracts nine per cent of the advertising dollar.
  • 36 per cent of time is spent watching TV, and 36 per cent of the advertising dollar is dedicated to this medium
  • 18 per cent of time is spent on desktop, yet it commands 20 per cent of the advertising spend

And here’s the kicker…

  • 29 per cent of time is spent on mobile, yet advertising expenditure only equals 26 per cent.

Meeker indicates there’s a $7 billion opportunity in that last statistic alone.

Key takeaway – When advertising, consider where your audience is. Mobile ads might be a great medium to look at.

A quick recap
Let’s wrap with a recap of key points the real estate industry has heard time and again, but still they remain critical:

  • Your digital presence is imperative
  • Mobile optimisation is a must
  • A professional digital footprint on social media is non-negotiable
  • Video is a must-use content strategy
  • Analytics and data give you huge insight into your clients
  • Consider your advertising spend and the media where opportunities lie.

Note: Today is your last chance to register for Transform Digital to learn more about all of the above in the next 30 days. Register now at eliteagenttransform.com.

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.

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