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Why is the UK property sector so slow at adopting mobile technology?

By Andrew Barber
How many property professionals do you know who haven’t got a smartphone? I can’t think of any! I know several with two phones and a tablet and even one surveyor with three phones - and he’s still difficult to get hold of!

So why, when we use this technology all day long, is the sector so slow in adopting a mobile strategy in its approach to marketing and publicity?

According to a report by Hitwise conducted in the USA last year nearly 60 percent of online searches are “now from mobile devices.” This means that, if around 60% of searches for your website are made on mobile devices, it’s probably safe to assume that a fair proportion of new visits to your website are also on mobile devices.

But what happens when they get there? Can they find what they’re looking for easily? If not, what do they do?

According to Google, 61% of mobile users are unlikely to return to a website if they have trouble accessing it and 40% said that they would rather visit a competing site (read more here). The message is clear, websites that are not mobile-friendly are likely to drive traffic into the arms of a competitor.

That’s a pretty sobering thought for any business that does not provide a good experience for those visiting their websites on a mobile device.

So here’s a question - why is the property sector so slow in its adoption of mobile-friendly technologies? The reliance on mobile technology is a fact of life, and has been a growing trend for many years. Despite this, the websites of many property businesses are not mobile-friendly, taking the risk that their competitors may be benefitting at their expense.

Research undertaken by SoftForge, the website design, build and hosting business, in conjunction with Net Yield reveals that the lack of mobile-friendly websites is still widespread and is more of a problem in certain sectors of the market.

The study, which made use of Google’s ‘mobile-friendly test’ application, reveals that housebuilders, who are focused on targeting consumers, clearly realise the importance of having a mobile-friendly website, with only three of the Top 25 housebuilders having websites that failed the test. The performance of commercial developers was also good, with just five of the Top 25 developers failing the test.

The worst performing sector of all is in agency where the SoftForge research reveals that almost 60% of agents’ websites were found to fail the mobile friendly test or were simply not accessible, offline or “under construction”. The problem seems to be with smaller firms as 17 of the top 25 agency firms were found to have mobile-friendly websites (compared to 12 in the 2016 survey).

It is not surprising that smaller, regional firms were found to lagging behind the big national and international firms as a website is a major investment for such businesses. However, with the pace at which web technologies are advancing, responsive, mobile-friendly websites can be developed on advanced content management software at a fraction of the cost that would have been paid just a few years ago.

To learn more about the subject, there is more concerning the importance of mobile-friendly websites here. Alternatively, why not contact us to discuss how Net Yield can help you.


Google's Mobile Friendly Test

Test your own site using Google’s mobile-friendly test. See if you pass.