How real estate marketers are learning to do more with less

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but video is estimated to be worth well over a million. So it may come as no surprise that video marketing is taking over almost every aspect of content marketing. Yet there is one sector where video appears obvious, but is not yet mainstream: real estate. 

In Australia, both main listing sites, Domain and realestate.com.au have added video tours to the listing template. Homes listed with video get four times the inquiries of homes listed without video, studies in the US show. 

“Location, location, location” may well be a well-worn trope in real estate, but beyond high-end properties, where marketing budgets permit a beautiful drone shoot over landscaped gardens, video has been slow to take off. There are two real problems that real estate faces in video adoption:

  1. Location. Every video of a property needs to be shot, well, on location. So this rules out the myriad of video editing packages and online promo video maker tools that make it easy to make videos from stock video. So you could make a promo video using generic property shots, but not about the actual properties you are selling.
  2. Volume. Every property is unique, so every property needs its own marketing brochure. Video is the same, you actually need a new video for every single property, showcasing its specific features. But paying film crews to attend every single home is prohibitively expensive, especially as the shelf life for every video is a matter of weeks. 

So the result is still expensive video production done the traditional way with videographers for high-end properties and nothing for all the rest of an agency’s listings. Yet during an economic downturn, competition will actually propel the most hungriest agencies to reply more video in their property marketing, even for homes further down the value chain. 

Woman watching Vloggi Property Listing video walkthrough on her phone
Woman looking at a Vloggi Property Listing video on her smartphone

Quite simply, the conversion rate on property videos is four times that of image alone. Why? because you reach more people. YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world behind its parent, Google. So If you post a property video on YouTube and then link to the listing site, you are expanding your audience to everyone searching the property in Google. 

With a 51 percent audience share, YouTube is now the top video research destination for house hunters, yet fewer than 1% of properties on the market have a video. 

During the movement restrictions associated with the Coronavirus pandemic, open houses and inspections are also problematic. In some areas they are banned altogether, but elsewhere, the number of potential buyers is dramatically reduced due to infection risks. Video helps you reach all these potential buyers in the comfort of their own homes. There is also a voyeuristic aspect of being able to have a sticky beak inside homes that would be unavailable without attending an inspection in person. 

But we’re in a real estate downturn. The property sales sector show a 7-10% reduction in prices, while rental yields are down closer to 15%. People are still moving, but the general air of uncertainty has hit the investor segment of property.  In Victoria, inspections and open houses are banned, further depressing the ability to shift stock. 

As a result marketing budgets are down. So while 80% of vendors like the idea of video tours on listings, very few like the price tag that’s associated. With marketing budgets squeezed, agents are finding ways to do more with less. This may extend to writing brochure copy or even entrusting juniors with the digital camera for some properties. 

Despite falling budgets, video need not be out of reach for agencies. The answer is that, unlike photos, video moves and authenticity is prized. The quality of video on the latest iPhones and Android phones is now so advanced and stable, that you can produce quality video every time, then splice together the best bits. 

So while high-end properties like this one in Vaucluse use high-end drone footage, this actually doesn’t resonate with ordinary buyers.

So while high-end properties like this one in Vaucluse use high-end drone footage, this actually doesn’t resonate with ordinary buyers. Instead, handheld footage or even community-sourced video conveys authenticity in a way that big budget production cannot. This is good news for smaller agencies seeking to compete in the new video age. 

However, simply posting up raw video onto social media wont work either. You need a middle ground of professional looking videos made from agent-sourced video clips. 

This property videoed by  Pocket Listings in southern Sydney, sold in 10 days

But, every agent lives and breathes on their smartphone. So why not allow agents themselves to film the interiors of each property and then collate the best room videos into a video tour themselves? This is where Vloggi for Real Estate comes in. Essentially it’s an extension of traditional brochures, combining marketing copy and video clips of each room or property feature. See the example below from Pocket Listings in southern Sydney.

If you are an agency principal or a real estate marketing agency, we are keen to work with you to build custom video template that perfectly reflects your branding guidelines. 

The kind of video content that resonates most with buyers prizes authenticity. A 2018 study into the most effective real estate videos came up with the following top five:

The Life In My Hood series was initially conceived for local tourism promotion, but its episodes of locals showing off their favourite cafés, bars and shops, was also being used by real estate agents to profile suburbs. 
  • 2. Property Listing. This sounds obvious. Property listing videos quadruple the inspection requests, according to data from Domain.com.au. But there is more to it than meets the eye. Property listing videos showcase a property and highlight its features and amenities. But rather than one 3-minute long walkthrough, keep each room to around 10 seconds and then stitch the clips together to form an engaging and memorable video that is easy to consume.They can also be used in paid promotion on social media for underperforming properties, where you can use geo-targeted ads on Facebook to increase your reach, brand awareness and listing enquiries
Property listing videos showcase a property and highlight its features and amenities
  • 3. Sticky beaks. You can even get tenants or owners themselves to film their property for those most constrained by budget. That way, you can allow others to have a virtual sticky beak, without turning up for inspections and wasting agents’ time. 
  • 4. Question and answer videos. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients and prospects. What questions do they have about the renting, buying and selling process? What information do they need before engaging with you or using your services? All of these questions can be used to create handy question and answer videos to boost your presence on Youtube, Google and Facebook. You can also embed them in blog posts, post them to social media, turn them into ads or create a series of emails to share with your database.
  • 5. Customer testimonial videos. Testimonial videos from satisfied customers are powerful in many ways. Compared to text reviews, customer testimonial videos are much more engaging, personal and persuasive. Not only do they help pique the interest of prospects but they also help build your credibility by providing social proof. At Vloggi, we have a series of templates custom made for soliciting feedback from happy customers. 

Vloggi was borne out of the tourism and travel industry’s need for on-location video content,but during the Coronavirus pandemic, we turned our attention to other location-based industries requiring huge volumes of video marketing content. Real estate seemed obvious to us. 

So if you are an agency principal or a real estate marketing agency, we are keen to work with you to build custom video template that perfectly reflects your branding guidelines. We are also ready to work with you to create more evergreen video content, like suburbs profiles and customer testimonials, without ever hiring a film crew. We go beyond user-generated. All our content is either colleague-generated, customer-generated or community-generated.

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