Real estate broker Kendyl Young uses 3-D home tours to bring her listings to life. She also uploads videos of her listings to Zillow, boosting their exposure on the property search site.

  • Real estate agents who master video and 3-D tours can capitalize on a marketing revolution that Zillow and realtor.com are fueling.
  • Zillow is accelerating growth of video production and is 'looking hard' at 3-D tours.
  • Realtor.com is reportedly set to integrate 3-D tours into listings.
kendyl-young

Kendyl Young

Real estate broker Kendyl Young uses 3-D home tours to bring her listings to life. She also uploads videos of her listings to Zillow, boosting their exposure on the property search site.

“Video, done properly, is telling the story of the home. The emotional, hard-to-quantify story,” said Young, who owns Montrose, California-based DIGGS. “The 3-D model is factual — this is what it is, ma’am.”

She’s ready for a real estate marketing revolution that’s about to kick into high gear.

Zillow is fueling rapid growth of video production, while realtor.com is gearing up to roll out 3-D integration.

And agents who master both technologies may enjoy an edge over competitors.

Realestate.com.au can host 3-D tours on listings (see 3-D graphic on the right side of this listings). The listing portal is owned by a subsidiary of News Corp. News Corp. also owns realtor.com operator Move.

Realestate.com.au can host 3-D tours on listings (accessible via the”3D” graphic on the right side of a listing). The site is owned by REA Group, a subsidiary of News Corp. News Corp. also owns realtor.com operator Move.

Zillow’s video push

Since Zillow added a video walkthrough option to its listings in February, agents have uploaded tens of thousands of clips, according to Zillow Group Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman.

These videos not only increase engagement with prospective buyers, but they also give listings a boost in property search results.

Agents can use Zillow’s mobile app to shoot and upload the videos, which are capped at two minutes, with little effort.

“Video has been around forever, but what is relevant and innovative to the industry is that it can [now] work at scale,” Wacksman said.

Young argues that, “As long as Zillow gives us better placement if we have [a video], it is an obligation” that agents owe to seller clients.

zillow-paid-video

Screen shot of an enhanced Zillow video, which an agent can add to a listing for $149.

Last week, Zillow began accepting clips that are not shot through its app for a flat fee of $149 per video, opening up a massive distribution channel for higher-quality video.

These videos can feature agent branding, audio and may run as long as 10 minutes.

The listing portal is also “obviously looking hard” at 3-D and augmented reality, Wacksman said, but it has “nothing to announce for now.”

Realestate.com.au visitors can explore 3-D tours in the photo galleries of listings.

Realestate.com.au visitors can explore 3-D tours in the photo galleries of listings.

Realtor.com’s 3-D integration

Realtor.com, on the other hand, is reportedly gearing up to integrate 3-D tours into its site.

It currently only lets agents add links to 3-D tours on listings. But Matterport, a leading 3-D provider, is working with realtor.com’s product team on how to increase their accessibility, Matterport CEO Bill Brown said.

Agents say 3-D tours “wow” sellers at listing appointments, attract out-of-town buyers and cut down on pointless showings.

Screen shot from HouseLens promotional video showing a Matterport camera being used to create a 3-D tour.

Screenshot from HouseLens promotional video showing a Matterport camera being used to create a 3-D tour.

Marketing firms charge around $200 for a typical Matterport tour in some areas, but much more in others. Some brokerages lower long-term costs by buying Matterport’s camera, priced at $4,500, and creating the tours in house.

3-D is still in its infancy, but adoption is expanding rapidly. Matterport claims to host tours of around 85,000 active residential listings and has sold about 5,000 cameras so far. Brown says camera sales have more than doubled in the last year.

News Corp., the owner of realtor.com operator Move, has made a “strategic investment” in Matterport, and some of its property search sites — including Australia’s realestate.com.au — already let agents stitch Matterport tours into listings. Further reflecting its interest in 3-D, News Corp. bought digital real estate marketing firm DIAKRIT for $40 million in February.

Realtor.com spokeswoman Christie Farrell said the listing portal had “nothing to share at the moment” about 3-D integration “but certainly will reach out when we do.”

Realtor.com used to let agents add videos to listings, but it deactivated the feature sometime last year. Farrell said realtor.com also had “nothing to share at the moment” about potentially introducing a new video option.

Realtor.com plans to roll out a new version of its enhanced listing product — “Showcase Listings” — later this quarter. Perhaps it will include 3-D tour and video features.

‘Rapidly evolving’ 

Disseminating 3-D tours can be a challenge today. Along with emailing the tours to prospective buyers, some agents slip screenshots of them into listing photo galleries. Others add phone numbers to for sale signs that buyers can text to explore tours on their smartphones.

But realtor.com’s 3-D integration will greatly expand distribution, bolstering the argument for investing in the technology.

Zillow previously let agents add graphics to listings that linked to Matterport tours, but it disabled the feature in 2015.

Some agents speculate that Zillow did this to maximize adoption of its video feature. Asked about that theory, Wacksman would only say that “typically when we move stuff out of A-B testing, it’s click-through rate and conversion-rate based.”

But 3-D is “rapidly evolving from the demo stage to mass market appeal,” Wacksman said. Consumers will increasingly use virtual-reality devices and next-generation smartphones to create and view the media on their own.

“That’s when [3-D] gets interesting for [Zillow],” he said.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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