Create Your Mobile Strategy: Native Apps Versus Mobile Web

Perhaps you’re scratching your head saying something like, “what’s the difference?” If you are, you’re not alone. Unless you’re a software developer or an UI/UX designer (if you don’t know what this is, don’t worry), you probably don’t have time to get too in depth about the difference.

You’re not expected to be a tech expert, but it’s still good to know the basics. With more and more of your clients using their mobile device to navigate the home buying process, approximately eight out of ten according to the California Association of REALTORS’ “2013 Survey of California Home Buyers”, it’s imperative that you have a mobile strategy that takes into account how consumers are searching and what they’re searching for.

In this post we’ll get you up to speed on the difference between native apps and mobile web, what each offers for you and your clients, and how to integrate them into your mobile strategy.

Native apps on the iPhone
Native apps on the iPhone

Let’s start with native apps. Native apps are mobile applications developed for use on a specific device. Because they’re designed for a specific device, like your iPhone or Android, they integrate with the phone’s features — things like your camera and GPS. This means that a user can search for all available homes based on their current location. A recent study by Flurry found that of the 2 hours and 38 minutes that U.S. consumers spend daily on their mobile device, 80% of that time is spent inside native apps. A study by Google and the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) found that 68% of home shoppers surveyed used mobile apps to search for a home. With stats like these, there’s no arguing the value of native apps.

Mobile web downloader page
Mobile web downloader page

Now on to mobile web. Mobile web is just as it sounds — a mobile version of the web. Mobile web is what happens outside of apps. When you use your smartphone’s browser to look something up, you’re using mobile web. With 89% of new home shoppers using a mobile search engine at the onset and throughout their home buying process, according to the same study by Google and NAR, it has become increasingly important for web information to be designed and optimized to display correctly on mobile devices.

Now you’re probably wondering if you need a native app or mobile. The answer — you need both.

Why, you ask? Because consumers are using both to search for homes. In some cases, they’re going directly to the app store, downloading a real estate search app and searching that way. Other times, they’re opening their mobile browser on their tablet or smartphone and typing in “Homes for sale in ABC community”. You want them to find you no matter which way they’re searching.

The Smarter Agent mobile platform was designed to provide you with both a custom branded native app, available in all the app stores, and a mobile web version to add to your website. Your custom branded mobile app is shareable via a simple text code or downloadable via a unique downloader URL you add to your website. The Smarter Agent “Sniffer” code even detects when a mobile user is trying to access your website and redirects them to download your app for free. No matter which way home buyers find you, all leads go back to you. That means when they find the property they’ve been looking for, they call or email you.

Want more information on Smarter Agent’s mobile platform? Join us for one of our upcoming webinars by clicking here.

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