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How SPH portals won the media race

They drew clicks and medals with focus on users' needs.

How SPH portals won the media race

STProperty's Mr Lee (right) and his team developed a mobile app for property hunters, while STJobs' Ms Kee helped launch a publicity campaign that drew more users to the revamped site. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

PUT yourself in the shoes of users and spread the word through multiple channels. These were the strategies used by the Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) property and jobs portals, whose efforts to reach more users won gold and silver at the Asian Digital Media Awards on Wednesday.

The event was organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and held in Kuala Lumpur. More than 50 media companies from 16 countries across Asia and the Middle East took part.

For STProperty, a user-centric approach was key. The property portal, which won gold in Best in Mobile Media, was recently made available through a new iPhone and iPad application. This took about eight months to plan and develop. It was launched in August and has been downloaded more than 25,000 times.

Said Mr Winston Lee, 38, product manager at STProperty: "We put ourselves in the shoes of property hunters and asked ourselves what our top few wishes would be when making a search."

He said that helping property seekers find what they need easily is one of the "key success factors" of a good property portal.

The app, which includes a geo-location function, aims to facilitate matching the parties involved in a property transaction, namely the real estate agent and the prospective buyer, or the landlord and the tenant.

This function displays properties near the user's location which are for sale or rent.

Another feature is a compilation of property news articles. The articles are taken from various sources including The Straits Times and The Business Times.

An Android app for STProperty is in the pipeline, said Mr Lee. He said improvements to the existing iPhone/iPad app are also being explored to "make property searches a more exciting and engaging experience".

For STJobs, a good publicity campaign drew more users to its website, which was revamped this year.

Advertising was done in several places simultaneously. This included print, online and on big screens in prominent locations like the Central Business District. The effort won silver under the Best in Cross Media category.

Said Ms Kee Ee Kheng, 35, a product manager at STJobs: "We realised a successful rebranding exercise can only be run by reaching out to as many people as possible. Doing this generated awareness and increased page views threefold within a month of the site's relaunch."

Ms Kee said that the portal intends to focus more on its mobile platform in future.

The Straits Times website won the gold award for Best In Online Media for a newspaper website, while Social Media Fiesta 2012, a project created by bilingual site omy.sg, won a joint silver award for Best in Social Media.

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