If there is a crystal ball for seeing the future of technology and trends, it would be Mary Meeker’s annual internet report. Kylie Davis delved in and picked up some predictions on the direction the real estate industry (and its customers) might head.
Each year, Mary Meeker of KPCB produces her annual internet report, which examines the major economic, social, advertising, internet, global and behavioural trends that are developing. She’s recognised as a leading expert on calling trends and this year, her deck is 213 slides long.
We’ve gone through the deck and pulled out what we believe are the most important things that will affect real estate.
- Mobile growth is slowing
While mobile phone sales are continuing to grow, the rate of that growth is slowing – mainly because just about everyone who needs a smartphone now has one. The take out for real estate agents is that mobile is now completely mainstream, not special – so there’s no excuse for your website and engagement not to be completely mobile friendly. Facebook already has over 60% of its traffic being from mobile devices and you should expect similar numbers to your website. If you aren’t mobile responsive you are losing over half your audience.
- Different generations absorb information differently
Anyone with teenagers knows that the generations think differently, but Meeker points out they also absorb information differently. Gen X behaves differently to Baby Boomers, and they are both deeply different to Millennials with regards to how optimistic they are, and their approach to spending – important things when buying or selling property. For real estate agents, this can be of real importance. Communicating to the generations in a way they can relate to best will inspire greater confidence and trust.
- Expand the way you communicate
Phoning is so old school. If you intend encouraging Millennials (and remember, many of these guys are now in their 30s) to buy or sell property, you need to master social and internet/messaging now. The research shows that the younger the buyer or seller, the less they prefer telephone. Even Gen Xs (of which this writer is a proud card carrying member), only just prefer phone over electronic messaging (there’s a 1% differential which statisticians will tell you is inconsequential). So look at how you can add tools such as Messenger, Snapchat or Whatsapp to your communication mix.
- Video and images rule the new universe
While Gen X love text over speaking to anyone (21% webchat + 28% email = 49% text preference), younger generations don’t just believe a picture tells a thousand words, they regularly live it. Both generations prefer pictures to text or speech, and are therefore favouring the more visual social media, or visual elements of social media.
To embrace this, agents need to embrace video, especially as a way of providing guidance and “how to” navigate the market successfully. Data visualisations are great ways to communicate complicated concepts in easy to understand ways (such as market performance). And images need to be beautiful, or clever, or funny – or ideally all of the above – so they can be quickly and easily shared to your advantage.
- Big data is so yesterday
If you’re only just starting to embrace the idea of big data, hold five. The third wave, according to Meeker, is Fast Data. Fast Data is about how data analytics helps business – so it’s more about insights and tools that turn complicated datasets into deliveries that are easily understood by normal human beings (rather than data nerds) and can be quickly used to make good decisions. The only trick with this is that it usually takes a lot of smarts to make extraordinarily clever and complicated datasets look and behave simply. So the takeout for agents here is to partner with businesses that can help you understand and show you how to maximise the use of your data.