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Will You Be Using Video In 2011?

I was having a discussion today (via comments on a Facebook status) regarding using video in your marketing in 2011, and the topic of “bad” videos came up. Now this isn’t a new concern by any means. Many people avoid using video in fear that having a poorly lit or shaky video will actually hurt their marketing efforts. To this I always say: “What about awful listing photos? Those are posted far too often, but photos are necessary to sell a home.”

Now, whether or not photos and videos are on the same level is up to the customer, but if you look at the stats around video it’s pretty clear that they’re in love with it.

According to comScore 178 million people watched 33.2 billion videos in the month of December alone, with the average user watching 187 videos per month in the U.S. Those are pretty powerful numbers, and that data is from 2009! I can only imagine where those numbers are today and hope that comScore releases a new study soon.

When you combine the video viewing habits of Internet users with the explosive growth of Facebook (71.2% of the U.S web audience is on there) and the fact that videos are the most viewed posts on Facebook, using video seems like a no brainer.

Even with those mind-blowing statistics above some agents are still hesitant to use videos in their marketing. I think I have a solution that can ease you into using video in your marketing in 2011: community videos. Instead of doing a video for every listing (this can be time consuming, I know) start by doing community videos. These have a longer shelf life (hopefully!) than listing videos and will still impress your clients. If you’re still worried about the quality of your videos hire a local videographer to shoot your video for you. But honestly, I wouldn’t worry. People are in love with video. Not professional video, just plain video.

What are your thoughts on using video in your marketing? If you’re using it, how are you using it. If you’re not using it, why not, and do you ever plan to?

Disclosure: I’m co-founder of Zipvo, a website that offers real estate video solutions to agents, so I may be a bit biased on this topic. However, I don’t care what type of video you use, I just think you should use it!

[Photo credit: Ugly House Photos]

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  • Marty

    An easy answer to that question: ZIPVO has been dead for months. That should give you a clue as to how popular video really is.

    • Zipvo has been down for months, yes, but that’s because we’re in the process of rebuilding it. The original site was built when video was in its infancy and we didn’t know exactly what agents needed, but now we do.

    • Zipvo has been down for months, yes, but that’s because we’re in the process of rebuilding it. The original site was built when video was in its infancy and we didn’t know exactly what agents needed, but now we do.

    • Zipvo has been down for months, yes, but that’s because we’re in the process of rebuilding it. The original site was built when video was in its infancy and we didn’t know exactly what agents needed, but now we do.

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  • Wagner Leite

    I think adding video is a great feature; however, I think it should be used to SUPPLEMENT pictures. Some people may prefer videos to pictures, but others like to look through pictures instead of watching a video. Combining both methods can be very helpful to reach all clients.

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  • Dan

    I take the time to shoot and edit a high definition video for every listing we take. I also spend a lot of time on photography. It IS time consuming – I sometimes spend up to 8 hours just on media for a bigger property. But our clients appreciate it, and it sets us apart from our competition. Here is an example I finished yesterday: http://www.baconrealtygroup.com/2011/01/12/treasure-island-condo-south-beach-503/

  • August

    Those comSocre numbers are pretty powerful. Relevance? It’s about as logical to think because millions watch the Super Bowl that we should put up goal posts on the lawns of listings and roll camera. Because “People are in love with video” and football they won’t be able to resist? If your reasoning was put videos on YouTube and they’ll get more attention, it’d make more sense. But come on, you’re talking about shooting 30 fps of inanimate objects! If video is the answer, shoot stills, edit them together with iMovie and export as video.

    I think there will always be agents (maybe 1%) like Dan who can set themselves apart and find success with it, but as a whole, the industry will never truly adopt video as a standard form to present listings. Most agents are too frugal with their money and time to spend on creating decent quality videos.

  • An abundance of bad photos doesn’t make a great case for a bunch of bad video but I’m more inclined to believe that video will eventually be significant than some of the other commenters.

    We’ve been using quality stills in Animoto videos for a year. We’ve recently purchased a DSLR that shoots high definition video and a stabilizing system. In 2011, our plan is to increase our use of video incrementally and Animoto provides a good product for doing that, as does iMovie. We’ll continue to use great stills and add in small bits of video where it makes sense. I think this approach will help us maintain a reasonable level of quality in our presentation while we learn.

  • Audio is for listeners, text is for readers, video is for watchers. Three types of audience have three types of needs. I suggest catering to all three in my honest opinion, but quality content with any platform is really the key.

    • August

      Agreed Brad. Photo galleries and slide shows via flash or video are for watchers too. And can be just as visually appealing. What I don’t get is why after a few years, of all these RE bloggers, trainers, coaches, and gurus touting video as the future means of presenting listings, there is no evidence of this going on. With most mentions of this “future” there are occasional samples. Mostly just by some star agent who has hired an expensive production team to shoot/edit video of their luxury listing. One would think that if it was going to be the future, that at least some decent percent of the market would be taking hold by now. Rather than just the occasional anomaly.

      I DO think video has it’s place and is a great way to reach out to your prospects and promote your self/biz. However, as a tool to market actual listings and present inanimate objects just because “people love video”? Don’t see it happening anytime soon, if ever.

    • August

      Agreed Brad. Photo galleries and slide shows via flash or video are for watchers too. And can be just as visually appealing. What I don’t get is why after a few years, of all these RE bloggers, trainers, coaches, and gurus touting video as the future means of presenting listings, there is no evidence of this going on. With most mentions of this “future” there are occasional samples. Mostly just by some star agent who has hired an expensive production team to shoot/edit video of their luxury listing. One would think that if it was going to be the future, that at least some decent percent of the market would be taking hold by now. Rather than just the occasional anomaly.

      I DO think video has it’s place and is a great way to reach out to your prospects and promote your self/biz. However, as a tool to market actual listings and present inanimate objects just because “people love video”? Don’t see it happening anytime soon, if ever.

  • Video will NEVER replace photos. Ever.

    But it is an effective addition to your marketing efforts. Video is THE only way to get a very similar experience to actually being in the home. You can see the layout… how the rooms connect… the neighborhood.. in some videos you can hear the seller talking about the home, why they loved living there, why they designed it the way they did, etc. and giving far more information than is available in the comment section on the MLS.

    It’s the best listing tool going as sellers LOVE it. Video is effectively the FIRST showing. If someone makes an appointment, it’s their SECOND showing. Serious buyer!

    Buyers love it because there are so many homes on the market it helps them narrow down their choices before they start wasting their time the time of the agent and sellers. Not to mention gas.

    Agents love it because it brings them new sellers and buyers month after month after month as sellers and buyers see how they are marketing homes. It raises the branding of that agent to a level far beyond their competitors.

    The best part of video? Only 1% of agents use it, which gives you an immediate edge over 99% of your competition!

    The problem now is BAD video, just like a big problem for years are BAD photos. Dark, blurry, shaky video with audio by the huffing and puffing agent standing behind the microphone is unprofessional and does more harm than good for the agent and for the property. It doesn’t have to be a SLICK production, but it needs to be a flattering production to the home and to the agent, or you’re defeating the purpose. Many agents make the argument that buyers love “raw” and “gritty” and “real” video, but if you speak with buyers, they will say exactly the opposite. Raw and gritty is fine for the cat in the dryer video on YouTube, but for the purpose of evaluating a home, they want something coherent, clear, concise and obviously flattering to the property you’re trying to market.

    Zappos.com offers 7 professional photos AND a professional video on all of their shoes, including a $24 sandal. Yet Realtors think it’s OK to use incredibly substandard materials to market a home worth hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars. I’m thinking that Zappos kind of knows what they’re doing!

    My biggest clue that video works is the tremendous number of repeat customers that I have who do video and pro photos for (at least) their best listing, but many for ALL of their listings. Over and over and over again. Year after year. And with almost no exceptions, all had a VERY good year last year.

    Coincidence?

  • I started exclusively video blogging about 18 months ago. Now that it is the in thing to do I need to change because I hate doing the in thing. Thinking about what may be next? Maybe start blogging in dingbat font

  • I’ve been using video on my listings for about a year. We now produce 3 videos on every home.

    The Animoto video is quick and fun, and I think of it like a movie trailer. The goal isn’t to show viewers everything, but enough to either peak their interest and investigate further, or to get them to forward the video on to other people they know. My social media connections are more likely to watch these short videos all the way through than a full walking tour.

    The full walking tour can run 6-8 minutes depending on the size of the house. The target audience for these is a potential buyer who is trying to decide if they want to schedule a showing or has already seen the house and is trying to decide if they want to go back or make an offer.

    Finally, we just added a community focused video that talks about the area, and has just a slight mention of the house. The target viewers for these videos is a buyer who isn’t very familiar the area where the house is located. After all, buyers start with choosing a community, then focus in on a house.

    You can see samples of all three on this post of one of our current listings: http://www.archcityhomes.com/2010/11/1849-lone-trail-lane-chesterfield-mo-63017/

    I think it is just a matter of time before having full motion video on homes will be as necessary as multiple pictures.

  • Andrew Mooers

    Video, real full motion not a dice and slice slide show coupled with natural audio from the property listing, the local community event is huge. Two senses are better than one when you use the eyes AND ears. Video breathes life in to still images at 30 to 50 frames a second. It shows how the real estate pieces fit and flow. It means a buyer from 13 hours away or two time zones distant that might not otherwise buy does. Have had strictly video viewed, listened to buyers purchase on just the video alone. Be the little red hen in your market who shoots, edits, renders, uploads videos to use in blog posts, websites, emails and social media links.

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