A new crop of tech vendors like VScreen, RealBiz Media Group and Onvedeo are offering listing portals, franchisors and brokerages an affordable option for creating videos for any listing "on demand," meaning they're always up-to-date and more engaging than previous attempts to automate the process.
Until recently, the most affordable option for creating real estate listing videos on a large scale was little more than a slideshow set to music, which proponents of video saw as a half-baked alternative.
Tech vendors have given automated listing videos a dynamic makeover, and are building spots on the fly that feature custom graphics, local information, and voice-overs -- sometimes in multiple languages. Some augment pan-overs of still photographs with live-action video footage.
Today, Homes.com, the fourth most popular real estate site in the U.S., announced a partnership with VScreen to add dynamic, automated listing videos to the listings of its Homes.com Pro and Premier customers, representing approximately 140,000 listings.
Homes.com is the first large portal to offer these dynamic, up-to-date listing videos on a far-reaching scale.
When videos were built from mashed-together photos with little more than panning and scanning visual elements, they weren't compelling to Homes.com, Jason Reinking, director of business development at Homes.com, told Inman News. VScreen's dynamic videos enhance the consumer experience and compelled Homes.com to incorporate them on its site, he said.
The VScreen-powered Homes.com listing videos will be created in real time based from the listing's feed, whether directly from the broker or multiple listing service or through the distribution platform ListHub, Reinking said. The on-demand nature of the videos ensures that they're always up-to-date, he said.
VScreen pulls listing data like photos and home stats, sprinkles in relevant real-voice and video clips, and adds in info like mortgage rate, walkability and school info from a handful of data partners to make listing videos, said VScreen CEO Stephen Schweickart.
Other elements of the new Homes.com automatic listing videos include prominent listing agent contact information, days on market, comparisons with other listings nearby, and the median list and sale prices of nearby homes.
Sample VScreen-powered Homes.com listing video.
Links to the listing videos on Homes.com will show up on both search results and property detail pages, said Patty McNease, director of marketing at Homes.com.
Quality video increases almost every measure of online engagement, said Kristen Kraft, director of partnerships at the video hosting site Wistia. It motivates consumers to click a link at a higher rate, raises a site's prominence in search engine search results and increases conversion.
Homes.com might be the first portal to implement this new brand of automatic listing video, but it's not the first large real estate firm to do so.
RealBiz Media Group signed up ERA Real Estate to power "video microsites" for the franchisor's listings last June. The videos, which display on a unique URL, are refreshed from a feed each night and include live voice-over and custom graphics, said Dan Skoglund, vice president of marketing at RealBiz.
RealBiz powers listing videos for a handful of brokerages, too, including Prudential Select Properties.
Skoglund says the firm has a library of 1,600 live voice-over scripts that it pieces together to fit the specific info in a listing. Clients have a choice of six different voices to choose from, he said -- three male and three female.
A similar deal with ERA's Realogy cousin, Century 21 Real Estate, is in the works, Skoglund said.
In March, RealBiz launched NestBuilder, a video-centric portal. Each night it creates videos for each of the active listings that brokers opt-in to send it through ListHub, Skoglund said. That's from 30,000 to 120,000 listing videos refreshed per night, he said.
Seattle-based Redfin, which operates as a brokerage and referral site in 29 markets, has been creating on-demand automatic listing videos for nearly all of its listings since May 2013, said Jani Strand, Redfin's vice president of communications.