Imagine driving to the airport. Getting there early is ideal — having time to unwind before the flight, stroll around the airport, maybe buy a magazine or two. To do this, one would need to chart the most efficient way to get there with time to spare.
Sure, they can access the Google Maps website on their phone and view an on-screen map. It’s more likely, however, that they would pull up the Google Maps app on their phone for a hands-free experience that will give them step-by-step directions to the airport — as only a mobile app can do.
For a navigation service such as Google Maps, users would want it to update as their location does. The same goes for a home search service.
As a potential homebuyer drives through towns and counties on the hunt for their dream home, the service should personalize to them and reflect their up-to-date location and search preferences.
That kind of engagement and personalization can only come from a native app.
User search on the go
According to a Google Consumer Survey carried out in April 2014, buyers used their mobile device the most when they were out looking for a home to search for listings and find directions to them.
While driving through town, no one wants to refresh a responsive real estate website constantly to see which homes are closest to them, hosting open houses, etc. That functionality is more natural with an app than a responsive website.
The user experience in a native app does not just map a home search to their particular location.
It also allows them to save searches and properties, set up notifications for homes they are very interested in, use filters to customize the search process to find the perfect listing for them and create a login so they can access all this saved information whenever they need to.
A responsive website is certainly part of an effective mobile strategy but it does not allow you create a personalized search profile in the same manner.
As a supplement to the strength of the display-only website, an app provides a personalized user experience rather than just a generic one.
Prompt for better user experience
Ultimately this generates more engagement and loyalty. A study carried out by the Adobe Digital Index shows that app usage doubles that of websites and has a 75-percent longer session length.
Perhaps this is why pulling up the Google Maps website generates the following message: “Get there faster with the app. GPS navigation, traffic alerts and more with Google Maps for iPhone” with an option to click and download the app.
Just like the end user of Google Maps, the end user of a real estate search service aka the homebuyer, wants a fast experience tailored to them.
If a real estate broker, team or agent already has a responsive website, they should ideally be prompting users to download their app especially when the page is accessed from a mobile device.