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Realtors using video may not have a competitive advantage

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For years, we’ve been writing about real estate video techniques, videographers and trends and long ago, tech writers agreed that it was the next “big thing” but we’ve all been waiting for the day to come that it really mattered. Some people have been putting a tremendous amount of effort into video for years while some are waiting to jump in until there is evidence that there is consumer demand.

The day is here! But why doesn’t everyone using video have a competitive advantage? Let’s break it down- new data from comScore on web video engagement reveals that the total American audience engaged in over 5.6 billion viewing sessions in May and 83% of all Americans watched an online video in May.

Users averaged 15.9 hours of video in the month with Google sites (aka YouTube) remaining the top video site with 147.2 million unique viewers, 2.17 billion viewing sessions, averaging five hours spent per view in May alone. This statistic is astonishing. The increase is not only because of smartphones now coming with YouTube apps built in, but better speeds on phones, both of which increase the mainstream adoption of web video.

VEVO followed with 60.4 million viewers (and 309 million viewing sessions), with Yahoo (55.5 million viewers) and Facebook (48.2 million viewers) taking the third and fourth spots, respectively. Viacom Digital came in fifth with 46.5 million viewers.

The concept that videos over two minutes fail to resonate with consumers is not true despite previously held notions as comScore reports the average web video watches is currently just over five minutes long.

Video and real estate

While a rise in consumer demand of video does not directly imply a rise in demand for real estate video, it is our belief that current data shows that the day has come that video is the next “big thing” and Realtors should be involved. The problem with real estate involvement in video is that it is impossible not to create a video that is an advertisement- for your listing, your team, your brokerage, your personal brand or otherwise, and the data does not necessarily support that consumers are demanding commercial video.

That said, Realtors using video do have a competitive advantage (with a caveat in the next paragraph) because of the amount of video being consumed putting them in the right place at the right time. Think of it as an online store opening a retail front as akin to a standard Realtor opening a web video channel. People know about the online store (or the concept of a Realtor) and are into it, they accept it, but they may not know or care yet about the new retail front (or web video channel) because they’re content with what they have, but as they go to more and more retail fronts (or web video channels), the likelihood of a connection rises over time.

Also, because of this rise of video demand, a shaky cell phone video of a dark walk through of a property with heavy breathing as a Realtor walks up the stairs won’t cut it anymore (unless it’s humor, of course). Bad video is becoming akin to a 1997 template website as consumers are more experienced with quality video, and the “oh he’s new to it, it’s okay” mentality is now gone and consumers are becoming less forgiving. The true advantage only goes to the agents who are implementing quality video.

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68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. David Pylyp

    June 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Very poor advise
    I have over a hundred videos that are real estate Toronto topical and searchable
    Have a look at YouTube. Search David Pylyp
    Video permits my prospect clients to look at me before I ever meet them.

    OOPs you are right. Agents should never use video to display their unique selling proposition or value for Homes west Toronto.

    Thank you. I will keep doing it myself.

    David Pylyp
    Accredited Senior Agent Working in Toronto

  2. BawldGuy

    June 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Hey Lani — I'm inches away from incorporating video in my business. I'm basing it on the same thing that has proven so predictably effective with the written word: Content that isn't laughable.

    If the typical agent is able to generate videos containing a couple levels above 'not laughable', I predict they'll be measurably successful. People are searching for expertise that will propel them towards the attainment of their own agendas. Most blogs and/or videos simply aren't gettin' that done, as measured by what I read here and elsewhere from agents themselves.

    Content still trumps pretty much everything else — in my opinion.

    I'd love to hear what others have to say, including you, AustinLady.

    • Matthew Leone

      June 20, 2011 at 11:32 am

      With over 900 videos since our debut of our video channel called Halstead ProperTV on our website halstead.com, we have experienced over 4.5 million total views to our video content that we syndicate to other sites and show on ours. We have sold properties from it, it is a virtual open house for a property tour. It is a 'get to know the agent before meeting them' with our agent video biographies. It is understanding the state of the market with our market report shows, and learning about a neighborhood with our neighborhood tours. Video is endless and provides us a clear return. It works and was the way of the future five years ago…it is the way you have to do business now. Check us out at halsteadproperTV.com.

  3. Artur | Phoenix Real Estate

    June 18, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    "The true advantage only goes to the agents who are implementing quality video." Replace video with anything and you can call it a true advantage: blogs, facebook, twitter, mailers, phone conversations, marketing plan, photos of properties, website…

  4. Ben Fisher

    June 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Been considering going into video marketing a bit more. Once I find a viable option that will make it quick and easy and not expensive I may give it a shot.

    • Artur | Phoenix Real Estate

      June 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      I've been using imovie on the mac. It's easy and quick and the quality is as good as you want: low or high – up to you.

  5. Christian Sterner

    June 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Great post Lani! I agree with Artur's comment as well: quality is the differentiator in real estate marketing overall. There's a lot happening with video at the top end, brand-level of the real estate industry, all leading into the direction of quality content.

    Where I would add a new element to the quality conversation going on here is that YouTube is not a video platform to be relied upon by professionals. It's statistically proven that YouTube itself accounts for very, very little of the views that occur on its site (for example, 60% of video views come directly from Google).

    YouTube does not find video content on people's websites and send traffic. YouTube is an aggregator where viewers come (mostly from elsewhere) and stay.

    WHERE videos are viewed matters a lot! When the real estate industry comes to realize the fact that videos properly indexed on their site is how conversions happen, we're going to see a lot more people using quality (and supported) video platforms.

  6. hermanchan.com

    June 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    u gotta truly enjoy doing video, or else the clips will fail. the camera don't lie!

    • stephanie crawford

      June 22, 2011 at 12:48 am

      I agree Herman. I've dipped my toe in with video, but I'm far more comfortable with screencasts than I am with the camera on yours truly. Scary stuff. And it totally comes across.

  7. Fred Light

    June 20, 2011 at 4:51 am

    It's always been about quality – but just as most Realtors are comfortable marketing a $500K property with dark, murky cell phone photos, they are just has comfortable marketing with shaky, nauseating, hand held "flip cam" videos. Sorry, the but the argument that consumers WANT raw, "real', footage is just B.S., but that's always the excuse I hear. Talk to the buyers – they'll tell you a very different story.

    Regarding the length of videos, the 2-3 minute rule may be applicable for cats in the dryer, but real estate property videos are not the same. If people are INTERESTED in potentially buying a property, they WILL watch a longer video. Many times more than once. It's like a first showing. Our videos are watched almost entirely through most of the time, and all are 4-7 minutes in length. Why? Because it's being watched by people seriously interested in BUYING the home, not by people looking for entertainment or decorating ideas.

  8. Greg Lyles

    June 20, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Agents can learn a lot about making videos from two sources: the pfre video for real estate group on Flickr and on vimeo.com where there are excellent tutorials on all aspects of making videos. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the Vimeo home page, you'll see the video school link.

    One agent who's doing it really well is Charlie Dresen. You can see his work at steamboatsmyhome.com.

  9. Corri Corey

    June 21, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Video is an interesting beast to tackle. When we moved our blog to primarily video, we didn't know what to expect. But, the feedback has been great and we are continuing to grow in viewership, it's just a matter of proper execution.

  10. Chris Stamey

    June 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Interesting article, I'm a professional videographer looking to possible get started in real estate video. I think everyone's right about quality, now days people want to see polished professional looking video. I also think video sharing sites like vimeo or exposureroom express quality. Youtube is an amazing search engine, but an embedded youtube video on a professional website screams low quality. Just my perspective.

    From an actually production side, I see a "real estate video" as a small feature film for the home. Use music and film tools like; dolly's, jib arms and camera stabilization to convey a "feeling" or story about the house. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think good creative visuals are far more powerful than some yapping voice-over. Here is an example I found, high production value & a nice watchable length vimeo.com/20696959

  11. Andrew Mooers

    October 17, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Consider your buyer is many states away for recreational land, waterfront vacation home, a victorian or farm property. Gas, time mean they are not so sure about the trip, new area and all. So the videos start with area, local community information. Then progress to the properties once you have the hailing frequency open, a channel found on their wavelength. The biggest critics of real estate video are not doing it. Or have one, two for their most expensive properties and that is all. Video, real video with 30 frames per second, natural sound and one on one friendliness is not death by Power Point and Kenny G or tinkling ivories only in the background. The audio is 40% of the video. Eyes AND ears more powerful, more remembered. They get better the more you shoot, edit, render, upload.

  12. Video Marketing Ideas For Real Estate Agents

    February 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Attracting homebuyers and home sellers to look and buy your properties, and to list their homes for sale with you is becoming harder and harder. Video marketing helps the agents and real estate companies to stand out most in their industry.

  13. Mooersrealty

    August 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    They don’t have to win Emmies. They have to be helpful, consistent, predictable and available round the clock. Not just 9-5 hours is what makes these on line “open houses” so powerful.

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Business Marketing

Tired of “link in bio”? Here is a solution for Instagram linking

(MARKETING) The days of only one link in your Instagram bio are over. Alls.Link not only lets you link more, it gives you options for marketing and analytics too.

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Woman checking Instagram on phone

If you’re like me, you’ve probably swapped out the link in your Instagram bio 100 times. Do I share my website? A link to a product? A recent publication? Well, now you don’t have to choose!

Alls.Link is a subscription-based program that allows you to, among other things, have multiple links in your bio. I’m obsessed with the Instagram add-ons that are helping business owners to expand the platform to further engage their audiences – and this is NEEDED one.

With the basic membership ($8/month), you get up to 10 customizable Biolink Pages with shortened links (and you’ll be able to choose your own backend). You also get access to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your pages. With the basic membership, you will have Alls.Link advertising on your Biolink Page. Plus, you’ll be allotted a total of 10 projects, and Biolink Pages with 20 customizable domains.

With the premium membership ($15/month), you get link scheduling for product drops and article releases, SEO and UTM parameters, and you’ll have the ability to link more socials on the Biolink Page. With this membership, you’re allotted 20 projects and Biolink Pages with 60 customizable domains.

If you’re unsure about whether or not Alls.Link is worth it (or which membership is best for you), there is a free trial option in which you’ll be granted all the premium membership capabilities.

Overall – premium membership or not – I have to say, the background colors and font choices are really fun and will take your Biolink Page to the next level. Alls.Link is definitely a program to consider if your business has a substantial Insta following and you have a lot of external material you want to share with your followers.

The day-by-day statistics are a great tool for knowing what your audience is interested in and what links are getting the most clicks. Also, the ability to incorporate Google Analytics into the mix is a big plus, especially if you’re serious about metrics.

If you have a big team (or manage multiple pages), I would suggest going premium just for the sheer quantity of domains you can customize and link, though there are various other reasons I’d also suggest to do so. Take a look and see what works for you!

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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