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Does real estate video actually give agents a competitive advantage?

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Video camera in action on the beach; original photo by Joshua Davis Photography.

Is real estate a feasible marketing tool?

You’ve heard that video is the next big thing for years. We’ve covered different talent in the field and revealed how real estate teams are using real estate video, but some who have not gotten their feet yet still wonder if it is a bill of goods they’ve been sold or if real estate video actually gives agents a competitive advantage?

Our answer remains that we believe it does give Realtors a leg up, but only when done well. A shaky 1997 cell phone video tour that looks like the Blair Witch Project won’t give anyone an advantage outside of the horror film industry.

Polling the industry

Although it is a matter of opinion, as part of their “Video’s Declaration of Independence from Virtual Tours,” WellcomeMat.com has embarked on studying the impact of real estate video.

Respondents were asked, “Has video ever demonstrated itself as a competitive advantage for you, a client or someone on your team? Has anything unique happened to you because of your use of video as a marketing tool?”

We reviewed the private poll results as submitted so far, and one respondent noted that they were too new to know while another said it was too difficult to tell, but every single other respondent that answered the question answered some form of “yes,” with the majority sharing emphatic support for real estate video.

Respondent sentiments

On the topic, real estate professionals and real estate videographers indicated various opinions as to what degree real estate video gives them a competitive advantage. Here is a sampling of some of the responses submitted:

“Yes. Sellers are more likely to list with my clients because they utilize the most current and effective marketing techniques – internet video. My clients also spend less time at showings because the videos help weed out those that aren’t truly interested in the home.”

“We use video internally and externally and there is nothing like it to explain, market, teach or communicate a message. Many of our members use and have made a great investment in differentiating themselves with video production and its proved a compelling and powerful differentiator – for getting listings as well as marketing them – especially to an international audience.”

“Yes, our clients are selling properties quicker and exclusively because of video.”

“A listing of mine was once purchased by some folks that worked the third shift. The first time they saw the home in the daylight, was at the inspection. The reason they submitted an offer in the first place, was because they could “tour” the home at their convenience. When they finally saw the home in person, after sunset, it matched what they had seen via video. The video ensured, for my sellers, that folks coming through the door to tour were already interested in the property and not “seeing” it for the first time.”

“Yes it has. A entire legion of real estate a*s clown coaches began ranting on how production level videos create distrust among consumers. Well maybe that’s not so unique, after all, making sh*t up to prove one’s point is a daily happenstance in real estate. “

“Video is a powerful and personal tool that makes customers feel drawn in to a presentation as if they where there on the inside not looking in through the windows of a fish bowl.”

“I sell in a rural second home market, most of my buyers are 4 hours away. Since I’m the only one doing video in my area, I find that my buyers ask for video of other agents’ homes. One service I offer to buyers is to go and shoot a custom video of other agents’ homes and send them a private link.”

“As a producer of luxury video tours in Miami, FL I have seen the impact they have made for realtors and buyers. Nothing more exciting then sending an interested buyer a beautifully produced movie about their ‘future home’.”

“Have had buyers ask for copy of the video of the house they purchased. Have had buyers talk about how excited they were to show a video to their friends and co-workers, once their offer had been accepted.”

Take the survey

Do you agree with others’ sentiment or are they off base? The study is ongoing and are working with WellcomeMat to bring you results from within the industry to give a full picture of the effectiveness of real estate video.

Click here to take the poll.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Andrew

    August 8, 2011 at 1:36 am

    I think you hit the nail on the coffin there. On top of that having a video that is too good could be bad as well! I have noticed that having professional photos for example that make the house look bigger and better than it actually is turns off buyers who walk into the house expecting better…everything.

  2. John DiStefano

    August 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Once agents realize they can leverage the power of the internet via video they will come running, it is our job to educate and offer an easy solution

  3. Middleton Homes

    August 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Yes, Yes, and YES!! Since purchasing the iPad 2 I've been shooting video tours of local neighborhoods in my area. I then edit and upload the videos on the iPad using iMovie. Totally awesome! I've now created 35 local neighborhood video drive-through tours. As an agent, this gives me a competitive advantage. I also use Camtasia Studio to shoot screen-capture videos with voice-overs. Consumers LOVE them!

    Love video and am surprise more agents don't use it.

  4. Justin Adams

    August 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Video tours are definitely growing, however they will most likely not replace photos and standard virtual tours any time soon. The reason for this is much more costly and time consuming to produce good videos than good photos. Using technologies like HDR photography, photos can often show the home better than videos, which almost always have blown-out highlights. Here's an example of what can be created, using a combination of still and panoramic photos (no video, although it play like it is): home2market.com/20773

  5. mooersrealtymedia

    December 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    The buyer is short on time, wants to see more local area information, a greater number of property listings and videos uses the eyes and ears to deliver. No matter where the buyer is parked on the planet. Think Droid phone during an hour to kill waiting at an airport for a flight. Take the real estate show on the road, around the world and not limited to your office visit at the physical sticks and bricks. Video is so powerful, memorable and shows how the property goes together, breathes life into the listing. Not costly if agent, broker shoots the loops, edits, renders, uploads. Who knows the property better than the listing agent who spent two hours collecting the stills, measuring rooms, taking the listing with the Q and A at the seller’s kitchen table?

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Business Marketing

Snapchat’s study reveals our growing reliance on video

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Snapchat released a report that shows some useful insights for future video content creation.

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Snapchat's video

Snapchat is taking a break from restoring people’s streaks to publish a report on mobile video access; according to Social Media Today, the report holds potentially vital information about how customers use their mobile devices to view content.

And–surprise, surprise–it turns out we’re using our phones to consume a lot more media than we did six years ago.

The obvious takeaways from this study are listed all over the place, and not even necessarily courtesy of Snapchat. People are using their phones substantially more often than they have in the past five years, and with everyone staying home, it’s reasonable to expect more engagement and more overall screen time.

However, there are a couple of insights that stand out from Snapchat’s study.

Firstly, the “Stories” feature that you see just about everywhere now is considered one of the most popular–and, thus, most lucrative–forms of video content. 82 percent of Snapchat users in the study said that they watched at least one Snapchat Story every day, with the majority of stories being under ten minutes.

This is a stark contrast to the 52 percent of those polled who said they watched a TV show each day and the 49 percent who said they consumed some “premium” style of short-form video (e.g., YouTube). You’ll notice that this flies in the face of some schools of thought regarding content creation on larger platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Equally as important is Snapchat’s “personal” factor, which is the intimate, one-on-one-ish atmosphere cultivated by Snapchat features. Per Snapchat’s report, this is the prime component in helping an engaging video achieve the other two pillars of success: making it relatable and worthy of sharing.

Those three pillars–being personal, relatable, and share-worthy–are the components of any successful “short-form” video, Snapchat says.

Snapchat also reported that of the users polled, the majority claimed Snapchat made them feel more connected to their fellow users than comparable social media sites (e.g., Instagram or Facebook). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next-closest social media platform vis-a-vis interpersonal connection was TikTok–something for which you can probably see the nexus to Snapchat.

We know phone use is increasing, and we know that distanced forms of social expression were popular even before a pandemic floored the world; however, this report demonstrates a paradigm shift in content creation that you’d have to be nuts not to check out for yourself.

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.

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small businesses new tech

While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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Business Marketing

There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.

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skilled worker

The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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