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Is the Use of Video in Real Estate Marketing Increasing?

January 16th, 2019

A reader asked an interesting question last week:

Has the use of video in real estate marketing increased over the past few (3) years? If so, why and how is it increasing?

My first reaction was, of course it’s increased! We see the use of video exploding everywhere! But then I realized even though there are many factors that suggest the use of video should be increasing:

  1. Zillow and other real estate sites are more accommodating to video.
  2. Video is almost expected on social media sites.
  3. Video is getting easier to create.

But I didn’t have any real data to confirm my initial reaction. There are many other factors that could be restraining the use of video:

  1. Mostly upper-end listing agents use video.
  2. Listing agents resist the extra cost of video.

So I decided that a reader poll is in order. Please take the poll below.

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8 Responses to “Is the Use of Video in Real Estate Marketing Increasing?”

  • Video is being used and asked for by more agents in the belief that it sells more homes.
    I have no idea if that is true but my informal survey of non-photographer friends is that if a RE video comes on a site they click out to another property.
    What DOES get attention when scouring the net for property is the thumbnail that shows an attractively photographed STILL image beckoning a click through.

  • I have had agents say they have got more listing because sellers have seen their videos. Also some of my agents are using videos as a follow up to open homes and sending the video to anyone that has viewed the property during an open home as a reminder.
    Have also been asked to produce small videos for Instagram now so video is definitely on the increase as far as I can tell.

  • I have been shooting video for 15 years (started in video, moved to stills a couple of years later). My business is FULL and has been for 6-8 years. I don’t have the hours or capacity to shoot any more than I do, and I don’t have the desire to hire additional people and deal with what all of that entails…(been there, done that)

    From March through October I shoot 4-6 houses a day (all video and photos) and I’m booked out constantly for about 10-14 days with waiting lists for cancellations every single day. I haven’t noticed an increase really since I can’t do any more than I already do (about 800 homes a year). Even now in the dead of winter I’m shooting 3 or 4 houses a day. (that used to be my relaxing time!)

    What I have noticed is competition. 8 years ago I virtually had NO competition. Anywhere. I could tell you the name of everyone in three states that shot real estate video…. In the past few years, I have seen dozens of competitors crop up out of nowhere or companies coming in the area that started elsewhere. It’s amazing how much video I’m seeing – every day. Listing videos, agents doing their own videos, community videos – it’s a bit mind boggling how MUCH video is out in the marketplace now – at least in my market.

    I attribute the increase to drones. Drones are fairly easy to fly, offer dramatic imagery, it’s something agents WANT (shiny new toy). Drone guys are finding it hard to make a living selling drone work alone, so they’re branching off and starting to do interior videos as well… and then they realize people want still photos too, so they’re getting into that business in order to grab some share of the market. Additionally, cameras have become lighter, gimbals or steadicams, which used to be expensive AND required a great deal of skill are being knocked off all over China and are easier to operate than before… (my first gimbal cost me $15,000 5 years ago) and social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are very, very popular.

  • I cannot make generalizations based on my own experience. All I can say is that I am getting more and more video work in addition to my core business of stills. This coupled with drone photography and its videography. Does video help sell real estate? Who knows? I have not yet found any studies that show it does, just informed opinons by those who would be in a better position to know than I am.

    What I do know in my own small market is that sellers are choosing agents who do offer video and thus give those agents the listings. Many of my clients have said that even just the stills account for them gaining listings rather than selling properties of the self marketing does 80% of the lifting to gaining listings with about 20% to selling. So with the cost of video equipment coming down in price and that is more than excellent for RE videos, plus the drone video which can give a much better idea of the location and environment of larger properties, and the ease and use of these getting easier, I think we will be seeing this trend just continue to grow especially if still photographers can add this skill set and be able to produce short videos quickly using everything from an Osmo to a GoPro on a gimbal for modest prices. I have even seen quite good videos made with a cell phone equipped with a wide angle lens attachment. But to get a decent one is not inexpensive.

    I shoot everything from 45 second “teasers” for small properties to full video coverage of large ranch properties with extensive facilities. With the full video tours I also include cut down 45 second teaser version for use on social media. So far, all my video has been bundled with my still coverages which brings the video part down in price since it is all done in just one combined visit.

    What I can say is that shooting video for still photographers is a steep learning curve. I have Grant Johnston’s tutorials to thank for training myself in doing this. He has recently changed his tutorial structure into a life time sign up and bundled all his video tutorials into one package. And it’s not just the equipment, you have to learn how to effectively edit the video clips which he covers as well specifically aimed at RE video production.

    But shooting video along with stills has its own stresses. And it doubles the post processing. So your business model will need to be considered.

  • My use of video is followed the national trend, that is had a huge tick after 2010, now is robust but basically not on the upswing. Pretty much a level line.

    But I believe the new trend, is going to be considerably shorter videos than we used to produce, and that a one minute running lengths will become the norm within a few years. And that’s actually a good thing, it doesn’t waste our energy doing things that don’t make any difference, and it doesn’t waste our customers funds getting it done . That means getting away from Long running infomercials, and getting back to high impact commercials.

  • Oh man I was not even going to comment on this topic, but then I saw Kelvin’s insightful post. I could not agree more.

    RE videos should have always been shorter. I definitely predict them to get shorter. As he alludes to, first off, the shorter you go, the higher quality product you make, all other things being equal. We have already sold much shorter videos at that point.

    Also, you can charge the same amount, and make a better product that you are more passionate about. Do a few aerial shots on the exterior, do a few more detail oriented drone moves on the exterior. Bring the drone inside and do very safe little moves like flying out from the living room and over say the backyard pool. You’re like 75% done at this point and you have got dramatic footage with equipment that fits into your fanny pack.

  • Shot 340 apartment walk-through videos last year, about on a par with each of the previous two years. Since they’re rental apartment tours, the videos have a long shelf life.

    My videos, I’m guessing, average just over 3 minutes, and many have gone much longer. The length is driven by the size and features of the unit, not by any arbitrary assumptions. Never had a single request from a viewer or from a client for shorter videos. Viewers can shorten them if they wish by skipping around / ahead. Average view duration for my videos, according to YouTube Analytics, was just over 2 minutes last year.

    The introduction of good wide-angle lenses on multi-camera phones, combined with cheap gimbals, will be a game-changer beginning later this year. Expect to see real estate videos get longer, as a few smart agents learn that they can narrate a walk-through, edit it quickly, and tell a home’s story much better than through any other medium.

    Rental apartments are a great market, and shouldn’t be overlooked. They can be shot. typically, on very flexible schedules, with multiple videos at the same location. Editing walk-throughs is a no-brainer.

  • I’d never suggest that anybody fly a drone inside a furnished home. One glitch could slice up a large painting/portrait or knock over a shelf full of collectables. There is nothing wrong with using the stabilized platform as a means to hand hold and carry the drone if you want to be cheap. It would be a bad thing to be flying FPV and find out that the chandelier is made of real crystal.

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