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WelcomeMat-95% Increase In Video Usage In First Half Of 2009??

November 13th, 2009

Recently WelcomeMat released a report on video usage in real estate. Among other things it reports that real estate video usage was up 95% in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. I think the report should more clearly state that the data from this report is from the WelcomeMat site and members. The way this report is being reported on other blogs is that this data is industry wide data. I don’t think it is. 95% increase in video usage on WelcomeMat and 95% increase in video usage industry wide are not the same thing. The report has a infomercial flavor. I can find no description of the way the data was gathered.

That said, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that video usage in real estate is rapidly on the rise. It seems like there are more and more videos on agent sites reporting on market conditions while driving around in their cars. I highly recommend taking a look at ianwatt.ca, Ian is a kick! If you think cell phone usage is likely to increase accidents, video blogging while driving is waaay over the edge!

Despite the infomercial nature of this report it think it is worth while looking at the the results. The full report PDF is here. Here is a summary:

  • Nine out of ten respondents reported that  video improves their ability to win listings over competing agent/brokers.
  • Agents report they use video to market listings (30%), demonstrate their market knowledge (19%), showcase their local area (26%) and introduce themselves to potential clients 25%).
  • 62% of videos are agent generated and 38% are created by pros.
  • WellcomeMat predicts that eventually there will be pressures to move more towards professionally produced video.

After reading the WellcomeMat report I decided to go browse through currently active listings on the MLS that serves Seattle’s Eastside, the market area that I’m most familiar with, to see if video tours have increased since last year. In both 2007 and 2008 I counted tours and video usage in this market so I had data to compare 2009 with. Here are the 2009 trends that were easy to spot:

  1. It appears that video usage in this market has either increased slightly or stayed the same as 2008.
  2. All video tours were professionally done, and all were done by the same company (walkthroughmedia.com). There were NO DIY tours.
  3. Professional sill photography and HDR photography has noticeably increased since 2008. In fact, I was stunned to see how much the level of photography has increased over the last year.

Conclusion:

  1. I have to conclude that the WellcomeMat reported increase in video usage of 95% in the first quarter of 2009 does not reflect what’s happening in the Seattle market.
  2. I think the use of video is far more dependent on the marketing effectiveness of the video photographer(s) in the market than any high demand for video from agents. Perhaps this will change as we come into a stronger market.
  3. This report from WellcomeMat is simply a report on their business in the first have of 2009, it is NOT a real estate industry wide report.
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4 Responses to “WelcomeMat-95% Increase In Video Usage In First Half Of 2009??”

  • Part of the confusion in even figuring out this information, is that VIDEO (true video) is not really separated on the MLS from “virtual tours”. It’s almost impossible to actually discern the number of true VIDEO tours on any MLS, because they are just listed as a “virtual tour”, lumped in with every other kind of tour out there. Because of this, I don’t really think there are any true statistics. The only place where video is actually defined as VIDEO is on Realtor.com, and I can honestly say I see virtually NONE.

    I can only speak about my own market, but MY personal business is crazy – I’ve never been as busy as I’ve been this year. I have tons of new customers, and tons of repeat customers who use me over and over, which is testament to the power of video. Even now, when it generally slows down, I’m still very, very busy.

    Once they drink the KoolAid, most people are hooked. They hear the comments from buyers and sellers and even competitors – and they KNOW it’s having an impact. And of course, there IS no better listing tool. I’ve never heard of an agent that lost a listing when they presented a video as a marketing option. And many get listings specifically because they offer video – I did one just yesterday. The seller TOLD me that was specifically why they hired this particular agent.

    So video is definitely on the rise, at least among your more seasoned and successful agents who are always looking for something to differentiate themselves over their competition. I don’t think it will EVER replace photos and I don’t think it will EVER become commonplace – it will always be a niche market. But in these days of the internet – I NEVER say “never”.

    I’ve been doing video now for nearly 5 years, and basically I’m STILL pretty much the only one in this area doing video (there are a few people that ‘dabble’, but I probably shoot more in a day than they do all year)… so it’s hardly the norm in these parts…. It’s still very much a nice market.

  • Larry,

    We should have done a better job at stating that we were mostly leaning on internal numbers. WellcomeMat’s team did make our best effort to mine data outside of our site/membership, especially with our survey: many people took us up our suggestion to spread the survey outside of our membership.

    That said, I think few would argue against the fact that WellcomeMat’s platform represents the most meaningful core of people using full-motion video in the real estate industry. To this end, there are larger/broader observations and conclusions that can be made based on our internal numbers.

    In the end, WellcomeMat’s made it’s best effort to gather statistics and report them to the industry. We are definitely going to get better at it and-barring the “infomercial” comment-many of your statements make sense.

  • We have been delivering video to Australian agents for years. When we contacted WelcomeMat several years ago, to join their list of suppliers, nobody ever contacted us.

  • Brett,

    WellcomeMat is a US-only service, which does not excuse us not getting back to you. Apologies if your inquiry fell through the cracks somehow.

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