In conversations I’ve had recently around the launch InmanTV, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of video on the Internet and how it relates to real estate. Particularly around video search and how that affects what your presence online and how you should a syndication strategy – that is, to make sure your videos are seen by the widest audience reach.
So just out of curiosity, I thought I’d explore Google’s video search function with a simple search for “portland real estate“
Right out the gates, Google tells me it’s indexing videos from YouTube, Yahoo, Metacafe, IFILM, Revver and Dailymotion – so in terms of syndication, all of these hosting providers should be on your radar. You’ll want to maximize your chances of being picked up in the search index by getting your videos to at least one of those providers.
One thing is clear however, looking at the Google search results. Video search is fairly primitive right now. It is still largely dependent on key words or tags provided by the producer – it reminded me a bit of the way the text based search used to operate (remember all the emphasis on keywords in metatags on HTML pages?). Obviously, the next step is to index the content itself for relevancy, but this is much much more difficult; though some companies like Blinkx are seeing some decent results using speech-to-text technology and media analysis on closed captioning data, for example.
In any case, what was particularly interesting in this exercise were the results that Google returned. And this got me thinking on what kind of content a Realtor should be creating.
The top results is a quick video profile of a local real estate team.
A fairly standard video – it didn’t blow me away creatively, but it was short and to the point. If I were a buyer, I’d probably consider giving them a call just to feel them out. (I wonder if they’ve been able to track any new business as a result of this video advertisement?)
There were also the fairly standard home tours. Not really my thing, but I guess some people dig ’em.
Big problem here – there’s no context. Is this house still for sale, for example?
(Also, I still think if I want to watch a video tour, I want a proper video tour… If you’re just going to give me static pictures strung together, I can click through a photo gallery myself thank you very much – and not have to suffer through your bad music and cheesy narration.)
Lower down, I stumbled on a video market report. The Portland Report is produced by a local Realtor and mortgage loan officer, which seems like a pretty good pairing.
Too bad this particular production was marred by some cornball shots in the opening montage and really bad audio quality – but their later videos are far better. Their more recent on-location update was much more entertaining; the person-on-the-street approach really works for this format.
This concept is perhaps the most interesting to pursue further. Delivering a monthly or quarterly video report on the local market is a smart way to provide valuable information to the community. Much more so than a stuffy advertisement, a video market report actually demonstrates your expertise and personality (much like a blog does in written form really).
For most, searching video is certainly a fringe activity right now; so, as far as a web marketing strategy, Realtors should probably still focus on building their profile in the text-based search results. But with high ranking organic results becoming harder and harder to come by and with video fast becoming one of the most popular activities on the Web – it could be worth experimenting with building your video profile and locking down a great position in the video search results too.