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The New York Times leverages iPhone?s features in real estate app update

The app, redesigned for the first time since its 2007 launch, now combines the best real estate articles with the week?s most desirable properties on the market chosen by Times editors, in a continuously updated news stream paired with the ability to search for homes for sale or rent. The move continues the Times? effort to highlight its mobile properties to boost engagement with its content.

?The decision to overhaul the mobile user experience comes as part of a wider strategy of reinvestment in real estate at The Times,? said Matthew Shadbolt, the Times? director of real estate products. ?We already have a large mobile audience for our real estate content and search products, and so we took advantage of the opportunity to develop a unique product which capitalized on everything the iPhone could offer.

?As a natural consequence of working within a ?location, location, location? based category, our team has a very clear mobile-first perspective, and it?s been exciting to build that mobile search experience around what we do best, our journalism,? he said.

Search tools
The redesigned app also includes in-depth search tools with the ability to search by keyword location, zip code, neighborhood or search for homes and open houses nearby. The search results can be refined by categories such as price reductions, open houses, newest, for sale by owner and new development.

Reaching a sizable audience on mobile.

The stream-based real estate news content will be updated throughout the day, free to all readers.
The revamp also includes easy-to-use agent and brokerage contact forms, a new mortgage calculator and maps for viewing property locations and directions.

While the original Times real estate app helped brokers, buyers and sellers navigate the market, the new app differs from its predecessor by combining real estate coverage from The New York Times newspaper and digital news products with iOS-supported search and personalization technologies.
?The main difference from the previous version of the app is the increased voice of our editorial content, which is the first thing our users see when they open the new app,? Mr. Shadbolt said. ?By blending together the articles and properties we choose from the search products, we can create a stream-based experience which updates frequently throughout the day. That?s something very new and useful for our readers.?

Blending the two experiences together throughout the day not only gives Times? users something new to look at whenever they open the app, but also reveals what specifically resonates with the brand?s mobile audience at different times of the day.

?The main insight we saw from the previous version was how weekend-focused the use of the app was,? Mr. Shadbolt said. ?Open houses are very popular here in New York City, and the app had a lot of use around searches for what?s on the market on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which also aligns with our overall readership patterns on and offline.

?As a result, we?ve made the search tools easier to use in finding open houses, what?s new to the market, and perhaps most importantly, what?s recently been reduced,? he said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.