Real estate video still in its infancy

ComScore paper reveals profound data for marketing, ad strategies

I believe that video is a perfect medium for the real estate industry. Unlike a virtual tour or a floor plan, video provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase a neighborhood and a community.

Video plays a unique role in marketing and, when executed properly, can send a powerful message to your audience.

ComScore’s recent white paper, "Surviving the Upfronts in a Cross-Media World," reveals some profound data that real estate brokers should consider when developing marketing and advertising strategies.

One of the most significant findings in the comScore study is the growth in users engaging with online video. According to comScore, 30 percent more Americans now watch online video content on an average day than was the case a year ago. The average user spends more than 21 hours per month (up 47 percent) watching more than 200 videos (up 20 percent).

Just about everybody between the ages of 25 to 44 is an Internet user, and those in the 18-to-34 age group "are more influenced by digital media than traditional television," comScore reports.

With consumers watching over 21 hours a month of online video, there is certainly a tremendous opportunity for real estate brokers to leverage the platform and create compelling content.

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Creatively, video is still in its infancy in the real estate industry, and I’ve seen all sorts of approaches and storylines utilized. The medium has been a blank canvas, which has sparked a lot of creativity. It’s reminiscent of the early days of MTV, when artists and video directors didn’t have a formula and experimented with many different techniques.

This experimentation has lead to some wonderful real estate videos that rival Hollywood productions, but it’s also spawned some with incredibly poor production value as well.

Many brokers still haven’t taken advantage of video and are not sure where to start. Like other mediums, video should be thoughtfully integrated into your brand and other marketing materials. As a brokerage, it’s important to put your signature on your videos and deliver the type of product that properly represents your company. To accomplish this, I recommend hiring a professional.

There are many third party services and videographers available. Many even specialize in just real estate video, for example Nashua Video Tours. There are also valuable platforms such as WellcomeMat that can help find local filmmakers for your business or project. Video prices typically vary from market to market.

Alternatively, we recently hired a full-time, in-house videographer at my organization. Although we create many types of videos, the primary role of our videographer is to create property video tours. Our video package has been extremely popular with our clients and sales associates. There are advantages to having an in-house department:

  • Complete creative control and quality assurance over the product.
  • Consistent look and feel throughout all videos.
  • The ability to create many types of videos including property tours, community showcases, interviews and even producing company meetings.
  • Lower video production costs.

Of course, I understand that it is not realistic for every brokerage to develop an in-house video department. There are many variables to consider such as internal infrastructure, staffing, gear, hardware and software and of course your return on investment.

According to an infographic created last year by Alexis Lamster, vice president of customers at Postling, 73 percent of homeowners say they’re more likely to list with a Realtor offering to do video, yet only 12 percent of the real estate industry currently have YouTube accounts. I expect that it is higher then 12 percent this year and will continue to grow steadily — particularly when brokers formally add video to their portfolio.

The most successful real estate brands today have positioned themselves as media companies and publishing video is a natural extension of content creation.

Tom Flanagan is the director of information technology at Residential Properties Ltd. in Providence, R.I. You can contact him at tflanagan@residentialproperties.com or @tflan on Twitter.


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