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Over 50% of broadband and 33% of wireless data is traffic. Text and photos just won’t cut it with Gen X and Y. Make sure your videos really stand out with three must-do tips.

Recently, Wired magazine noted that video traffic makes up more than 50% of internet traffic – when only a decade ago it literally didn’t exist online. Nielsen’s latest data on how we watch video content notes that nearly 1 million people watched the World Cup on a cellular connected smartphone. And everyone knows YouTube serves nearly 2 billion videos a day.

The future of data is in motion. Generation X was babysat by the boobtube. Generation Y watches it wherever on a mobile device. (Only Baby Boomers at the telecoms  insist on calling it a “phone”). In a world where micro-attention spans must be caught by micro-blogging nets, grabbing the attention of ’s next generation buyers with photos and text no longer works.


Still, some efforts are being made. Many listings feature photo tours, with the mandatory Vivaldi accompaniment. Braver souls try their hand at coffee-hand shots of properties with off-the-cuff narration. So, there’s video. And then, there’s video. But if you’re ready to position multimedia as the powertool  to capture  future buyers, at least make sure these three things make their way into your movies. (You can put us in the credits.)

  1. High definition. No different than grainy thumbnail photos, low-resolution video is insulting to both seller and prospective buyer. No excuses for not having a high definition camera, when super-simple shooters like the Kodak Zi8 capture 1080p quality for less than $150 investment (even less with a special deal for our blog readers). Crystal clear output in almost any lighting conditions, YouTube and Facebook ready the moment you plug into a USB port. High definition is critical, because video is watched “full screen” these days. Most smartphones automatically enlarge playback. So your video must anticipate 5 to 25-inch LCD playback, and that means high-def recording.
  2. Wireless sound. There’s nothing worse (wooooooshhhhh) than trying to watch a video (thudddd, thhhhuddd) and hear what someone is saying while (thwaaashhhhh  hisssssss)  noises and wind drown them out. Hand-held video cameras have an effective microphone range of about 3 feet. Put the cam on a tripod while you stand 10 feet away and it takes only a little wind to end up sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Properties with large rooms, high ceilings or tile floors will swamp narration in echoes. That’s where a wireless lavaliere microphone becomes a game-changer. A basic set from Sony might cost $100; our Sennheisers set us back three times as much as the camera, but the range and clarity is amazing. Get wireless mics to ensure every word is captured and crystal clear.
  3. Geocoding. This one’ free, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. When you upload video online, smart services like YouTube allow you to add the physical location that corresponds to the content. Using a map or specific longitude-latitude coordinates, you make it possible for search engines to find your video by relevant locations.  “Location” coding is critical to your video’s ability to be found by a new class of location-aware technologies, such as GPS-enabled devices. Car navigation systems can reference geo-placed data to display nearby attractions like restaurants and hotels. Mobile apps like Foursquare can display friends – or any content – that’s nearby to your location. The rapidly expanding world of mobile search is the preferred way Gen X and Y consumers find products and searches.

If you imagine the future of real estate marketing, it’s not hard to see exactly what is right around the corner. Laptops have become tablets, and tablets have replaced printouts. It would be a shame if property marketing treated tablet as if it were clay rather than liquid crystal. The future listing sheet is a full-screen video on a wireless tablet – maybe displayed by a location-aware automatic search application.

It’s time to rapidly upgrade every online listing with a full motion high quality video. Maybe then we can catch the attention of the next generation of buyers and sellers.

Now, if we could only do something about the “CALL ME” message at the end of the listing…. but that’s a story for next time.