For many property portals, download totals for iPhone apps are definitely something to crow about. zillow.com, rightmove.co.uk and immonet.de are just three examples of portals that have reported record download totals for their apps over the past year. But does this really mean these portals have the best iPhone apps on offer?
Last month, number two Australian property portal domain.com.au revealed that its iPhone app, which has been on the market since mid-2009, had been downloaded over 500,000 times, making it the most downloaded iPhone app for real estate in Australia. “domain.com.au was the first major Australian property portal to offer an iPhone app – as well as the first with an iPad app – and we are determined to deliver market-leading functionality and simplicity for everyone searching to buy, sell or rent,” said Tony Blamey, general manager of real estate at domain.com.au parent company Fairfax Media.
Top Australian property portal realestate.com.au only released its iPhone app at the end of last year, but while it had some catching up to do, the app hit 184,000 downloads by April. In mid-August, realestate.com.au held the highest position in the iTunes store among real estate iPhone apps, coming in at number 75 on the most-downloaded apps ranking.
The next real estate app in the iTunes ranking was from free-to-list classifieds site Gumtree, which came in at number 92 in terms of downloads. domain.com.au’s app was the third real estate app on the list at number 151. Within the Lifestyle category, realestate.com.au’s app was number five in terms of downloads, followed by Gumtree’s at number seven, and domain.com.au’s at number 12.
There were two other noteworthy real estate apps in the Lifestyle category: The Commonwealth Bank’s real estate search app at number 25, and ANZ’s property tracker, which was much further down the list at number 133. Both these apps offer an Augmented Reality view as part of their search capabilities, but this clearly hasn’t made them the top choice for home hunters.
Another factor to consider when comparing download figures is software updates, which require existing users to download a new version of an app. domain.com.au’s iPhone app is currently on version 3.0, while realestate.com.au is on version 1.4. So, with a newer app that has been downloaded more times according to the iTunes ranking, it seems realestate.com.au actually has the top real estate iPhone app in Australia.
But another way to look at the success of iPhone apps is to consider the amount of traffic they generate for a property portal. domain.com.au now says 14 percent of its traffic comes through its iPhone app. When asked for statistics on its app, realestate.com.au would only reveal that 15 percent of its property detail page views come from mobile sources, which would also include its mobile website. By this measure, it seems domain.com.au is ahead in the iPhone app stakes.
One more way to compare the success of an app is to look at user feedback on the iTunes store. Here, both realestate.com.au and domain.com.au have an average rating of 3.5 stars for all versions of their apps – a dead heat.
So, which measure do you think is most important for property portals when it comes to their iPhone apps? Should we be paying attention to huge download figures, traffic totals, or user satisfaction? Let us know your thoughts in our comments.