Today's “Ask the Expert” column features Dan Skoglund, the Director of Enterprise Sales with RealBiz Media Group.
Q: When it comes to marketing listings, what type of video is most effective in terms of attracting prospective buyers?
A: There’s a lot of talk regarding video in every industry, including real estate. Why? Because it works. Video is a great way to convey a story, as it can relay entertainment, emotion and information in a format that consumers want. It’s also a very powerful search engine optimization tool since the largest search engine, Google, owns a video distribution outlet, YouTube. And SEO comes in handy when you’re looking to be found by buyers and sellers online to list and sell homes.
So what is video? Frankly, video is different things to different users. To a search engine, a video is a file that’s created in a video player format (MP4, AVI, etc.), regardless of its content, and is weighted higher than text or still-image Web content. Even if it’s a slideshow and music, it still ranks significantly above other types of content. To consumers, most would consider video to be a “show” with live video, some form of professional voiceover/soundtrack, and possibly some still photos blended in.
But which form of video is better for marketing listings? Automated slideshows or custom videos? The answer—from a purely consumer experience perspective—is, of course, a custom video that’s created by a professional. Does that mean that automated videos have no value? Absolutely not. In terms of the consumer experience, they appear to be slideshows, but the search engines see them as video. And if positioned properly (following best practices for Web SEO), they’ll have as much search impact as a professionally shot video in terms of being useful for Internet marketing when it comes to ranking and positioning.
If you can’t afford custom video production services, but want something more engaging than a slideshow for potential buyers, you’ll need to find a system that allows you to merge different media types into a congruent video. This’ll allow you to blend still photos and live video clips into a single piece. There are several products on the market that allow you to do this—Animoto, WeVideo, ezflix, etc. One of these systems, ezflix, is actually a hybrid automated/custom platform that automatically creates listing videos from MLS data. The platform also allows users to edit and add to these slideshows with their own video/photography assets or pieces they’ve had produced professionally.
Once you have a service that allows you to merge media types, it would be well worth the investment to work with a professional videographer on some staple items you can use across multiple listings, or as standalone marketing pieces. For example, a well-produced 10 to 15 second personal introduction, or a nicely produced and edited overview of a community or neighborhood featuring you as the tour guide and demonstrating your understanding of the local market area. With the right system, you’ll easily be able to leverage those assets for multiple purposes.
Lastly, the most important aspect of compelling and informative videos that support your digital brand and/or your listing is how you utilize them. Be sure you can easily distribute these marketing assets directly to interested consumers, or post them to locations where prospects are looking, including portals and key social media outlets.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.