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Are video property tours the future of marketing?

As a growing number of sales and letting agents use audio and video tours to market properties, Christopher Walkey reflects on some of the potential benefits of adopting this form of marketing strategy.

Christopher Walkey

Video-production-feature-imageVideo property tours are  generally for agents who are ready to take it up a notch and use one of the best mediums available to connect with prospective homebuyers and renters. While this can give some property professionals the edge over their local competitors, as it allows online browsers to view property 24/7, it can also increase their chances of winning instructions with vendors and landlords.

Audio Tours are commonly a collection of photographs played as a slideshow accompanied with a voiceover, optional musical background and graphic or text overlay.

Video Tours will be actual film footage of the property with cameraman capturing the style and depth of each room and outside location. Once again, voiceover, musical background and graphic or text overlay are generally used.

Both these formats will be recognised by the consumer as being ‘video tours’ or ‘property tours’ and are accepted as a marketing format across most of the existing estate and letting agency software and major property portals which have dedicated URL fields for them to play on their various platforms.

What’s in it for you as the agent, can they improve exposure for your listings?

When I launched a new estate agency concept a couple of years back we were, within the first month, positioned number one for click throughs on Rightmove thanks to video tours as we used this marketing format to attract interest ahead of our competitors. When it came to listing property we took the following strategy:

Compare the two: “We are pleased to offer this stunning 4 bedroom detached family home located close to St Johns Wood…”


“Watch the full HD property video tour of this stunning 4 bedroom detached family home located close to St Johns Wood…” nWhich of the two examples above would you be more inclined to click on to view on Rightmove or Zoopla and more importantly, which do you think your key target audience would be more attracted to?

If the online property browser sees that they have paid more attention to how you market the property then they will be more inclined to contact you to arrange a viewing. Additionally, if they see that you market homes with video tours then they may be intrigued to see your other listings too.

Acquire new valuations by offering audio and video tours

For those looking to market their property for sale or to let, they will, when checking out their local agencies on a major property portal, find that your listings with videos generally stand out from the crowd because they look better, which in turn should instill confidence in the homeowner and help tempt them into instructing your firm to market their own property.

When you attend a new valuation, the ability to explain to your client that your firm offers audio or video tours and how they generally attract greater interest from applicants compared to standard listings alone, should help to boost your chances of winning that new instruction, especially for smaller agents competing against national corporations.

I would recommend, if you do not already, to take an iPad or other video playing tablet to showcase a demo video to clearly demonstrate what one of your tours look like as some homeowners may not fully understand the concept.

Offering video tours should boost your chances of winning that new instruction!”

Can audio and video tours improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and wider brand awareness online?

It is important to involve social media within this answer as portals such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are ideal platforms to showcase video content. Most people these days are extremely busy and therefore welcome news delivered directly to their social news feeds. But if they are able to watch a quick audio or video tour from a Tweet or latest video upload from YouTube then they will appreciate that convenience even more.

Usually the provider will be able to provide detailed analytics so that you can monitor the views and audience retention and the number of click throughs that have occurred.

How much do they cost?

Generally, certainly in my opinion, this marketing format is very economical indeed. Audio tour prices have dropped significantly in the last couple of years as more and more service providers offer this marketing format mas part of their portfolio of services.

There are varied levels of ‘standard’ service for both formats, with prices ranging from as little as £20 per audio tour and about £75 per video tour to few thousand pounds for high standard high definition video tours.

Generally, you will pay around £40 for a good standard audio tour, while a standard property video tour will cost approximately £175. This latter option should include the cost of hosting the video online, which is mimportant for the likes of Rightmove, as it only showcases external video content on their property listings.

Is it a convenient process?

The service providers usually make the process simple either by taking images of each property from the listing on your
website or property portal. Alternatively, nyou could simply send the photos by email.

The narration can be scripted by yourselves or by the audio or video tour company who take content from the listing. But you may need to book a convenient slot with the property owner in order to gain access to the property to allow the video person to film the property internally. The video tours will usually also include outside footage of gardens and the wider location and so things are sometimes reliant on the weather.

Eventually, in most cases, you will receive a live URL link that contains the tour which you can simply paste in to the relevant field in your software provider.

Are agencies using them?

Most certainly they are and many are achieving better results on listings with the aid of these tours, compared to those agents without them, especially as far as click throughs and enquiries are concerned.

Many of the top estate agencies across the UK promote the fact they are using videos to market properties with many having their very own online TV channel or promoted YouTube channel to showcase their portfolio
of property videos.

My recommendations

As with all videos, look to engage your audience as soon as possible so try not to have a long introduction as you will lose audience retention very quickly.

Even if you are showcasing a twenty bedroom property, there is no real need to showcase each bedroom or area of garden; keep things to the point and brief with enough content to ensure that the viewer is left wanting more, i.e. entice them to pick up the phone and ask to view the property in person!

Extra tips include having a watermark through each of your videos in case they are used elsewhere by others.

Note: The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which recently replaced the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, applies to all property details, so the wording and footage of the tours must be correct as far as the property being marketed is concerned. Do also think about reviewing each tour to make sure they are precise.

September 11, 2014

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