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Propmodo’s Biggest Real Estate Technology Stories of 2019

We are constantly trying to understand you, dear reader. We desperately want to know what you want to read, need to read to help you stay ahead at your job, invest your time and money better or even just be more interesting at dinner parties. The best way we know how to do this is not to listen to what you say, but to look at what you do. It isn’t that we think you are lying, we just know that you are likely too busy to tell us anything. But, with the power of the internet, we are able to track your activity and learn about you as best as we can.

All year we are tracking what is working and what isn’t but it is in this most reflective time of year that everyone seems to like to look back so here we are. This tactic goes a bit against our anti-clickbait ethos but you are here and we are spending this quality time together so it is hard to have any regrets there. 

Before we start, we should talk a bit about our methodology. We are looking back at the calendar year here to keep with the “top articles of 2019” spirit, so it should be remembered that posts earlier in the year have an advantage to the ones published later. But…and this is a but big enough to admit to not being able to lie about, the large majority of our content gets about 90% of its engagement in the first two days of publication. In fact, these top-performing posts represent the minority of articles that did have a long tail. 

Our best performing article, Space as a Service: The Trillion Dollar Hashtag was written for the 2019 Propmodo Metatrends essay series. It was authored by Antony Slumbers, a well-followed speaker, essayist and dare-I-say provocateur (takes one to know one). By surrounding his great advice with some beautiful imagery this post has become one of the seminal pieces about the trend. 

One of the most important takeaways for us about this article, along with a few others on this list, is that it is long. I can’t tell you how often we get told that “people don’t read anymore” and that “people have no attention spans” and that longform is dead or dying or in some catatonic state waiting while its family decides when to end life support. Well, most of those people don’t have the kind of traffic that we do and so have no real way to back up this curmudgeonly hypothesis. It might be because we have a very sophisticated audience (I’m talking about you gorgeous;) or because there is so much fluffy short-form that when something with some real insights gets published people actually notice. Either way, it is one of our guiding insights. We don’t write long article just to write long articles but we realize that good stories and complicated topics need time to properly develop. If you are doing a good enough of a job explaining it people will come on the journey with you. 

Our second best performing article still remains a bit of a mystery to us. When we saw How IoT Is Taking Over the HVAC Industry start to perform incredibly well it sparked a bit of detective work. The article is really good and the title has some good search words but we have seen plenty of other similar articles not perform one tenth as well. We searched online and on social media sites to see if there was some publication or influencer who we could peg to this piece’s success. In the end we couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary so we concluded that one of the reasons was the supply-demand imbalance for good insights on HVAC (that is heating, ventilation and air conditioning for those of you wondering). There are so many contractors pumping out so much sales material about their HVAC systems that good insights are hard to come by. Luckily, we were able to supply that insight.

The third article on this list is Zillow Poised to Devour the iBuyer Market. We have always considered Propmodo a publication for commercial property pros but the success of this article makes us realize that the changes that are happening on the residential side are being closely followed by our audience as well. We can also likely attribute some of the success to being about a pretty well-researched company and it opens us up to an audience of residential brokers and agents (of which there are a ton of). But we have noticed that there is a lot of audience crossover for residential focused articles, likely because the lines between commercial and residential are blurring as more shops go into multifamily or even single-family property investment as part of their portfolios.

The fourth on our list is another essay from the 2019 Propmodo Metatrends series. Like Trillion Dollar Hashtag, it also has become one of the main resources for anyone trying to understand a particular trend. Our Frictionless Future is written by Ellie Finegold about all of the ways that changes in transportation are going to affect our properties and our cities. He does a great job to frame the idea of transportation about much more than just human movement as logistic advancements is likely one of the biggest changes to happen in our lifetime.

The fifth most read Propmodo story of 2019, Flex-Space Is Changing the Way Commercial Real Estate Thinks About Occupancy, was authored by CORT’s Ron Steinbrink. Like Trillion Dollar Hashtag, this article examines the growing importance of short term leasing and flexible terms to improve occupancy. With this flexibility comes a reliance on more third party providers and on integrated technology to ensure quick and easy transitions between flex space and traditional office space.

One of the things that jumps out to us about what is not on the list is that there is nothing about WeWork, not even in the top 10. Some of it is because there has been so much written about WeWork in the pile-on after their IPO attempt that it was a bit hard to break through the noise. But, I would like to think that some of it has to do with the fact that while co-working and space-as-a-service is very much on the minds of the real estate industry, most realize that WeWork, for as much funding and hype as they have earned, are still a really small part of it. There are plenty of large landlords whos vacant space alone would dwarf WeWork’s entire portfolio. While WeWork has done a great job of showing the world the value of flexible space, it still isn’t the world changing influence on the property industry like it would like to think that it is.

Well, I hope you are one of the readers with the attention span to keep reading this so I can tell you thank you for your support this year. Also, as we move into the new year we promise to do our best to produce worthwhile content. Having the attention of such as smart, attractive and genuinely likable person such as yourself is a great honor. We will respect your time by only producing things worthy of it. If you ever feel like we have violated this pact please feel free to call us out, we love the debate that thoughtful criticism can spark. 

Propmodo is a global multimedia effort to explore how emerging technologies affect our built environment.

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