Matthew Ferrara, Philosopher

It’s Called Video for a Reason!

Imagine watching TV, clicking to your favorite show. Due to programming changes, REALTORS have taken over the broadcast. Popcorn, muzack and a slideshow, anyone?

Um….. it’s called for a reason. That’s the message that needs to go out to REALTOR-land this week (and for some time to come, I suspect). While millions of lowly seventh-graders seem to have no problem filling up YouTube with high-definition video, too few adults in charge of the housing industry have figured out that movies require one critical feature:


What’s with the slideshows, folks? A panning set of photos doesn’t cut it in the twenty-first century. Adding Pachelbel’s 17th century greatest hit as background music won’t send it viral, either. Maybe we should offer customers a vintage 1939 Viewmaster to see the latest stereographic images?

It’s simply not acceptable that real estate searches of YouTube return nothing more than low-resolution slide shows. Pan, zoom and transition effects can’t compensate for what must be the consumer’s first (and last) reaction to these non-videos: Click. Move on. That’s not what they expected; if the video turned out to be “not” correct, what else should the consumer worry about in the advertising content.

It’s not as if there are any major barriers to online video, either. Most new mobile phones can do halfway decent video; most digital cameras have featured good video recording features for half a decade. Mini video cameras like the Flip or Kodak Zi8 are high resolution, high-capacity point-and-shoot devices that use a simple USB connector to pull video onto your personal computer, ready to upload. In fact, YouTube users can upload video directly from their smartphones, no computer necessary. So what’s standing in the way?

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(The first person who writes MLS in the comments will be sent to Siberia…)

In all fairness, it’s not all bad. It’s just too few. There are some agents out there making some great videos. They talk us through the house and don’t overly edit the clips, to keep that natural, personal feeling to the message. Some use a tripod, others just work with a friend, but those who are creating real videos are doing so in under an hour, at most, per listing. That’s less time than printing, licking and stamping a typical mass-mailing to the neighborhood. And it’s certainly more effective, especially with next generation buyers and sellers.

Video alone isn’t going to turn the housing market around, but it might be one of the better tools for the industry to employ. Trying to reach the “sidelined buyers” with traditional media isn’t going to attract them; it certainly won’t engage them. And possibly, should a Gen Y buyer be subjected to yet another slideshow, it just might scare them off. For good.

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  • Matthew, stop spreading the word! I just started using video and so far my time frame is under two hours to shoot and edit, and another 1/2 hour to upload to various sites. I believe I can cut down the time after shooting a few more.

    Plus I can send the link to the Seller and past clients in a matter of seconds. Its a great marketing tool but please don’t tell everybody about it.

    Rick Lemmons

  • Rick – don’t worry – video has ONLY been around for a couple of decades now… and YouTube more than 5 years… there’s no chance it will become a “standard” of performance in our industry … GRIN :>:>:>:>

  • Only realtors confuse zooming slideshows with video. Buyers hate them. Many don’t even bother downloading a “virtual tour” or “video tour” because they know that it’s exactly the same information they JUST viewed on the MLS. Why anyone thinks that just because you’re (randomly) zooming in and out of chair arms and door knobs constitutes something more than the still photos one just viewed.. .is beyond me.

    Unfortunately, many slideshow vendors market their zooming slideshow programs as VIDEO. And realtors buy into that….

  • Lauracahill

    Only wish all real estate companies when showcasing other agents listings would allow the videos on their website. Hey if your going to market my listings on your site at least do a good job !

  • Randy Wax

    If you’re afraid, you’ll never do it! Can’t think of anything to say? Let your seller help! Maybe you can have them lead the tour through the house, or better yet, why not include them talking about why they’ve enjoyed living in the house or in the neighborhood? Or the memories they created in the great room around the fireplace during the holidays, or… They might end up being the one thing that pushes a buyer into this listing versus another (or Rick Lemmons’!).

  • Hey Matt! I’m doing video… and it’s fun! The hardest part is getting over yourself. Real people, providing real information to other real people about important things like real houses. Sounds like something we do everyday. Just do it with a camera rolling. I’ve got someone who actually knows how to use a camera, edit video and can make sure that what I’ve got to say is audible. We’re not over producing this stuff. Show how the property lives…. That’s what peope do in houses (homes) live.

  • Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. You said it all so well. Hope you don’t mind if I share with my FB Friends and blog.

  • Sue – you are welcome! Please share it with as many REALTORS as you can; together we can try to change the industry for the better! :>

  • The full motion video is just part of the equation to connect, deliver the real estate listing, the local community events. The SOUND, audio is 40% of the video. The viewers remember deeper what they hear and see. Relate more fully when they hear the extra information, from the property, the community and from you the brand you hope they connect with on that audio/video channel. Turn off the sound of your favorite movie and see how upset everyone watching with the cheesos and popcorn get… hollering, getting up, thinking they are missing something. Waving their hands and saying do something. Now. They are missing information …without the audio considered, edited, part of the experience, production.

  • Anonymous

    Mega dittos. I wrote a post like this on my blog on 9-8-10:

    In it, Yanni and John Tesh (sort of) make a plea to our fellow realtors.

  • Matt,

    Less than 1% of real estate agent employ Video in their marketing… Most fear Video, but they are ok to blast their face all over the place? Go figure… I just implemented a new system for video, JUST DO IT… however, it is just as important to understand the proper taging, descriptions, etc for Google juice..

  • Ironically, most agents WATCH video on Youtube all the time; but when it comes time to DO it as part of their job, they aren’t sure where/how…

  • Thats it I’m over myself & I am making videos of my listings. My digital camera has a great video ability & I have a digital video camera as well. I agree with you I am just starting to feel like i could be at my computer uploading and writing (all a part of marketing for sure) all day long. I am at the point where i need assistance because …there is all of this plus face to face time as well.